Lisa Dale’s third contemporary romance, Slow Dancing on Price’s Pier, was released on April 5. The author drops anchor with Perfect Romance to discuss writing the book, what drew her to her fiancé (they’re getting married this summer!), coffee…and scandalous tattoo placement!
1. Tell us a little bit about Slow Dancing on Price’s Pier. There are a lot of emotional moments; was it a particularly personal story for you?
All the stories I write are personal in some way. I think if a book wasn’t personal to me, it would fail.
Donald Maass has a great quote which I keep stuck to my computer: “[A premise is] any single image, moment, feeling, or belief that has enough power and personal meaning for the author to set her story on fire, propel it like a rocket for hundreds of pages, or perhaps serve as a finish line: an ending so necessary that every step of the journey burns to be taken.”
Whew! It leaves me breathless. I repeat it often, to myself and to others. A book has to have intense, personal meaning for me—meaning that is so compelling that it won’t burn itself out over the many long months and even years of revisions.
2. In Slow Dancing you explore teen love versus mature, adult love. What made you fall in love with your fiancé, and where do you think you two fall on the spectrum?
I don’t think there was one blinding and earth-shaking moment when I thought, “I love this guy.” Instead, it was the kind of realization that happens so subtly and quietly—like when you’re not looking—and then you just sort of look around one day and think, “Oh, so I’ve been in love all this time!” I think I was a little scared of falling—as so many adults are—so falling for my fiancé was a bit like being ever so slowly and yet inevitably swept into love. It was like walking and walking, only to realize that, at some point a few miles ago, my feet had come off the ground.
We are definitely on the adult side of the love spectrum (that sounds like the title of some erotic French film, doesn’t it?). We work well together. We live well together. We understand each other. And there’s passion. When he comes home from work, I can’t wait to see him and hear what he has to say. And it’s always been that way. That’s why we’re getting married in July!
I love the way Ethiopians do coffee. My favorite is Ethiopian Harrar. But my favorite coffee drink is at the Fine Grind in Little Falls, N.J. — Banana Nut Java. It’s indescribable. I could go for some right now!
I think what was most surprising to me about my coffee studies was the fact that caffeine is a natural pesticide for coffee trees. But the older a coffee tree gets, the more pesticide leeches into the soil. And eventually, the plant—if it gets old enough—could die of its own toxicity. Talk about poignant! For me it’s a lesson: trying desperately to protect ourselves can do more harm than good. In Slow Dancing on Price’s Pier, my hero and heroine learn this lesson well.
4. Have you ever slow-danced on a pier?
No… but I would Iove to! My guy doesn’t dance very much. We talked briefly about taking lessons together for the upcoming wedding—but who has time?!
5. We hate to butt in, but on your site, you’ve revealed that you have an outline of New Jersey tattooed on your posterior. We salute the choice! If you could get the outline of any other state tattooed on you, what state would it be, and where would you put it?
(laughs) For the record, all of my siblings have a tat of New Jersey—it’s like our family coat of arms. I just have arms on my…um…not arms!
Any other state? I love the Chesapeake Bay area. I don’t know nearly enough about it, but I went to school in Maryland and also have family down there, so it has personal meaning. I wouldn’t mind a slow dance on a Chesapeake pier!