First Robin gets the email with its simple demand: dump your fiancé or else. Then someone puts up the slanderous Rotten Robin Website that threatens to crush her chances to win The Standout, a ballet-themed, fashion reality show. Surrounded by backstabbing co-contestants and haunted by mysterious ghosts from her past, Robin can't trust anyone, including herself. This new psychological thriller by Laurel Osterkamp, author of The Holdout and The Next Breath, is Black Swan meets Project Runway.
Get ready for a breathtaking novel about love, betrayal, tall buildings, and finding the courage to jump.
Laurel Osterkamp becomes very attached to her characters. The Standout, The Holdout, The Next Breath, November Surprise, Blue State, and American Angst all feature the Bricker family, but these books can be read in any order. Laurel teaches English and Creative Writing in Minneapolis, where she tries to stay warm, hang out with her husband and two chatty children, and find the time to write. Her other novels are the award-winningFollowing My Toes and Starring in the Movie of My Life.
You can find Laurel on Twitter but she needs to work on sending clever Tweets. A better idea is to follow her blog at www.laurelosterkamp.blogspot.com.
When I was a little girl I became infatuated with the ballet, so my mom signed me up for dance class, and I stuck with it all the way through college. I was in numerous productions of The Nutcracker (always as something generic, like a party guest or a sugar plum) and I was taken to see professional productions of it too. I loved The Nutcracker, but I wanted more.
At the peak of my all-things-ballet obsession, my father bought me a book for Christmas. It was beautifully illustrated, and it told several classic ballet stories, like Giselle, Swan Lake, and Scheherazade. Looking back, I’m sort of amazed that they were included in a children’s book. Think about it…
Swan Lake: A guy goes out hunting, but instead of killing a bird with his crossbow, he falls in love with a white-swan lady. Then he gets duped by an evil sorcerer and his black-swan lady sidekick. Everybody dies.
Giselle: A woman gets tricked by her lover into believing that he’s poor, but once she realizes that he’s rich she’s so sad and betrayed, she dies of a broken heart. The she joins a gang of ghostly brides who literally dance guys to death. Everybody dies.
Scheherazade: A sultan has the nasty habit of always killing those who serve him, until Scheherazade tells him stories of love, betrayal, and adventure. After 1001 nights, her survival no longer depends on her ability to spin a good yarn, but she does have to marry the sultan.
At least nobody dies.
Even the ballets with happy endings are twisted and wrong, yet somehow they’re beautiful too. That was my inspiration for The Standout.
Not only did I literally weave classical ballet stories into the narrative, I used their themes throughout. Love and betrayal become matters of life and death. Beauty becomes truth, but nobody knows what’s real, or whom they can trust. Of course, life can be like that too. That’s the fun with fiction; we can take real-life, stretch it, contort it, and twist it into something slightly impossible yet entirely conceivable – just like ballet!
I had so much fun writing The Standout, remembering my years of ballet training and putting it to use. I also learned a lot about fashion, cyber-stalking, and roofing (if you don’t know what that is, you’ll find out if you read my book.) Of course, I also got a lot of ideas from watching Project Runway. I would love to go on a reality show like that, but I have neither the talent nor the lifestyle that would allow it. Writing about it is my way of living vicariously. In other words, inspiration is everywhere, it’s just a matter of putting it into words on the page!
$25 Amazon gift card (INT)
Ends December 23
Prizing is provided by the author, hosts are not responsible. Must be 13 or older to enter and have parental permission if under 17. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary to win.
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.