I Could be Dancing by Jane Fenwick @jane_fenwick60 #neverthetwain #historicalcrimenovels #romance #victorianwhitby
I love to dance and when I was younger I would go to night clubs and dance two or three times a week. Now that I am a little, shall we say, more mature I still love to dance so I go to classes to get my fix.
As a writer I spend a lot of time at my desk so it is imperative that I get up and move. I have Scout my Patterdale terrier to walk so that helps my step count but I am the sort of walker that likes to walk for a purpose; there usually has to be a coffee shop or a pub at the end of the walk to motivate me. I’ve never been a “gym bunny” and swimming bores the life out of me (unless it’s in a warm sea!). Dancing gets me moving and as it doesn’t feel like exercise it is never a chore.
I first got into dancing by watching musicals. Fred Astaire was my hero. His partnership with Ginger Rogers was spectacular. I can’t remember how many times I have watched Top hat and Flying Down to Rio. I’m not saying Astaire was a good actor but he could certainly move. More recently I have loved Strictly Come Dancing. The show really makes it clear how athletic dancing can be. I know it gets my heart rate up, helps with balance and keeps me supple. I was a yoga teacher for over twenty years so I’ve always been flexible but dancing really helps tone muscle too, especially the legs and back. As I sit for a lot of hours a day back ache can be a problem, but dancing and stretching irons out the kinks.
I also used to sing and dance in a local amateur musical theatre group performing in such shows as Oklahoma, My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music. Dancing to a choreographed routine is harder than it looks but good fun. I‘ve done a bit of ballet and tap in the past so that helped; muscle memory is useful! Dancing and singing was great exercise and enjoyable. Sadly as I was teaching fulltime, I had to give up performing as the rehearsals took up too much of my time.
I love most types of music – anything that I can get up and dance to and I’m on my feet. Fast, slow, with a partner or freestyle, in a group or singly. I’m usually the first on the dance floor at weddings and parties. Even if I don’t know the steps I will be embarrassing myself throwing some shapes! Recently I went to a Ceilidh with a friend. Despite the height difference –he’s 6’ 4 and I’m 5’3 – we had a great time. The dances were ‘called’ so they were easy to pick up but exhausting. Who knew you could get so out of breath dancing. The experience reminded me of when I was in my twenties and my best friend was Irish. We used to go to an Irish club where they did traditional Irish dancing. My friend’s mum was a ‘grand’ dancer and despite getting on in years she could give the young ones a run for their money. There was a dance called The Siege of Ennis that she was particularly good at. It involved spinning around in a circle which after a Guinness or two made the dancers a bit dizzy. We would watch as a young lad would ask the ‘old’ lady to dance and scream with laughter as she spun him round so fast he was almost off his feet!
As I mentioned I love most types of music but I never thought I would enjoy dancing to country music. A friend who knows I like to dance invited me to a line dancing class. At first I was a little cynical – I couldn’t really see me in a Stetson (I still can’t) but I gave it a go and I’m hooked now. Far from dancing in a line the routines are based on ‘walls’. Each dance turns so that they have two or four walls. In the beginning mastering a wall is easy until you have to turn – that’s usually when the wheels come off! I think I probably know about 30 line dances now, some more complex than others.
I also go to a musical theatre dance class run by an ex ballet and tap dancer. She devises routines and we attempt to follow them The dances can be based on anything; jazz, Fosse, Hot Gossip… anything goes.
My favourite dance class however is the Latin American class – the music just makes me want to dance, it lifts my spirits. For a couple of hours I can forget everything and concentrate on moving to the music. Not only is it good for my body I’m convinced it’s good for my brain too. We know about 25 different routines from tango to mambo and it is impossible to think about anything else but the music and the steps. The teacher is inspirational – she picks some great tracks to dance to; everything from Santana to Ricky Martin, from Cuba to Rio. The class is for people of all shapes and sizes, all ages and backgrounds. I’ve met some lovely people at dance classes and some have become friends so it’s not just about the dancing it’s the social aspect as well. The important thing is to leave your inhibitions at the door and well, dance!
Never the Twain: A twin tale of jealousy and betrayal, love and murder.
The year is 1890. The port of Whitby is heaving with sailors and where there are sailors there are brothels doing a roaring trade. Beautiful identical twins April and May are in desperate straits. They have been abandoned by their actress mother and are about to have their virginity auctioned off to the highest bidder by a notorious brothel madam.
Their fate is hanging in the balance when Captain Edward Driscoll a handsome, wealthy shipping tycoon from Glasgow saves them before they can be deflowered.
But have they exchanged one form of slavery for another?
April, reluctantly swept up in her twin’s secrets and lies unwittingly becomes embroiled in a murderous conspiracy. Is May’s jealousy stronger than the twin bond which has always connected them?
Jane Fenwick lives in the market town of Settle in Yorkshire, England. She studied education at Sheffield University gaining a B.Ed (Hons) in 1989 and going on to teach primary age range children. Jane decided to try her hand at penning a novel rather than writing school reports as she has always been an avid reader, especially enjoying historical and crime fiction. She decided to combine her love of both genres to write her first historical crime novel Never the Twain. Jane has always been a lover of antiques, particularly art nouveau and art deco ceramics and turned this hobby into a business opening an antiques and collectables shop in Settle. However her time as a dealer was short lived; she spent far too much time in the sale rooms buying items that ended up in her home rather than the shop! Animal welfare is a cause close to Jane’s heart and she has been vegetarian since the age of fourteen. For the last twenty years she has been trustee of an animal charity which rescues and rehomes cats, dogs and all manner of creatures looking for a forever home. Of course several of these have been “adopted” by Jane!
Jane has always loved the sea and although she lives in the Yorkshire Dales she is particularly drawn to the North East coast of Yorkshire and Northumberland. This coastline is where she gets her inspiration for the historical crime and romance novels she writes. She can imagine how the North East ports would have looked long ago with a forest of tall masted ships crammed together in the harbours, the bustling streets congested with sailors, whalers, chandlers and sail makers. These imaginings provide the backdrop and inspire her to create the central characters and themes of her novels. As she has always loved history she finds the research particularly satisfying.
When she isn’t walking on Sandsend beach with her dog Scout, a Patterdale “Terrorist” she is to be found in her favourite coffee shop gazing out to sea and dreaming up her next plot. Jane is currently writing a historical saga series again set on the North East coast beginning in 1765. The first two books are being edited at the moment; My Constant Lady and The Turning Tides. Look out for My Constant Lady in 2020.
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