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*Hi everyone, thank you for stopping by today! You will see a lovely Guest Post by Author: Jennifer L. Fry. My Review is posted below. The Author also has a Giveaway going on, so be sure to check below what the details are! :)
The Author's Guest Post
Musical Influences for A PART TO PLAY
by Jennifer L. Fry
Perhaps because I myself am a writer, I find the lyrics to songs the most captivating part. While I often appreciate the meaning behind the lyrics, I am just as often taken with the poetic form to the words – allowing me to love not only those songs that I personally identify with, but also those that are completely foreign to me. Writing lyrics is nothing like writing prose, in my personal experience. For my novel, A Part to Play, I had to write two different sets of lyrics that were supposedly written by a brilliant songwriter. I dreaded the task – in fact, I used placeholders from my favorite band until just before my book went to press.
Who is the major musical influence for my book? There are several, but the strongest is a band called Jimmy Eat World. They are most well known for “The Middle” and “Sweetness”, but as it usually goes, these popular hits are not their best songs by a long shot. Some people refer to JEW as emo, but the band describes their own music as melodic rock, and I think that's a fitting description. I would also say that while they have a specific sound, no one thing defines it. Album to album their sound evolves – these guys are true artists who follow whatever particular thread is in their hearts. Jim Adkins, the primary song writer and front man for Jimmy Eat World (ironically, the band is not named after him) brings a poetic beauty to his lyrics, and to the music that backs it.
One of the main characters of my novel A Part to Play, Chris, is modeled after musicians like Jim Adkins, Bono of U2, Matt Bellamy of Muse, Robert Smith of the Cure, and others; not in personality necessarily, but rather in their singing and song writing brilliance. These guys are also intense performers who lay it all out on the stage, another attribute of my fictional musician.
I choose music that resonates with me – it takes me on a journey; it explores something new. I've never been a fan of pop, primarily because of its manufactured sound that is designed to appeal to the masses. Instead, I prefer musical artists who can play a hard hitting rock song that has me jumping up and down, and just as easily produce something that makes me so wistful I want to cry, and again change to a completely different sound with influences from anywhere, without concern for whether or not it fits their “image”. Amazing musicians such as these helped to shape not only the story I told in my debut novel, but also have taught me what it means to be an artist.
Book Description: A Part To Play
When fifteen-year-old actress Lucy Carter loses her older sister in a car accident, her mother shuts down and her father can’t hold the family together. Their only choice is to ship Lucy off to the Edmond School for Performing Arts. But boarding school is no cure for Lucy’s grief. With failing grades, wooden stage performances, and curfew violations, Lucy is threatened with expulsion. For the once talented Lucy, it feels as though she has nowhere to turn.
One night, Lucy hears mysterious music drifting through the school’s old heating system. The music leads her to a troubled but passionate songwriter whose brilliance gives her the strength to perform like never before. Yet their intense relationship puts Lucy in a precarious position: if she follows her muse, will she lose herself? And if she breaks it off, can she stand on her own again?
Here's a Book Excerpt
He reached for her, pulling her close. His scent was similar to last night, still slightly metallic, but also dusty. Lucy wrapped her arms around his neck. When he let go, she felt cold, with a strange emptiness that permeated every part of her body.
"Come here, I want you to hear something I started working on earlier." He reached for his guitar and patted the stool.
Chris looked natural with a guitar across his body. He held it like it was an extension of himself. Lucy sat on the stool, admiring his slightly rounded face and dark eyes, his hair falling forward as he looked down at the strings. She could think of nothing else. That was, until he started playing, then she lost herself in the chords and melody and everything in front of her went out of focus.
The song had a medium rhythm that she tapped her foot along with. Then he started singing, his voice caressing the notes with a rich, deep tone, and she was completely gone into another world where beautiful sounds filled every sense. Chris ended with a strong flourish, the last chord ringing for a while in the otherwise silent room.
"What do you think?" he asked. Lucy blinked, trying to focus her eyes. She didn't reply right away, and Chris wavered. "Well, I mean, it still needs work, but..."
She put a hand on his arm. "I loved it." She said it firmly, leaving no room for debate or misunderstanding.
Jennifer L. Fry is a writer, artist, and teacher in Marin County, California, where she lives with her wonderful husband, two adorable dogs, and orange tabby cat. Though she has been writing since she was young, A PART TO PLAY is her first novel.
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The Author will award 2 of each 8x10 autographed print of an original illustration of one of her characters to randomly drawn commenters on the tour, and a grand prize of an 11x17 autographed set of all three main characters in the book. (US/Canada only)
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(Thank you to the Author, for providing a Review Copy)
This was a novel that was written really well; the writing style just worked and the story had a strong flow. I really, really liked that about this story. The story itself, plot and everything, was nice. I think there is a difference in Lucy, by the end of the story. She's a broken girl in the beginning, and by the end, she's a bit stronger and I liked that character development. The talented musician, Chris, seems very talented, but I think he and Lucy, fell for each other really fast. I mean, that could just happen at times, but I think if there were more scenes, to show why they fell for each other instantly, that would have helped me believe it more. I think what was realistic, was a first love gone...bad, and I don't want to give away too much, but I did like that there were scenes and situations written, that have us look at their dysfunctional-like relationship. Chris, I'm not sure I really liked him, but again, this was a good story of a first love that might not have a happy ending.
My Rating: 4/5
PG-13 Rating (Some Language; 15-16+)