People who put together program books for writer’s conventions, or the “About the Authors” sections of anthologies, or reporters conducting an interview, often ask me “Tell us who you are in 150 words.”

My first reaction is to say I am a writer, not just because that is how I make a living, but because I write, even if I’m not getting paid. I write through joy and pain. Characters speak to me and drive me insane if I do not tell their story. I write.

My second thought is that I am a dancer. For me dance is more than a hobby or form of exercise. It is a part of me. From the age of 7 many of the important moments in my life are surrounded by dance. I pour my emotions onto the dance floor and dance through them until they form a pattern and make sense again.

I started with ballet because a pediatrician suggested dance classes would strengthen my ankles and keep them from pronating. I became addicted by the end of my first class.

Through many moves around the country, changes in schools, shifting friendships, I danced. In high school and college I performed with a semi-pro ballet company. Then I started my family and I turned to teaching. Dance became as much a part of who I am as the color of my eyes and hair, my height, and my style of clothes.

Then I broke my ankle, badly. I spent the next twenty years grieving for the loss of dance in my life. That’s the only way to describe my recovery from a devastating accident. Grief.

Then a dance studio opened ½ mile from my house. I signed up for classes as both student and teacher and I came alive again. I added tap, jazz, and contemporary to my repertoire. I soared once more. The studio folded but I have continued dancing with an informal country line dancing group. They keep me moving and therefore sane.

Dance competitions on television are mandatory watching in my house. I imagine how I would perform each and every dance, how I would extend my leg and point my toe, how to complete the movement of my arms down to the last finger flick.

That sparked an idea. And of course I can’t leave a story alone. I have to dig deeply into every character’s back story. They hide skeletons from me. They mask paranormal talents from themselves. And then they pour it all onto the dance floor and leave it up to me to dance through them until I see a pattern and make sense of the story.

And thus was born a cozy paranormal book I call Confessions of a Ballroom Diva.


About Phyllis Irene Radford

Irene Radford has been writing stories ever since she figured out what a pencil was for. A member of an endangered species—a native Oregonian who lives in Oregon—she and her husband make their home in Welches, Oregon where deer, bears, coyotes, hawks, owls, and woodpeckers feed regularly on their back deck. A museum trained historian, Irene has spent many hours prowling pioneer cemeteries deepening her connections to the past. Raised in a military family she grew up all over the US and learned early on that books are friends that don’t get left behind with a move. Her interests and reading range from ancient history, to spiritual meditations, to space stations, and a whole lot in between. Mostly Irene writes fantasy and historical fantasy including the best-selling Dragon Nimbus Series and the masterwork Merlin’s Descendants series. In other lifetimes she writes urban fantasy as P.R. Frost or Phyllis Ames, and space opera as C.F. Bentley. Later this year she ventures into Steampunk as someone else. If you wish information on the latest releases from Ms Radford, under any of her pen names, you can subscribe to her newsletter: Promises of no spam, merely occasional updates and news of personal appearances.



  1. Ah, I love dance. To do it, and to watch it. Not professionally as you are, but when ever there’s music, I move to it, even when the rest of the crown is standing like trees.