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Dancing on the Edge cover
October 2004
Dancing on the Edge of the Roof
by Sheila Williams

In Dancing on the Edge of the Roof, we witness the birth of a writer—or rather two writers. It’s the first novel for Sheila Williams, who spent a couple of decades pursuing a corporate career and raising a family before a bad novel inspired her to return to writing on the theory that surely she could do better. And it’s the story of a 42-year-old woman from the Columbus, Ohio projects who is inspired by romance novels to run away from home, seeking adventure so that she’ll have something more interesting to write about in her diary than her life of endless work, ungrateful grown children, and worthless men. Juanita’s quest takes her to Paper Moon, Montana, where she meets a succession of colorful characters, finds romance, and becomes something of a curiosity herself as the only black person for miles and miles. As her heroine’s vocabulary and confidence grow, Williams does a skillful dance of her own, sustaining a light-hearted, almost fairy-tale quality while exploring questions of self-respect, tough love, and the courage to change.


Watch the program [requires RealPlayer®].

Publisher’s information page—Ballantine Books/One World

Amazon.com information page

Barnes and Noble information page



Sheila Williams

Author’s web site

Q&A from the publisher from Random House’s Bold Type magazine (including a recipe for “Juanita’s Pinto Beans”)


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