Behind The Book With Delphine Ross

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Behind The Book With Delphine Ross 


Almost a year ago, I read Delphine Ross’s debut historical romance novel, The Poetics Of Passion, which thanks to that stunning debut had gotten me interested in reading more historical romance. We also did a Q&A discussing the book. In this edition of Behind The Book, we will be discussing the sequel The Dance Of Desire. 


Q: For those who haven’t read the novel, would you like to give a brief description of Dance Of Desire? 


A: My pleasure, Bianca! First off, thank you for your kind words about The Poetics of Passion, which was the first book in my Muses of Scandal series—so delighted you enjoyed it! 


The Dance of Desire is the second book in the series, but functions as a standalone. Set in 1873 Paris, The Dance of Desire is about a ballet-dancing beauty named Angela who’s forced into a marriage of convenience with a beastly earl named Sunny, who happens to be her childhood friend. The situation is complicated: six months earlier, Angela broke Sunny’s heart when she refused his proposal of marriage. In terms of tropes, The Dance of Desire is friends to enemies to lovers. Oh, and there’s kittens and a gothic chateau and dastardly journalists!  


Q: What made you choose to write the sequel from Angela and Sunny’s point of view rather than Musa and Sebastian’s point of view? 


A: I so loved writing about Musa and Sebastian’s romance in The Poetics of Passion! But once their story was resolved, it made sense to turn to Musa’s younger sister, Angela, for my next historical romance. I’d intended Angela’s story to involve another ballet dancer, but Sunny took over my story, as characters often do.


Originally, Sunny was a secondary character who served as comic relief in The Poetics of Passion. However, I soon realized he had hidden depths; he’s pretty wounded after years of being bullied by others. Plus I was interested in writing about a couple who’d known each other for years as friends. I wondered what it would take for them to gain their HEA (happily ever after), especially after years of Angela friend-zoning Sunny.


Q: The Dance Of Desire has nods to Beauty and The Beast and Ferdinand the Bull. What made you choose elements from those stories to write this book?


A: I’ve always wanted to write a Beauty and the Beast retelling; one of my favorite films is the Jean Cocteau version, which is so beautifully romantic. As for Ferdinand the Bull, those elements snuck in without my realizing it until I was about two-thirds of the way through writing. Sunny’s character is remarkably similar to Ferdinand. He’s ultimately a lover, not a fighter, who just wants to sit under a tree smelling the flowers. Ferdinand the Bull was one of my daughter’s favorite picture books as a toddler; I can’t even count how many times I’ve read it to her. Plus I knew flowers were going to play a major role in the plot of The Dance of Desire—after all, what’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling without roses?


Q: What lessons do you hope readers learn from reading The Dance Of Desire?


A: One of the themes of The Dance Of Desire is about grief: how do you heal from it? How do you forgive and move on? So I hope the book offers reassurance that it’s possible to emerge from past sorrows to find new happiness and love. The Dance Of Desire also about how revenge never works out as you plan—as one of the characters says, “Revenge only hurts the bearer.” On a lighter note, I also hope people learn that toe shoes are enormously noisy—they only appear ethereal. 😉  


Q: Without spoiling too much, which scenes were your favorites to write & why?


A: Oh gosh, that’s so hard to choose! I had a lot of fun writing the scenes involving the kittens—I love cats. I adored writing the first “real” love scene between Sunny and Angela, which is pretty angsty. The poor dude had so many years of yearning for Angela that it was fun to unpack the reality versus his fantasy. Spoiler alert: Angela’s all too human. I also loved writing about Angela’s arrival at the chateau in the middle of the night, where I could weave in all the references to Beauty and the Beast: the empty castle, the waiting meal, the warm fire. I also loved writing Sunny and Angela’s dialogue, which was quite different from Musa and Seb’s in The Poetics of Passion. Nothing like a Grumpy/Sunshine pairing to spark conversation!