Commentary,  Writer's Life

Why I Write About Music

In my book Memories of Jake, I introduce the reader to the elder of two brothers who served in Vietnam. The book is the first in “The Cameron Saga” and is about how the war affected the brothers and the people they love. My character Andrew Cameron is an artist. Yet music is vital to his very existence. Andrew listens to music as he paints; it inspires him. Music provides hope, comfort, and healing throughout his life, whatever challenges he must face. Music is part of the happiness he experiences. Jake, the younger brother and protagonist of Man with No Yesterdays, suffers severe retrograde amnesia in a helicopter accident, and never fully recovers his autobiographical memory. Music helps Jake understand the man he has become, and after a physical and emotional odyssey, he begins to build a new life.

Music is in every book I write. How could it not be? As a child, my engineer father, whose avocation was playing the trumpet, frequently had recordings playing on the stereo in our home. Mostly classical orchestral music, which he loved and which I came to love as well. Like many young girls, I studied piano and ballet, learned more musical literature, and eventually discovered opera at the age of 14 by listening to a Saturday Metropolitan Opera broadcast. It was, as I’ve often said, like falling in love, a love that has lasted a lifetime. Music has never failed me.

I’ve had interesting responses to the music in my books. One reader’s review referred to my work as “music-centric” and I really like that description. Another reader, who hadn’t anticipated that music would permeate the pages, entitled her (one-star) Amazon review of Eli’s Heart: “You should be an opera enthusiastic (sic) to really enjoy this.” Well, an honest appraisal from her P.O.V.; the book is certainly full of music. The main characters are two musicians who meet at the age of sixteen. The young man, a piano prodigy, was born with a defective heart. Yet he and his love manage to enjoy a fulfilling life which includes his highly successful career…because of the music that brought them together and filled their lives.

That was my second novel, and I recently released novel #16, book number three in “The Cameron Saga.” The main character is Andrew Cameron’s daughter Lindsey, who has wanted to be an opera singer since she was seven. The book begins in 1996, just before she completes her bachelor of music degree. It is definitely “music-centric,” and there is a great deal about the world of opera…among other things. (Maybe I should offer my one-star reviewer a complimentary copy?) Once again, my characters face challenges, and the music in their lives helps them to meet those challenges. So, readers familiar with “The Cameron Saga” who choose to read And This Shall Be for Music will revisit old friends and follow Lindsey’s path and that of her close friends and the man she comes to love.

When I write about music, I describe it from the point of view of the listener or performer, or both. To me, that is the essence of music: how it makes us feel. I believe that is why we have been given this gift. Writing the books in “The Cameron Saga” took me on three wonderful, gripping, emotionally wrenching, yet uplifting journeys. I hope it does the same for my readers.

All books are available in Kindle and paperback editions on Amazon.

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