I adore Beth White’s stories and Tour de Force is a special treat for those who love the arts and the dedication required to make it to the top. I love the insight into Gilly and Jacob and I am sure you will too
Brief physical description of your main character/s
Gilly Kincade is a tiny redhead with a ballet dancer’s pliant body. Her kittenish face is given a touch of sparkle by a diamond nose chip, a sprinkle of freckles over green eyes, and quirky red eyebrows bent upward at the tips. She has a dancer’s bowed legs and duck feet.
Jacob Ferrar is a dancer as well; he’s over six feet tall, with a supple, muscular build. His dark hair and eyes and strong, bony face, make Gilly think of a “broken angel.”
Strengths and weaknesses
Gilly’s main spiritual strength is her passion to share her faith in Jesus–with everyone she meets. Second only to that is her drive toward perfection in her chosen art form, ballet. Also, she is blessed with a large, loving family which supports her demanding career. Weaknesses might include carelessness in housekeeping and a tendency to push herself harder than is physically safe.
Jacob, on the other hand, is a bit of a loner–pleasantly shy. He’s charmed by Gilly’s extroverted personality but also a little intimidated by her loud, gregarious family. He also has the perfectionist gene–necessary for a ballet artistic director, but which can drive him to expect too much from himself. A feeling of shame about his pre-Christian past sometimes keeps him from boldly sharing what Christ has done for him. His great strength is deep affection for his grandparents and small orphaned nephew–and increasingly Gilly Kincade. He expresses his love in the silent meeting of needs.
Quirk (if any)
Gilly loves colorful clothes that clash with her hair.
Jacob has a European upbringing (his parents are career diplomats), so he’s got a British accent from his boarding school days.
Your inspiration for the character
Watch a couple of these videos. Mesmerizing. Kathryn Morgan and Robert Fairchild of New York City Ballet were the inspirations for Gilly and Jacob.
The Making of Romeo & Juliet
More Romeo & Juliet
Background to the story
Gilly was a secondary character in Off the Record, last year’s release from Zondervan. She was the teenage sister of the heroine, Judge Laurel Kincade. I saw a lot of potential for “growing Gilly up” and giving her a story of her own. So I began to imagine what could happen to a young lady completely invested in spending her extraordinary natural gifts, as well as her spiritual gifts, in God’s service. Life isn’t always rosy–in real life or in fiction. So what happens when bad stuff happens to us? Is God looking away, or does He have a plan? That’s one of the main questions I wanted to explore with Tour de Force. I also wanted to trace what happens when a believer is thrown into a completely secular artistic world–a place that is often hostile to those with a spiritual bent. We can be rigid–legalistic, if you will–or we can look at those around us with Jesus’ eyes of compassion and grace. I’m fairly certain I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that nonbelievers recognize real love when they see it. Tour de Force is my crayon drawing of what I think love looks like in all its permutations–familial, romantic, fraternal and agape.
Just delightful, Beth – thanks so much for sharing with us!
Come back on Thursday for a spotlight on Julie Klassen’s Lilly Haswell from The Apothecary’s Daughter together with a look at her leading men!
I am delighted to have a copy of Tour de Force to give away to a reader with an Australian postal address! To enter, post a comment on or before Sunday 31st May, 2009 telling me if you have ever been to the ballet! I haven’t, uncultured person that I am – LOL!