Next to the written word, music is one of my very favorite things in the whole wide world! I do not make music myself—except for singing in an altogether forgettable or even regrettable way, but I am a constant and avid listener. Folk, rock, country, classic, ethnic, new age---if you came to my home you might hear almost anything coming out of my several music machines! And no, I am not into MP3 and downloads and stuff—way too old fashioned for that. I still play CDs, even a few cassettes and old fashioned LPs. Some of the LPs have a warm and vital sound that I do not feel digital can duplicate. It’s a bit like a recorded versus a live performance perhaps; still, I’m gradually digitizing all the old stuff. But that’s another story.
I grew up with music since my mother had played the piano since childhood and my dad had studied voice and played several instruments, mostly horns and wind. They grew up in the Big Band Era so I heard that as a child plus opera, classical and musical comedy- Broadway type tunes. Then I started to develop my own tastes. When most of my contemporaries were “rockin’ around the clock” and shaking it with The King, I discovered country-western and listened a lot to that. I always loved guitar music of all kinds and that included everything from flamenco and classic to Les Paul and Chet Atkins, Leo Kotke, The Ventures and then the flamboyant rock guitarists of the sixties and seventies: Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jorma of the Airplane and so on. In fact I often write to such sounds, but always instrumental as lyrics tend to distract me. I save them for household chores etc.
So when I get a chance to write a story with music in the background, it is a rare treat. I jump at the chance. I did one mostly hetero Heart Songs (Amber PAX) tale for Amber Heat, Take It Easy, and then one for Amber Allure, You Were Always on My Mind.
It’s funny sometimes how a character will make an appearance in a story as a secondary or even a very minor character but somehow captures your imagination and that of some readers. In time, he or she has to have a tale of their own.
That has happened in several of my works. Brandi from Doggone Love eventually got Eres Tu-Times Two. Roy from Armed and Amorous had his turn in Saved By Sam. Then there is Jest, the drummer in Tom Holden’s band Taken By Storm who was barely a walk-on in Take It Easy but he would not leave me alone! I knew very soon that he would have to have his own story in time. When we settled on a new music themed PAX, Melodies of the Heart, it was his turn.
A Different Drummer is Jest’s tale, but it is also the story of Greene, a brand new character who just drove into the scene and settled himself down to listen to Taken By Storm, especially that crazy, wild-haired drummer! Jest’s outré appearance makes Greene very uncomfortable but he is also fiercely attracted, in spite of himself and his best intentions. This tug-of-war made for more of a character-driven story than I often write but I really enjoyed playing these two very different men against each other and watching how in the fine tradition of love conquers all, they confront and eventually overcome their issues. I hope my readers will too!
You can also bet there will be more music tales in the future. I am thinking that a couple of the other members of Taken By Storm need to have their stories told. I am also playing with an idea of a band, country and western of course, where all the members are descendents of my horse shifter clan introduced in Nellie’s Rogue Stallion and Collette’s Savage Stallion. I’m not sure where that is going to go but give me some time and I will see what emerges.
I always begin with a character that just pops up and grabs my attention. He or she then, by their personality, life style and such, calls out a perfect foil and before long they are both telling me their story, sometimes arguing about it and sometimes agreeing. Layer by layer and scene by scene, it takes shape until at some point we reach happily ever after or at least happy for now and it is time to write “the end.” So now you know a few of my secrets—how I write and maybe a hint as to why. All those voices in my head would really drown out the music if I did not let them come out and talk to me, taking down their tales so we can share them with you!
A Different Drummer by Deirdre O'Dare is now available at Amber Allure.
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