Jaine stared at Dylan to gauge whether he was kidding. Oh God, he wasn’t kidding. As he lowered his hand, tightness lodged in the pit of her stomach. “Cinderella?”
“Since you’ve been coming here for so long, you probably realize Cinderella is our centerpiece character. She sits on her throne all day, posing for pictures. She leads story times in the castle and appears during our weekend Meet and Greet Fireworks Gala.”
“What happened to the regular Cinderella?”
“She didn’t work out.” He fiddled with the pens poking out of a ski boot-shaped shot glass. “One of my cousins plays the part a couple days per week and fills in when she can, but her schedule doesn’t allow her to fulfill our full-time needs. It’s the middle of July and I’m tired of fooling around with Cinderella.”
He grinned, his dimples diverting her from the princess problem. “That didn’t come out right. But you know what I mean. It’s getting frustrating, Jaine. I’m having a hard time finding someone reliable.”
She bet that Cinderella wouldn’t get tired of fooling around with him.
If you could control minds…would you? It’s hard enough for Dawn hiding that she’s a teen psychic from her new classmates and new step-family, but it gets even tougher when she learns that ESP spells D-A-N-G-E-R. When Dawn gets involved with a fortuneteller mentor and two girls who share her mysterious talents, she finally belongs after years of being a misfit. When she learns her new friends may be tied to freak “accidents” in town, Dawn has an important choice to make – continue developing the talent that makes her special or challenge the only people who have ever accepted her.
About the Book interview with Stacy Juba:
What was the inspiration behind this story?
Years ago, I worked as a newspaper reporter and interviewed a local psychic. She had called the newsroom around Halloween and suggested doing a feature story. I went to interview her and was fascinated as she just seemed to know things. (in fact, many of her predictions came true.) Meanwhile, I submitted a young adult ghost story to Random House that got rejected, however, the editor suggested that I start over with another paranormal story. She said that my style was reminiscent of Lois Duncan. I tried to think of a paranormal story idea geared toward teens, and the experience of going to the psychic apparently got my creative juices flowing. I came up with the idea of what might happen if a group of teen psychics took secret lessons from the local fortuneteller.
Which is your favorite minor character and why?
My favorite minor character is Candace, one of the psychic girls. She dresses Goth and acts tough, but Candace has a deep vulnerability as she has never felt as if she belonged in school or with her family. She once had a close relationship with her sister, but they’ve grown apart and that has hurt her even though Candace acts as if she doesn’t care. This vulnerability is what makes her dangerous.
Please share a few favorite lines or one paragraph.
This is from the scene where Dawn meets Serina, the local fortuneteller, for the first time:
Dawn stepped into a narrow foyer, sniffing the sweet scent of burning incense. A strange sensation overcame her, as if a powerful presence inhabited this house. Dawn grasped the banister, reeling from the impact of whatever invisible force sheathed the air. She gauged how the sensation made her feel. Uncomfortable and a little sad.
Shadows distorted her reflection in a mirror beside the staircase, hollowing her cheeks into skeletal thinness. Tongues of candlelight quivered from the branches of a silver candelabra. Venetian blinds caged the sliding glass door in the adjoining kitchen and shut out the ocean view.
How did you come up with the title?
Actually the original title was Deadly Thoughts as one of the subplots is controlling people’s thoughts. I went to a writing conference and had a critique session with an agent from the agency that represented Mary Higgins Clark. She loved the first chapter and the premise, but she felt the title sounded too much like a women-in-jeopardy novel, which she called a “Mary book.” And that of course wasn’t the audience I was going for, as my audience was teens or adults who enjoy YA. I came up with Dark Before Dawn which fits the book perfectly as the character’s name is Dawn and she is involved in this ethical struggle of using her powers for good or evil – dark vs. light. Unfortunately, there are several other books and movies called Dark Before Dawn, which is the only drawback with that title, but I felt as if it really described my theme so I went with it.
Tell us about your cover art and how it pertains to your story.
The cover art again goes with the dark vs. light theme. It shows a shadowed girl with a bright glowing light on one side of her and darkness around her. This is symbolic of Dawn’s struggle as she gets pulled deeper into this group of psychics who may be up to something. Will her morals win out, or will her vulnerability win out? Her flaw is that she has always felt like a misfit and is finally fitting in, so she allows herself to walk this ethically questionable line of good vs. darkness. The greenish glow on the cover gives it a paranormal feel.
About the Author:
Stacy Juba loves to write stories about Characters at a Crossroads: individuals who are finding themselves and getting on the right life path after overcoming obstacles. She has made numerous bestseller lists including GalleyCat’s Barnes & Noble Bestsellers and GalleyCat’s Mystery and Thriller Bestsellers. Stacy has written about reality TV contestants targeted by a killer, an obit writer investigating a cold case, teen psychics who control minds, twin high school hockey stars battling on the ice, and teddy bears learning to raise the U.S. flag. Stacy also offers the affordable Crossroads Editing Service for writers and does her editing the old-fashioned way, on a hard copy. Watch for her upcoming romantic comedy Fooling Around With Cinderella.
On a personal note, I have to say that I rarely read YA fiction. I’m clearly long past my own young adult years and, quite honestly, didn’t enjoy my teens enough to want to relive any aspect, even vicariously through characters. But I love Stacy’s writing and did read this one when it was released. While I expected to enjoy it, I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. This might even be my favorite book by Stacy. (Though I’d recommend you read them all.) You can find my review on Amazon and Goodreads.
Here’s a look at all Stacy’s books on Amazon:
Thanks for reading.