Interview & Review: Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

Today I have author Yelena Black on the blog. Yelena released her YA paranormal debut this week, 12th Febuary, Dance of Shadows. I had a chance to read the book before its release and I have to say it is an amazing book, I couldn't put it down. You can check out my  5* review after the interview with Yelena!
The Author: Yelena Black
I grew up in Massachusetts, then moved to New York City when I was eighteen. In high school, I loved English and History because they’re both so story oriented. I remember despising Physics. I was always frustrated by how many unknowns there were, and how so many of my questions about the way the world worked had no answers. Now I find the mystery of it fascinating and wish I had paid more attention in class. I received my undergraduate and graduate degrees from Columbia University, and now I am a full-time writer.
How did you got into writing?
I always loved to write, but I really began to focus on fiction when I received my M.F.A.

Tell us about Dance of Shadows/the inspiration behind the book
I studied dance when I was a younger and absolutely loved it. Even though I decided not to pursue it professionally, I love watching dance performances all throughout the city—especially ballet. I’ve always loved the beauty of Lincoln Center, and I thought that a story about the world of ballet would be incredibly interesting. Ballerinas are so disciplined, the training is so strict, and the world is so competitive … it’s a breeding ground for a fabulous story. After I completed my M.F.A, I knew that I wanted to write for teens. I’ve always loved mysteries and thrillers, and stories that are dark and paranormal. I decided to combine my literary loves with my performance loves and … voila!Dance of Shadows was born.
How does it feel to be releasing your debut novel?
It’s a strange combination of very exciting and very scary. Writing a novel is a private thing—for so many months, it’s just you and your computer. Then an agent and an editor and publishing folks get involved—and I am beyond thankful for the superb team at Bloomsbury Children’s Books for believing in me and my story. And now, well … it’s about to be released into the world! And judged! I only hope it makes people happy and entertains them, and that they love Vanessa and her friends as much as I do. Publishing a novel is a very humbling experience, and I am forever in debt to everyone who has helped me along the way.
Can you describe your protangnist Vanessa in less than 140 characters?
Talented, loving, curious, determined.
The cover of Dance of Shadows is beautiful. Who designed it and what was the inspiration behind it?
Thank you! The fabulous team at Bloomsbury designed the cover, and I think it speaks to the fact that the book has an element of balletand of the paranormal. I can’t stop looking at it and am so honored to have such a beautiful image associated with the book.
Why should we pick up Dance of Shadows?
I hope people pick up Dance of Shadows because they want to read something that is thrilling and mysterious, and has a romance at its core. I think it’s very different than a lot of the thrillers and paranormal books out there right now, and I am excited for it to make its way into as many reader’s hands as possible.

Some bookie questions:
Favourite genre and why?
I absolutely love mysteries—I love the suspense of “whodunit” and being kept on the edge of my seat!
Favourite YA author and why?
Suzanne Collins, because she created such an amazing character in Katniss Everdeen.
Debut author/ upcoming author we should check out
Theo Lawrence, who wrote Mystic City, which I thought was absolutely fantastic—so intriguing and romantic. I couldn’t put it down!
Favourite 2012 read and why?
Bliss by Katherine Littlewood. A sweet and funny middle grade novel about a family who has a magical bakery. I ate it right up!
A book series you love and why?
The Flappers series by Jillian Larkin. It’s saucy, fun, and SO sexy. I just finished the third book, DIVA—it’s amazing

Connect with the author:


Book: Dance of Shadows
Author: Yelena Black
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 447
Series: Dance of Shadows #1
Recieved ARC from publishers for review

Dance of Shadows is a compelling and seductive novel that I couldn't put down. It kept me on my toes trying to figure out what was happening at elite ballet school that Vanessa Alder attends in New York city. Vanessa's sister Margaret vanished from the ballet school that Vanessa is now attending and Vanessa doesn't believe her sister would varnish just like that without contact. Vanessa feels the need to be there to find out what happeneded to her sister but also to dance. 

The author takes you on an emotional rollercoster. You can never tell if you can trust a character or not. All the characters make you feel like they could be the "baddie" of the book, the one causing the strange disapperances. They make you question eveything they say. I really liked this as I really didn't guest right at who was the "baddies". The paranormal twist is great. It is like nothing I have read before and I have read alot of paranormal books. It felt fresh.

I really liked Vanessa as a character when she interacted with Zep one of the main guys in the book, it was compelling and seductive the relationship between them and when they danced it was breathtaking. I could picture them dancing the firebird in my head!. This is one thing I really liked about Dance of Shadows, the book being centered around the ballet. The passion, romance and intense connection between people when they dance, like Zep and Vanessa was great to read and keeps you enthralled.

There was a "love triangle" in Dance of Shadows and I really liked it. The two guys, Zep and Justin, are both great in there own ways but I was varying for one, one minute and the other the next and by the end I still liked the other a little even though the betrayal of one is shocking.  I didn't see it coming.

Overall this was a great start to a new YA trilogy. I can't wait to read the next book in the series and see what happens next. I sense another amazing rollercoster ride with Vanessa and author Yelena Black!



  1. Sounds like a great read! Congratulations on your debut Yelena! The cover is beautiful!!