March 4, 2014

Character Interview: PD Bell from Dancing in the White Room by @Wildwords2 #RLFblog #Contemporary

Dancing in the White Room 

About the Book

Title: Dancing in the White Room
Genre: Contemporary women's fiction
Author: Ute Carbone
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): PG13
Dancing in the white room is slang for skiing or boarding in deep powder snow. The dancer is PD Bell, one of the best extreme skiers on the planet. Mallory Prescott, the woman who lives with him and loves him, is used to Bell's exploits. A patrol woman at Whiteface Mountain near Lake Placid, New York, Mallory is no stranger to risk. But this time Bell is taking on the West Rib of Denali, highest and most dangerous mountain in North America. It's a descent that has never been done, though it's been tried. Five years ago, Bell had tried it. The attempt nearly killed him. Five years ago, he promised Mallory he wouldn't try it again.
Over the six weeks in which he's gone, Mallory begins to question her relationship with Bell. Does he really love her? Is he in it for the duration? What has loving him cost her? Mallory's life choices are thrown into stark relief when her daughter Emily takes a terrible fall. Together with her life-long friend Creech Creches, she must work her way through a maze of uncharted territory at a hospital miles from home.
Dancing in the White Room is the story of the love we keep, the price we pay for that love, and the forgiveness it takes to hold on to what is precious.

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Interview with P.D. Bell

Tell us about yourself, please.
I'm a skier, what some would call an extreme skier. There's been plenty written about me already, about my background growing up in a cabin with my grandfather, about how many metals I won at the X-games, about how many movie spots I've done. The truth is, I'm a lot more than that. I love to ski, true. I can't imagine life without it. But I also love my life, my daughter Emily, and my girlfriend Mallory.
What is it that you want, but cannot have? Authors call this the conflict of the story.
I want the West Rib. It's a tough decent, on the West side of Denali, that no skier has ever been able to conquer. I plan on being the first. I've tried it before, and it got the best of me. I failed and I don't like failure. I want to win this one.
What's your internal limitation? Meaning, what is it about you that makes it so you cannot do what it is you need to do during this story?
Denali is intimidating. I've skied it before. I've done the West Rib before, too. Most people, they'd say I'm fearless, but that's not true. You'd have to be insane not to feel some fear when facing down this slope. It isn't fearlessness, but swallowing down those feelings that makes it work. That's the thing, you conquer those fears and what's left is something so totally awesome you can't put words to it.
What inner doubt causes you the most difficulty?
The thought of what happened last time I tried. I landed in the hospital and it could have been worse--I could have gone over the precipice. But I don't dwell there, I can't and won't dwell there.
What's your external complication? In the story world your author created, explain what it is you fear most.
Well, besides the mountain there's Mallory. I know how she feels about my going to Denali again. She's made it clear she hates the idea. Losing her is the worst thing that could happen to me.
Tell us about your significant other, that person who makes living worthwhile.
Mallory. I don't know where to begin. She's kind of perfect. Not just physically, I mean, yeah, she's perfect physically speaking. But she's so strong and smart and capable. I could never imagine being with anyone else.
What would that person say about you?
Right now? She'd probably say I'm a jerk for taking up this challenge. She'd call me stubborn and possessed. She might not be wrong about that. But then, I think, deep down inside, she really does love me for who I am.
What is your family like?
Mallory and Em are my family. Then there's my grandfather, Danny, who's tough as leather, but also the best man I know. My mom died when I was a kid and he raised me. I never knew my father, or even who my father was. It doesn't matter, though. You make your own family. And I try to be the best father to my little girl that I can possibly be.
What special skills do you rely on?
Well, I guess my skills at skiing. I am pretty good at it. I also like to build things. I built the cabin Mallo and I live in with Em. And a lot of the furniture in the place. I love making furniture, it relaxes me.
If someone from your past showed up, who would you NOT want it to be, and why?
I don't know. I guess my father, because then I'd have to know why he never claimed me as his kid. Though, really, he might have never even known about me.
Are you happy with the way your story ended? Why or why not?
Yes. I think I've finally figured out what's important. And I told Mallory I loved her--I'm not big on words, but I think she needed to hear how important she is to me.

About the Writer

You have the length of a tweet (140 characters) to describe yourself as a writer. Let's see what you can do.
Have pen. Will write.
Why did you choose to write about this character?
Extreme skiers, or people who do things that are what most of us would consider a little crazy, fascinate me. I love Bell, because it turns out he's more than just skiing.
Was there anything you discovered about this character that was a surprise to you?
How much he cares about Mallory. Early on, I figured him for a guy who is a bit easy come, easy go when it comes to relationships. And that isn't true.
When you wrote about this character, what made you the most happy? What made you the most sad?
Well, the story is told from Mallory's point of view, so we see Bell through her eyes. The best of Bell was how he reacted when she finally told him she was pregnant--the pregnancy was an accident--he goes to their extra room and says, 'we'll paint it yellow." There's no fuss, just this quiet acceptance that says, of course I'll be there, we'll do this together. He also makes furniture, and he surprised Mallory with a headboard for their bed, which was sweet.
Sad was how driven he is to do the dangerous things he does. He is almost compelled to do them--and it seems as though he doesn't take Mallory or Emily into account when making those decisions.
Why do you write?
I wish I could answer that question. I think I just love telling stories. And that, by living with the characters, I get to live all kinds of interesting lives--as a professional skier in this case.
What do you want to write next?
I have way, way too many ideas and partially finished things in my WIP folder. Right now, I'm writing a part four for Anton and Lenora, a series of historical novellas. Talk about other lives, this one lets me sail to China in the 19th century. I also have another historical-set in Colorado in the 1890's, and a romantic comedy about a daytime TV star in New York. And I'd love to write another ski story--this one featuring Creech, who is Mallory's best friend and ex-boyfriend in Dancing.
What other character from this book do you want to write about? Care to tell us why?
As I said, I'd love to write a story about Creech. He's a ski racing coach, which is kind of fascinating, and he needs a love interest. I have some ideas and I think I might sit down and do this book in the near future.
Is there anything you'd like to say to your readers?
I hope you enjoy reading my stories as much as I enjoy writing them.

Author Bio

Ute (who pronounces her name Oooh-tah) Carbone is an award winning author of women's fiction, comedy, and romance. She and her husband live in New Hampshire, where she spends her days walking, eating chocolate and dreaming up stories.

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  1. Thanks for having me and Bell on the blog today!

  2. Glad to have you here. And now I know your name is not Yoot, but Ooh-tah. Folks pronounce mine Kay-lee sometimes, but it's like the letters K L. :)


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