Monday, January 20, 2014

Blog Tour Q&A with Julie Klassen, Author of The Dancing Master

Please join me in welcoming bestselling, three-time Christy Award winning author Julie Klassen to Let Them Read Books! (And pardon me while I go all fangirl on you!) I was beyond thrilled to have the chance to interview one of my favorite inspirational historical romance authors. Julie's newest book, The Dancing Master, is on tour (click here to read my review), and Julie's brought along a copy to give away to one lucky reader! Read on for a chance to win! Without further ado, here she is!

Hello, Julie! Thank you so much for taking the time to appear on Let Them Read Books. What first inspired you to start writing Christian historical fiction?

When I wrote my first book, I didn’t set out to write Christian fiction in particular, but since my The Secret Garden and Jane Eyre as a young girl, and later the novels of Jane Austen cemented my love of the Regency era in particular.

Faith is such a big part of who I am, it naturally ended up woven into my novels. As far as historical fiction, I have loved books set in 19th century England ever since I read

You dedicated The Dancing Master to your college dance instructor. What inspired you to write a novel about a Regency-era dancing teacher?

I learned to dance the box-step standing atop my father’s size 15 triple E shoes, then went on to take every ballroom dance class I could sign up for at the University of Illinois from legendary instructor, Aurora Villacorta. Later, I even taught a few dance classes of my own through community ed. So perhaps it’s little wonder I wrote about a dance teacher, or “dancing master” as they were called in Jane Austen’s time, when the mere touch of hands at a ball sparked romance. I enjoyed drawing on all of these experiences to write the book.

The Dancing Master was my first introduction to the Bryanites. Can you tell us a bit about them and their inclusion in the story?

While only a minor aspect of the novel, I enjoyed mentioning this group of believers, which originated in Cornwall and Devon, where the book is set. I came across the name in an old Cornish newspaper that described the Bryanites worshipping in a large loft over a stable with great fervor in imitation of David’s dancing before the ark. The beams suddenly gave way, and “the minister and his dancing congregation” fell to the stable beneath. How could I resist mentioning them in a book about a dancing teacher? Further research revealed the Bryanites (or Bible Christians) were an offshoot of Wesleyan Methodists, founded by a man named O’Bryan (originally Bryant) and known for their admirable dedication to the Bible.

I often see readers complain that Christian fiction is "too preachy." How do you manage to strike such a balanced blend of story and faith in your novels?

I agree it is very difficult to do well. I’m still learning! I think it helps that I believe a novel must first and foremost be a good story. Yes, I hope that what I write glorifies God, but story is key.

And lastly, if you could be transported back in time to Regency England for one day, what would you do while you were there?

Fun question! I would love to go to a ball and dance with Mr. Darcy types all evening long. J

Thanks, Julie! 

This giveaway is closed and the winner has been selected.
Check my sidebar for more great giveaways!

And now for the giveaway!

Wanna win your own copy of
The Dancing Master?
Simply leave a comment with your email address and you're entered!

This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada and ends at 11:59pm Sunday, February 2, 2014. Winner will be selected at random. Thanks, and good luck!

The Dancing Master is on a blog tour!


  1. Julie is a great author! I love this post.
    campbellamyd at gmail dot com

  2. I'd never heard of the Bryanites before either, that's a great old newspaper story about them. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of The Dancing Master, I think both my wife and I would enjoy it. carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

  3. This novel sounds captivating. Thanks for this great giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. Dancing seems to be a big part of your life Julie! I'm glad you wrote about it.

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

  5. I'm so looking forward to reading this one. thanks for the giveaway.


  6. I loved The Maid of Fairbourne Hall. Looking forward to reading this one!
    tmrtini at gmail (dot) com

  7. definitely sounds like a book I would enjoy!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!

    cyn209 at juno dot com

  8. I love Julie's writing style! So elegant and poignant.

    My favorite reads of hers are Lady of Milkweed Manor and The Girl in the Gatehouse, although they have all been great. Can't wait to get to The Dancing Master.

    Thanks for the chance to win!


  9. Thanks for featuring Julie for the tour!

  10. I, too, learned the box step atop my father's shoes. Interesting information about the Bryanites.
    jmcgaugh (at) semo (dot) edu

  11. Thanks for this! I really want to read this and now I have a chance :)

  12. Please count me in -- shamy at post dot harvard dot edu


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