I started to write The Dance after watching a TedTalk video with Dr. Marla Spivak about the declining honeybee populations. I immediately felt the need to write a story that would bring to light ways an individual could learn about these magnificent creatures and help save them through easy actions. The result was an adventure in research that made a huge impact on me personally. The honeybees taught me valuable life lessons. These lessons are weaved throughout this story.

A Book about Love and Friendship

The Dance is a book about love, family and friendship, and learning how to dance with life’s constant spin.

Dog trainer Jacky Applebaum is focused on one thing – making up for a grave misunderstanding that damaged her relationship with her fifteen-year old stepdaughter Sophie. They are suffocating under the pressure of hurt and guilt. Old wounds begin to heal between them when a spirited beekeeper named Brooke Hastings contracts Jacky to train her overly-protective dog, Bee. A mutual affinity grows instantly between them, an affinity Jacky won’t allow herself to embrace. But, the heart knows what it needs. Meanwhile, Brooke hires Sophie as her assistant in the bee apiary. A trust forms, and soon Sophie begins to feel alive again as she comes face-to-face with the many parallels between her and the honeybees she nurtures.

Just as they learn to open up and dance with life again, a hurtful truth reveals itself. Will this truth set them free or unravel all they’ve come to learn about life?

Why I Wrote the Dance

About a year ago, my admiration of  honeybees turned into a healthy obsession to understand this magnificent creature more. I was sitting in my living room, flipping through some TedTalk videos, when I came across one presented by Dr. Marla Spivak, Why Bees are Disappearing.

When the video ended, I immediately knew I wanted to learn much more about honeybees and what I could do as an individual to help save them. I also knew that one day I would write a novel featuring these magnificent beings. Dr. Spivak offered several key ways a person could immediately help save bees. She suggested planting wild flowers and avoiding the use of pesticides and insecticides. I knew I had a lot to learn, and thus one day I’d have a lot to share.

Much to learn about bees

I contacted Dr. Spivak and she referred me to an insightful book, Lessons From the Hive written by a fellow Entomology expert, Mark L. Winston. I absorbed every ounce of information he offered. Then, I furthered my research by contacting a local organic beekeeper at Sweet Artisans Apiary in MD. I sat down with Steve and Kathy Sweet (yes, their last name is so cool and fitting!) and they educated me on everything and anything honeybees. When they spoke, they did so with a love kindred to that of a parent talking about their child. They consider their bees family. The admiration and respect they have for them caused my eyes to tear as I listened to them for four hours on that first encounter.

They later invited me back to their apiary to help them place their pollen collector trays in their hives. Talk about a rush! With the silly, ignorant fears of the past long gone, I suited up in their garage and then entered the apiary – a newfound paradise to my senses. The bees buzzed, danced, and went about their business of maintaining the hive as I stood a curious onlooker to their fascinating lives. Did you know that if you lean in close enough to the honeycomb hive, you can feel the wind from their wings?

I started writing The Dance immediately following this visit.

I hope to spread awareness about the fragility and beauty of the honeybee through The Dance. Through my research on this novel, I hope to bring to light to the issues facing honeybees and ways the community can help save this valuable, keystone species. Readers will catch a glimpse into the magic of these beautiful creatures and learn about the many parallels between them and the book’s characters who nurture them.