About Tonya Plank
Tonya Plank grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, but spent most of her adult life in New York, working as a criminal appeals attorney. After she’d had enough of that, she moved back out West to focus on writing. She currently lives in Southern California and writes contemporary romance and woman’s fiction.
While working as a lawyer, Tonya developed a passion for ballroom dancing, which rekindled her childhood love of ballet. For several years, she wrote a dance blog, Swan Lake Samba Girl, journaling her experiences learning to ballroom dance, and reviewing various ballet and modern dance performances in NYC.
Tonya’s first novel, Swallow, an edgy chick-lit comedy about a lawyer with the psychosomatic disorder, Globus Hystericus, won gold medals in the Independent Publisher and Living Now Book Awards and was a finalist in the ForeWord Book of the Year and National Indie Excellence Awards.
When not writing, Tonya loves taking road trips with her rescue dog, Sofia, shopping for clothes used in movies at It’s A Wrap in Burbank, devouring Mexican food and Cadillac margaritas, sweating to dance-based workouts, curling up with her cats and a good novel, and, of course, watching dance performances of all kinds. Her favorite places on earth are Lincoln Center in New York, the Pacific Coast Highway from Laguna Beach to San Francisco, and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah.
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Review by Anniek
Rory has just graduated and gotten her law degree. She is living with her boyfriend James in L.A. and has a low paid job at a small firm. Her life is nice, but also not very exciting. When she accompanies James to a party she sees Sasha perform. Rory is blown away by the fierceness of Sasha and can't believe her luck when James wins private dance lessons for two at his studio. Unfortunately James is not looking forward to dance lessons, but Rory's long lost passion has returned.
Rory begins to take lessons at Infectious Rhythm and is quickly hooked again. A tragic happening in her past made her give up her dream to become a professional dancer. Now that she is dancing again there is no way she can ignore where her true passion lies.
Sasha is every woman's dream. Born in Russia he now lives in L.A. He is the number two dancer in the world. His ex-partner is the number one. His dream is to become the number one in the world and for that he needs to find his one and only true partner with whom he can accomplish this. When he spots Rory at a party he knows that she is what he has been waiting for. And so their journey begins...
This is a series I absolutely loved from the start. I knew right away that Tonya Plank had to have dance experience of her own. There is no way she could write so accurate and so detailed about the dances without knowing them herself. This made me love the story even more. It made me feel like I was just another dancer being in the same room looking at Sasha and Rory.
When I was reading about the dances I found myself swaying a bit in my chair or recognizing some of the steps from the time I took dance lessons myself. The characters are all so alive, I couldn't help but love them all. Even those who were very nasty to Sasha and Rory felt like real
people to me.
Even though the story is divided in three books you actually have to look at them as one. They flow over in each other so naturally.
On her website Tonya Plank explains her books the best:
Book one: 'When Rory meets Sasha' her passions are rekindled
Book two: 'When Sasha meets Rory' he recognizes her talent
Book three: 'Their partnership is destined' on and off the dance floor
I read this whole series at once, I couldn't put it down. I would place this series definitely in my: 'everyone must read these books corner'. If you enjoy dancing, love, drama and passion Sasha and Rory's story will fill your heart.
1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in Phoenix, but have spent most of my adult life living in New York and Los Angeles. I practiced law for many years as a criminal appeals attorney in New York, but that became really exhausting. I'd taken up ballroom dancing as a hobby while in New York, and I started writing a blog about my experiences learning to dance. I always liked to write, but the blog made me realize I loved writing about dance in particular. When I finally decided to leave law, I moved out West to focus on writing. Right now, I have four novels out total: Swallow, a standalone dramedy about a female lawyer with a psychological disorder that makes it hard for her to eat and speak; and Fever: A Ballroom Romance, Books 1-3, my first romance series, which just came out this June. Fever is the first sub-series in a larger series of romance novels set in the world of ballroom dancing that I'm working on, called Infectious Rhythm.
2. I read that you love to go shopping for clothes which are used in movies. If you could have any outfit out of any movie which one would that be?
Hehe, I love the blue dress the main character wears at one point in The Red Shoes. It's so beautiful. I have no idea where I'd wear it - only to something really fancy. And it has a retro vibe. But that dress is just so mouthwateringly gorgeous. (I attached a photo).
3. You love Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Which happens to be on my all time favorites list also. What attracts you to this particular story?
I think what really attracts me to it is the beautiful poetry and the timelessness of the story. That story could happen anywhere: two star-crossed lovers from warring families, or gangs or races or classes, or whatever, and they have to try to hide their love because of the society they live in. And when they can't, tragedy ensues. I also love the brilliant words - Shakespeare was obviously a genius. And I think what made me love it even more was seeing the ballet. The steps became a poetry in themselves. It's by far my favorite ballet.
4. When I was reading Fever I knew, even before I looked you up, that you had to be a dancer yourself. Could you tell us what your favorite dance is to perform?
My favorite is rumba. I love how it's both soft and lyrical, but also sensual and romantic. It's like ballet combined with sexy Latin dance.
5. I love the fact that you have included a lot of your personal life into Fever. What made you choose a Russian man as your lead character?
There are so many Russian dancers in the world of ballroom! It's funny but there are more dancers from Russia - or other countries in Eastern Europe - than anywhere else. So, that was part of it - just writing what I saw. But also, I love their accents - I found them to be so sexy! And many of them seem to have this dark and pensive thing going on that makes it seem like they have a secret. So, I find that intriguing.
6. When you see a dance performance what is your favorite dance to watch?
It's a tie between samba and rumba. I like rumba because it's so beautiful, especially with dancers who have more lyrical qualities and are ballet-trained. But samba is so fun. And really sexy too. There's so much hip-swaying and super fast pelvic contortions, that dancers who are really flexible and fluid and can move fast and with precision can just look like snakes. I love it when they move so quickly, their bodies are like a blur.
7. If you could recommend another writer who would that be?
I don't know any other writers who write mainly about dance, but my overall favorite romance author is probably Alice Clayton. Her characters are endearing and people you can easily relate to, and their dilemmas are comical but also very real. And she writes the funniest sex scenes I have ever read. She's not afraid to take risks with those scenes! Plus, I like her settings. Her books usually take place in cities I've either lived in or have wanted to live in, and she gives you so much detail, you feel like you're there with her characters.
8. You have a lot of talents already but if you could choose any new talent what would that be?
Thank you :) I wish I had good architectural skills. I have such an appreciation for beautiful buildings, especially when they're functional as well, like Frank Lloyd Wright's usually are. I would love to design my own house :) But I have no spatial or mathematical skills whatsoever. I would make a horrible architect!
9. On your website you name the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. Is this the place where you got your dog?
I love Best Friends! But no, I actually got my dog from the West Los Angeles Animal Shelter. But originally I had wanted to adopt one of two dogs I met at Best Friends while volunteering there. They were both adopted by the time I was able to talk to my landlord and ask him if I could bring another pet into my apartment. So, I was going to go to the Best Friends in L.A. and look for one there. But in the meantime, a friend who volunteers at the LA County animal shelters had taken a picture of this one and posted it on Facebook (as she often does). And I fell in love with her. She was so sweet and seemed like the perfect size and temperament for my apartment. So, I went down to the shelter and got her.
10. What are your plans for the future?
I hope to get the next two books in the Infectious Rhythm series out by the middle of next year. They're almost finished but need edited. Then, I'm hoping to get at least one more book in the series out by the end of the year, and then start a new series at the beginning of the following year. I really like writing contemporary romance, so I'm going to stick with this genre for a while!
One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a digital copy of the Fever box set.