Friday, July 25, 2014

Guest Post + Giveaway: Phantom's Dance - Lesa Howard

Phantom's Dance
Lesa Howard
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Retelling

About the book:

Christine Dadey’s family uprooted their lives and moved to Houston for her to attend the prestigious Rousseau Academy of Dance. Now, two years later, Christine struggles to compete among the Academy’s finest dancers, her parents are on the brink of divorce, and she’s told no one about her debilitating performance anxiety and what she’s willing to do to cope with it.

Erik was a ballet prodigy, a savant, destined to be a star on the world’s stage, but a suspicious fire left Erik’s face horribly disfigured. Now, a lonely phantom forced to keep his scars hidden, he spends his nights haunting the theater halls, mourning all he’s lost. Then, from behind the curtain he sees the lovely Christine. The moldable, malleable Christine.

Drawn in by Erik’s unwavering confidence, Christine allows herself to believe Erik’s declarations that he can transform her into the dancer she longs to be. But Christine’s hope of achieving her dreams may be her undoing when she learns Erik is not everything he claims. And before long, Erik’s shadowy past jeopardizes Christine’s unstable present as his obsession with her becomes hopelessly entangled with his plans for revenge.

Purchase links:

About the author:

Lesa Howard lives in the greater Houston area where she works as writer-in-residence for the nonprofit organization Writers in the Schools. But her students know her as Lesa Boutin. Her latest YA novel is PHANTOM'S DANCE, a modern retelling of Gaston Leroux's PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. She has two books written under the name Lesa Boutin: AMANDA NOBLE, ZOOKEEPER EXTRAORDINAIRE, and AMANDA NOBLE, SPECIAL AGENT. Visit Lesa at or contact her at

Author links:

The Making of a Phantom

When I was a teenager I wanted to read adult novels. Then when I became an adult all I wanted to read or write were teen novels. Go figure. But whether as a teen or as an adult, my favorite kinds of books have always been of the epic, sweeping saga variety—with a dash of tragic romance, of course. So it should come as no surprise to people who know me that I would undertake a reimagining of Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera. But the finished product is what has been surprising.

I knew I wanted to set Phantom's Dance in real-time Houston. In the beginning, my Phantom, Erik, was to be a young homeless man whose face had been disfigured in a gang fight. And rather than wear a mask, I dressed him in an over-sized hoodie that he kept pulled low on his head to cover his scars, and I wanted him to live in the labyrinth of tunnels running beneath the streets of Houston. But early on, I scrapped the idea of the tunnels. It just didn't work. I needed him beneath the theater. Then there was the hoodie. I really wanted to hang onto that hoodie. Nothing says 21st century like a worn-out old hoodie. But again, no matter what I did it simply didn't work. So, yeah, my phantom got a mask.

The setting and clothing weren't the only things that changed. Christine became a ballet dancer instead of an opera singer like that of Leroux's original protagonist. I don't remember how I settled on that, but I met a ballerina with the Houston Ballet who was an enormous help, and I toured the Ben Stevenson Academy where I learned a lot about the lives of ballerinas and the pursuit of their art.

These were the jumping off points for Phantom's Dance, along with the addition of current technology and the phantom's use of it. And without giving anything away, I will say that my Erik is like, yet different, from the original. He's like Leroux' s Erik in that he's a gifted genius in not only dance but as an all-around artist. I think he's different because of the view we get into his life by reading the story from Christine's first person point-of-view. There were things about the original's overall character, whether in books, movies, and plays, that I think were overlooked, and these were things it turned out I couldn't ignore. So whether you're a fan or have never given the Phantom a second thought, I hope you enjoy my version, Phantom's Dance.

- Lesa Howard


Lesa Howard would like to share a signed copy of Phantom's Dance and a $10 Amazon Gift Card with one lucky winner!

Just fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter! The giveaway is open to US and Canada only and runs through August 14th. The winner will be contacted shortly after the giveaway ends and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. We Live and Breathe Books is not responsible for any prizes that are lost in the mail. Good luck! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Ahh, I've been dying to have Phantom's Dance in my book shelf! Thanks for this cool giveaway!

    1. That's awesome! Good luck and thanks for entering! :)