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Interview with Glen Strathy, author of ‘Dancing on the Inside’

Glen StrathyGlen C. Strathy started writing stories when he was 11 years old and too shy to have a life. He eventually found a life when he started acting in community theatre and met other writers, actors, dancers, and artists. He discovered that the best thing about performing arts (and other arts too) is that they give people more freedom to be who they want to be. After spending time as an actor, teacher, and freelance writer, he returned to his first love, fiction and wrote Dancing on the Inside, a novel for ages 9-12.

Glen earned an M.A. in English from the University of Western Ontario, and graduated from the Artist in Community Education program at Queen’s University, Kingston. He co-authored two non-fiction books, one of which (The Coming Economic Collapse, Warner Business Books, 2006) became a New York Times Bestselling Business Book. He belongs to the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). His website provides advice to budding authors.

Glen lives with his wife, fellow writer Kaitlin Rainey, and their daughter in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

You can visit his website at Visit him on Twitter at and Facebook at

About Dancing on the Inside

Dancing on the InsideEver since her grandparents gave her a DVD of Swan Lake, twelve-year old Jenny Spark has wanted to be a dancer. But on her first day of ballet class, she suffers a panic attack and makes a horrifying discovery. She’s terrified of dancing in front of the other kids, and as for actually performing for an audience? Forget it.

Yet Jenny refuses to give up her dream. With determination and a little ingenuity, she finds ways to observe ballet classes without actually participating. She trains in the safety of her room, while hiding the truth from her parents. Then Jenny meets her exact opposite: Ara Reyes, an outgoing, spontaneous, and accident-prone girl who loves dancing but has always been overlooked.

The girls’ friendship blossoms as they help each other uncover their real talents. Ara’s dancing takes a leap forward and Jenny discovers she has an amazing gift for choreography. With the support of the school’s newest teacher, Jenny’s original ballet might just make it on stage … but will she?

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Glen. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

Prior to writing Dancing on the Inside, I had co-authored two nonfiction books for adults with Stephen Leeb, one of which (The Coming Economic Collapse) became a New York Times Bestselling Business Book. I have also made my living writing for the past decade, mostly commercial material. This new book – which is children’s fiction – is a labor of love and my first entry into this genre.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

My nonfiction books were published through Warner Business Books and Business Plus. It takes a lot of stamina and a degree of luck to publish via the mainstream route. In switching genres, I found I had too little of both. Even though I had excellent appraisals from everyone I showed the manuscript to – including professional editors – I seemed to have extraordinarily bad timing when it came to submitting it to agents and publishers. I decided to publish it myself through iUniverse because I was anxious to see how real readers would respond to it. So far, the feedback has been good.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

I would say the process took only about four months. But that’s because the book needed very little editing.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I’m not ready to celebrate this book yet. Getting it in print is just one step in a very long process that will hopefully end in my receiving invitations to some very nice parties. Even better would be sell enough copies so I can afford to keep writing fiction full-time.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

My biggest fear is that I would throw a book launch or hold a book signing and no one would show up. So before I even consider that, my priority is to collect reviews and feedback from readers. If the comments continue to be mostly positive, I will feel braver about approaching the major media.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

When I was working on this book, I spent a long time learning about story structure. As a result, I now have a website where I help other emerging writers in this area (

Working on this book has also made me aware how much I want to write books I find personally meaningful, rather than projects that are financially lucrative. Of course, a combination would be good too.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

The publishing industry seems to be going through a revolution at the moment. So many authors are publishing books themselves, using eBook and POD technology. Some do it because they can make more money that way. Some are frustrated with the glacially slow screening process in traditional publishing. And some just want more control over the final product. It’s an exciting time, which is not necessarily a good thing because it means writers are taking on even more risk.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

Hearing comments from people who read and like your work. Most writers don’t want to be rich. They just want their work appreciated. Their other dream is to have enough money to live on while they write the next book.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

The secrets are pretty simple actually. Read a lot. Write a lot. Read books on writing that help or inspire you. Write stuff that you find meaningful. Be disciplined. Get feedback on your work from knowledgeable people. Join writing groups that you find supportive. Marrying someone with a good job would also help a lot.

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