(Note: Although Coda was the working title, the novel has now changed its name to ‘Recital’)
As I’ve been telling a few people about my book and hanging out in certain literary circles online, I’ve come to meet other like minded people. So it was pretty cool that another author, Alverdine Farley, asked for some more contributors to her part in The Next Big Thing, which is a blogging chain – you answer the ten questions about your book on your own blog, and then pose the questions to another five authors of your choosing.
These are the first questions I’ve ever answered about my book so I thought it was a great idea. At the end of the blog you can see my next five nominated authors (there might be less than five to start with, I need to find some more!)
So here are my answers to the ten questions.
1. What is the working title of your book?
The working title of the book is ‘Coda’. I’ve also added the tagline ‘A musical horror story’. I think that sums it up pretty nicely. A ‘coda’ in musical terminology is the end part of a piece of music, based on the previous sections but taking them to a final conclusion. The story in Coda is about repeating cycles and for the search for a conclusion, and as the book is centred on the world of classical music it is a fitting title.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
I’ve had the idea of people being possessed by music in my mind for so long I can’t really remember how the idea started. I’m sure however that it stems from the legends that arose from the performing musical prodigies of the 17th and 18th centuries. Both Paganini and Liszt were thought to have almost superhuman powers in their heyday and some people thought it was the work of the devil and that they played as if they were possessed.
3. What genre does your book fall under?
Horror. But as it’s a pretty big genre I’d say it’s at the Steven King end, as opposed to the James Herbert end. Not necessarily gory. But scary. I could also throw in the word ‘gothic’ in there, at a pinch.
4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Apart from The Shining and The Omen, most of my favourite horror films have unknown actors in them. Let’s remember that Alien had the then unknown Sigourney Weaver as the lead actress – it was one of the reasons it worked. My favourite modern horror film of recent times is the original ‘Let The Right One In’, again featuring a cast of unknowns, in the UK at least. So I’d go with great undiscovered talent every time. Although if people like Jack Nicholson (The Shining) and Gregory Peck (The Omen) agree to be in the film of the book, it’s not like you’re going to complain, is it?
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Classical pianist possessed by spirit of deceased composer – alarming consequences.
6. Will your book be self-published or be represented by an agency?
Currently I’m thinking self-published. However, that may change once I hire an editor and get feedback. I’m happy either way. I’m well-versed in self-publishing so it doesn’t bother me.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I’m still writing it. I’ll let you know. I’m aiming to have the first draft by the end of March. You can quote me on that, especially when it’s April.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Not in my genre, but out of it – The Piano Teacher. However, you’d need to throw the film Black Swan at it and sprinkle it with gothic hundreds and thousands.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
As a pianist turned composer I’ve spent an awful lot of time with some brilliant performers, and I’m used to the hours of practicing, lessons and commitment that it takes to be any good. This book is a way of exploring some of the more negative aspects of being a classical musician – the hardship, the rejection, the confusion, loss of identity, love-hate relationships with teachers, parents – I could go on. It sounds nice in the concert hall, but once you get to a certain level it can all become pretty weird – and for many people it started being weird around the age of 5, similar to gymnasts who swear they love gymnastics but if truth be told have never known anything different.
10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
If you read my book you may never look at a piano the same way again, let alone touch it.
For the next round of The Next Big Thing I’m tagging my good friend Sally Morgan who has just finished work on her first novel The Psychic Detective Agency, and my other good friend Jon Saint Germain, author of Blood Debt. (I’ll be adding some more names to this list very soon!)