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Dance with Me

A YA fantasy by Judith Crow

cover of Dance with Me by Judith Crow

Don’t tell anyone, but Kelli spends all her free time listening to folk music. Ok, it’s not what you’d expect from a popular fifteen-year-old, but that’s why she doesn’t want the whole world to know.

When Kelli follows the mysterious Tam Lane, she finds herself in a place where folk songs come to life. As she comes to terms with the world, she makes friends, uses her privilege to help others, and even falls in love.

But Kelli has forgotten the fates which await so many characters in the songs, and she soon finds herself surrounded by heartbreak. Determined to protect the people she has left, can Kelli change a fate which has been sung for centuries?

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“So, what is Carterhaugh?”

“It’s in the Scottish borders,” he replied. “You must have heard of it before, Kelli.”

Kelli thought about it. The name sounded familiar, but she knew nothing about Scotland to speak of, and certainly nothing beyond the visitor attractions in Edinburgh. “I’ve heard of it, but I don’t know where.”

“Well, it’s a kind of gateway,” Tam explained. “There are beautiful gardens, and the land is very fertile so it is said that any seed to touch the earth will grow into the greatest of its kind. It was the birthplace of the ancient kings.”

“What does that have to do with me?” Kelli asked. “Or with Jehovah’s Witnesses for that matter?”

“Nothing at all,” Tam replied. “But you must have asked about it for a reason.”

“Yes, I did,” Kelli said, thrusting the magazine back into Tam’s hands with her thumb marking the last page. It fell open as Tam took it from her, and a picture of smiling children covered most of the back page, with the title ‘Bible Questions Answered’ and a small amount of text.


“It was there!” Kelli said, a shiver running down her spine. She flicked through the magazine, but the page was nowhere to be seen. “It was there. There was a picture of a wood and a river.”

“That is Carterhaugh,” Tam said. “The birthplace of kings. You should go there. You’d like it.”

“How would you know?”

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An Interview with Judith Crow

-What inspired you to become a writer?

Probably my mum originally. When I was little, she always seemed to be writing stories or poems – a bit like the mother in The Railway Children. My dad wasn’t in prison (!) but he did work away for a while, so I always thought of her as being a lot like that character.

I have always loved to read – I was starting well before school age – and I think that’s a real pre-requisite for any writer.

-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?

I would save a life. I can’t tell you whose (spoilers!) but I will say that it’s someone who is very important to Kelli and who she can’t properly mourn in case her past is revealed! For the book, this person had to die to allow the events to unfold in the way they do, but I still feel a little bit guilty about it! Maybe when I’m rich and famous I’ll do a J.K. Rowling and apologise annually for killing someone off!

-It’s two in the morning. What does your protagonist reveal in confidence? (Don’t worry, we won’t tell.)

Are we both drunk? In a drunken confession, Kelli would probably admit that she’s conflicted by the fact that she doesn’t exactly fit-in anywhere. She just thinks she’s found her niche and then something happens and she loses her confidence. I don’t think she would just admit this though, so she would need some kind of persuasion!

Otherwise, probably just that she misses William, or that she’s in love with William, depending on when we’re having this conversation. That seems to be her greatest not-secret throughout the book, especially given that I already know she’s from another world!

-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?

Probably John and Barbara. These two characters seem to live in the tavern! They are fun-loving and generous, and play a massive part in making my main character, Kelli, feel at home in the world she finds herself in.

-You’re in a tavern, and a dwarf challenges you to a duel. What do you do?

And I’m definitely not the dwarf challenging everyone?! Haha! I probably go for it, unless it’s pistols at dawn because I’m a rubbish aim, but I don’t think that’s a very dwarven mode of fighting anyway.

I’m not sure if I should own up to this but, when I was at school, I used to do organized “fights” with a girl who was about twice my size. It was a bit like wrestling but with not many rules and where the prizes were lollipops which turned your mouth into a weird colour. I always won, because I’m very feisty! I’m like a wolverine taking on a bear!

So, bring it on, Tiny!

-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?

I am a prude, so I could never write erotica. If you’ve ever watched Miranda, I will invite you to imagine what I’m like when it comes to talking about (*whispers*) sex. I’m just very British about these things!

About Judith Crow

Judith Crow author image

Judith was born in Orkney, grew up in Lincolnshire and now lives in the far north of Scotland. Her writing is inspired by the experiences of her life so far and she loves picking up on quirks and immortalising them in fiction.

Judith’s new book, Dance With Me, combines her love of folk music and creative writing, and finds her main character in a world where folk songs come to life. Her debut book, The Backwater, was a finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards 2019.

When she isn’t writing, Judith is a primary school teacher who enjoys crafting and music, as well as being a generally doting spaniel owner.

Find her online:


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