Hi, Lou Sylvre here for my June visit to Love Bytes. This month, my regular post happens to coincide with my big news. Today is release day for Sunset at Pencarrow! Co-author Anne Barwell and I are excited about this release—our first joint venture. As my regular monthly post, this isn’t technically a stop on the blog tour—Anne was here on Love Bytes yesterday for the tour. Still, even though my subject today is “music as muse” in my writing, I am (of course) going to talk about how that topic fits the new book, and I’m going to give you the answers to the New Zealand trivia questions Anne asked yesterday, too. (So you can read them here, go back to her post and give her the answers in the comments. She’ll never know the difference.) Before I start on any of that, a heads-up: we have a giveaway going on to celebrate our partnership and release, so take a look at the Rafflecopter and enter to win! (And we have a discount code for you—see the buy links below!)
So… music as muse.
I know many authors talk about how music serves as inspiration and impetus for their writing all the time. I may be a bit of an oddball, because I rarely find a muse in music—even though I am a musician and have some academic background in music. I almost never have music playing while I write. This might be because I can’t help but “listen” to the music—as opposed to letting it form a background a step up from white noise—or possibly it’s true that I just don’t think of it.
The biggest exception for me as far as music filling the role of muse is my holiday-snow-in-Seattle novella, Falling Snow on Snow. Both of the main characters in that story are professional musicians, and music is mentioned on nearly every page. Their musical backgrounds form a foundation for their characters as well as a core for their romance. If you are familiar with my books, though, you may know that I often include occasional musical references, and they usually serve as a conduit for character—a way for me to show you aspects of the character that might not be evident on the surface or, if you will, a way for the character to express himself. For instance, Luki (in Loving Luki Vasquez) not quite getting why Etta James singing “At Last My Love Has Come Along” seems so right after he meets Sonny, or Sam (in “Expect the Unexpected”) playing Colbie Caillat’s friends-to-lovers anthem, “Realize” for best friend and long-time secret heartthrob, Josh.
In Sunset at Pencarrow, American Rusty Beaumont laments that he hasn’t had a chance to do any sight-seeing, and Kiwi Nate Dunn takes him on a bit of a sight-seeing adventure. That means some time in the car, and while working on one particular car-ride scene I thought they should have music playing. The novella is part of Dreamspinner’s World of Love collection, which means the focus needed to be on all things New Zealand, so I got to wondering what music a Kiwi—and Nate, a down-to-earth thirty-something guy in particular—might have in his car. Research! I discovered a new-to-me band, Evermore. Anne is a musician too (and music is in all of her books, one way or another), so in the natural course of things, the music took on added importance. As with the New Zealand landscape, that band’s songs (with a few others) act a bit like a Greek chorus, following our reluctant lovers as they traipse around the greater Wellington area, acting as foil or mirror for their thoughts and feelings. It’s something they don’t always welcome, but Anne and I figured a little forced introspection was good for them.
So is music a muse for me? I’m not sure. With the exception of Falling Snow on Snow, so far music has become involved in my stories after the story was conceived and in process. Yet as I weave the music in, it does light up new inspirations. So, maybe, yes. And music does help me write one other way, as well. When I need to walk away from the keyboard, whether I’m momentarily stuck, or something is percolating and needs thinking space, or just to stretch my legs, I’ll frequently pick up my guitar, or my glass piccolo, or just sing out. It always refreshes my mind and my writer’s soul.
Thanks, Love Bytes, for having me, and thank you all for reading this month. I’d love to hear your thoughts about any of this, or about the new book, so feel free to comment. I’ll leave you with those secret answers to the New Zealand trivia questions Anne posted here on Love Bytes yesterday, the blurb and the Rafflecopter link, and bid you farewell until we meet again.
- Cook Strait
- Land of the Long White Cloud
Sunset at Pencarrow by Lou Sylvre and Anne Barwell
Kiwi Nathaniel Dunn is in a fighting mood, but how does a man fight Wellington’s famous fog? In the last year, Nate’s lost his longtime lover to boredom and his ten-year job to the economy. Now he’s found a golden opportunity for employment where he can even use his artistic talent, but to get the job, he has to get to Christchurch today. Heavy fog means no flight, and the ticket agent is ignoring him to fawn over a beautiful but annoying, overly polite American man.
Rusty Beaumont can deal with a canceled flight, but the pushy Kiwi at the ticket counter is making it difficult for him to stay cool. The guy rubs him all the wrong ways despite his sexy working-man look, which Rusty notices even though he’s not looking for a man to replace the fiancé who died two years ago. Yet when they’re forced to share a table at the crowded airport café, Nate reveals the kind heart behind his grumpy façade. An earthquake, sex in the bush, and visits from Nate’s belligerent ex turn a day of sightseeing into a slippery slope that just might land them in love.