Hey, everyone! So glad I could be here with you all today. As you’ve probably seen, my YA contemporary romance, Balancing Act, just came out. It’s a book that’s near and dear to my heart, and I hope will become close to you as well.
If you’ve read the description, you’ll know that the main character in Balancing Act is a teenager named Callie Harding, a girl whose dreams of becoming an elite gymnast were ruined by a failed landing. Now she’s trying to rebuild her life without gymnastics.
A bit of background about me before I tell you how Callie became Callie. I trained as a gymnast for six years and spent a season on my high school team before an injury less severe than Callie’s took me out of the game. I was fine with not being able to compete. I’d never had aspirations to be a professional gymnast. But I still felt this sadness. And it got me thinking, what would it be like for someone whose passion was sports to find out they would never do it again?
Building Callie was poignant for me in these respects. I used that sadness I’d felt as I hobbled around on crutches and the anger I had at being unable to walk to fuel how Callie feels at the beginning of Balancing Act. Above all she feels anger and sadness at herself, her ex-boyfriend Ty, and to some extent her parents. This makes her very withdrawn. But at the same time I didn’t want her to hate anyone. If anything, I wanted her character to convey that she was confused about how she feels about her accident.
I don’t want to do spoilers so I won’t say much more. But Callie’s character goes through a full arc of emotions trying to figure that she wants now. This in a way also mirrors my writing of this story. At the time of its inception I was a freshman in college. So many things in my life were changing, and not all of them for the better. One day I would be on top of the world, the next binge eating Toblerone. In fact, writing this story would send me down the dark tunnel of sadness some days because I projected Callie’s feelings about gymnastics onto myself. On those days I would have to stop writing. But those feelings also helped me write Callie’s obsession. I wanted Callie to seem real. And for that to happen she couldn’t magically become okay with losing her dreams.
It was a long process, discovering where Callie was to go. And I hope you enjoy reading her story as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Balancing Act by Heather Smith
February 3, 2014
One year ago, Callie Harding was the star of the Redwood High gymnastics team. Now, she’s just trying to forget that her Olympic dreams were stolen from her in one failed landing. Most of all, she wants to forget her first love, Ty. That part of her life is over and she’s sure she has got something good with Scott… even if he doesn’t exactly understand her passion for sports.But when Callie is persuaded to take on the position of assistant coach of the gymnastics team, Ty and Callie are thrown together almost nightly, and she’s forced to confront her memories of the night everything changed. As things get tense on and off the balancing beam, Callie must find a way to stay strong. But is forgetting her accident – and forgetting Ty – the best way to do that?
About the Author:
Heather Smith is a student of English and History at University of Washington in Seattle. She works as a senior editor at Entranced Publishing, with the Kissed and Entranced imprints. In her free time, Heather loves to ride horses and watch Disney movies. She would like to travel the world one day, and Europe would be her first stop.
Heather’s first book “Balancing Act” will be published in 2014 by Entranced Publishing. You can find out more about Heather and what the future holds at the links below.