Author: Jennifer Comeaux
Publisher: Astraea Press
Released: 3rd January 2012
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Skating is Emily's life. Unless she can be on the ice every day, she isn't happy. Pairs skating is just a new way of skating and achieving her dream of being in the Olympics. More than that, both she and her partner Chris want to get gold while they're there. Their coach is Sergei, much younger than average and with a past he's not inclined to share. With his help Emily and Chris have the gold medal in sight, but then a problem starts to develop: the feelings between Sergei and Emily. Somehow the two must keep it a secret and work past the obstacles if either have any hope of achieving that goal or keeping their careers.
This was a really engrossing, entertaining read. I've only watched a couple of skating films; to be honest I'm really not a sports person in any shape or form, yet I enjoyed reading about the competitions, the rehearsals, this constant journey the characters are on to stay on top and live their dream. I wanted them to get high scores; I wanted them to get that gold medal. It also gave me a whole new appreciation for how difficult it is to be part of a sport as a career, and just how much it takes. I'm very admiring of people who can do something like skating, because it takes a lot of skill and practice. I know as I sat there the whole time reading it I was thinking that I could never do something like that; my awful hand-eye co-ordination wouldn't allow for it and I'd probably be too afraid of all the falls, both physical and metaphorical, I'd have to take.
Emily fights past that fear. Every time a competition comes up she becomes incredibly nervous and anxious, yet she does her best to get past that and let herself be the best that she can be when she's on the ice. Her passion and determination really comes through and that made her an admirable character; it made it easy to want good things for her. Even when she'd committed herself to a relationship with Sergei, she was still fiercely determined to get the medal - this girl always had her eye on the prize.
I really enjoyed the relationship between the two. I admit I did have a bit of a problem at the beginning. It wasn't insta-love - I just want to make that clear. It's more that Comeaux just relates it more generally rather than going into detail for a couple of scenes. Through Emily she stated that they met several times, had lengthier conversations, and then they came to realise they were growing to have feelings for each other. This wasn't exactly a major problem, though, and I was soon engrossed reading about the ups and downs in their relationship, scared on Emily's behalf about the trouble they might get into. Sergei is sweet and respects Emily's morals; at the same time he pushes her to do better when she's skating, knowing exactly what she's capable of. His past is a sad one, though perhaps not as different or shocking as you might hope.
Comeaux has created a wonderful set of characters here. Yes, Emily and Sergei are the main ones, but from Chris, who's funny and supportive and generally just really likeable, to Courtney. one of Em's students, who's like your adorable little sister, to Em's roommate, to her parents...all of the characters had their own personalities and voices. This is also not one of those stories where the author clearly has no idea what they're talking about. It's extremely obvious Comeaux has done her research, and it creates a very strong, believable story. Life on the Edge is a brilliant balance between skating and romance, between plot and characters, and I can definitely recommend it to anyone, regardless of whether or not you're a sports fan.
Hi Jennifer! First I’d just like to say, welcome to the blog. It’s great having you here. J
So, your wonderful book, Life on the Edge, revolves around ice skating. What first got you interested in the sport?
Thank you so much for having me! I’ve been watching skating on TV since I was a little girl, and I was always fascinated by it. We don’t have any rinks near my town, so I’ve only skated once in my life (just last year!), but I love watching the sport any chance I get. I think it’s the perfect combination of sport and art.
Emily is an incredibly determined character – of course she has to be with all the competition, and has to struggle through all the nerves. Is there any of yourself in her?
There is a little bit of me in Emily! I am very competitive just as she is, and we have many of the same core values. She’s a much, much better athlete than I am, though. I’ve never been good at sports!
Me neither! You set the book so that it would encompass a particularly memorable year. What was the purpose of that?
I first got the idea for the story about eight years ago, so I pictured the events happening around the 2002 Olympics. Even though I didn’t start writing the book until a couple of years ago, I wanted to keep the story in that time period. I liked the idea of Emily and Chris competing at an Olympics on home soil, and I also wanted them to be able to compete at the National Championships in Boston (Emily’s hometown), which were held in 2001.
Did you know what was going to happen and outline the story, or did you just sort of figure it out as you went along?
I first wrote the story just for my sister and a few friends to read. It started out as sort of a serial – a never-ending story where I’d just keep adding chapters. After about a year of writing, I decided to edit what I had into a publishable book. I had way too much material and did a lot of cutting and rewriting. After many changes, it all came together! So, I didn’t go through a conventional book-writing process J
What was your favourite scene to write?
Ooh, I had a lot of favorites, but one of them was the Tokyo nightclub/hotel scene because I love writing flirty dialogue and showing the chemistry between Emily and Sergei.
What have been the top highlights of your writing career?
Meeting readers online and making so many new friends has been a big highlight. I had no idea what to expect going into this new adventure, and it’s been amazing to meet so many wonderful people. Hearing people tell me they love the characters and can identify with them has also been so wonderful.
Do you have any upcoming releases or projects you’re working on?
The sequel to Life on the Edge will be released in a few weeks! It’s titled Edge of the Past and will continue Emily and Sergei’s story. You can find out more about it on my blog! I also just started working on the third and final book in the Edge series.
Thanks for agreeing to take part in an interview, Jennifer! :)
Thanks for agreeing to take part in an interview, Jennifer! :)