Musing about Music

So my novel, Sold My Soul to Rock and Roll, is about a teenage musician with a musician dad.  The other day I was thinking about the fact that although I’m not a musician, music has always been an integral part of who I am, and it was when this love for music came through in a character, that I wrote a book that really sings (no pun intended).

The only singing I do is through my The Voice app on my phone, belting out karaoke in my living room where no one can hear me, but I grew up with music.  My dad played guitar.  He had a record.  He wasn’t famous; my grandmother would have liked for him to be, and when he was a kid in Brooklyn, he took dance lessons and singing lessons and acted and auditioned.  I have a framed 8 x 10 on my living room end table of one of his headshots from when he was a teenager, holding his guitar.  I remember when I was little and my dad would play guitar and sing doo-wop songs for me and my little brother, recording his performance on a reel-to-reel tape recorder.  It’s a good memory.

Dad tried to teach me to play guitar.  I’m left-handed, and it was hard for him to teach me.  I learned to play “With a Little Help From My Friends” from his Beatles songbook.  I tried to be a musician in middle school – I joined the orchestra in sixth grade, wanting desperately to play the violin.  But everyone wanted to play the violin, and as I was a tall girl with a long wingspan, the orchestra teacher suggested viola.  So I played viola for two years, going from Beginning Orchestra in sixth grade to Advanced Orchestra in seventh (skipping Intermediate altogether).  The problem was, I couldn’t tune my own instrument.  It was then I realized I would likely never be a musician in my own right.

But the music was always a part of me.  I loved listening to it (still do) in most of its forms.  I love the 50s doo-wop my parents exposed me to.  I adore Elvis Presley and took a pilgrimage to Graceland in 2014.  Some of my favorite bands ever are Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, KISS, Whitesnake, and any number of 80s glam bands.  But I also like some country and newer rock as well.  I have favorite Broadway show tunes (Chess, Wicked, and Sweet Charity among them), and even listen to some Disney musicals (Camp Rock’s soundtrack is on my iPod).

I think that’s why, when I finally created a character with music in her soul, this book is the one that resonated with the agent who now represents it.  The authenticity shines through the pages – I love music, and so does my character, Destiny LaRoux.  I used some of my musician friends to model her father and his bandmates, so they read genuine as well.

I’m looking forward to the day when an editor snaps this book up and gets it out for the world to read.  Though I’ve written other books and will likely write more, this one is special.  And it’s the music that makes it that way.

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