Author of The Boy Who Loved Bach
1) What gave you the idea for your young adult novel, The Boy Who Loved Bach?
2) You’ve written countless books, both adult and young adult. Which book do you think was your favorite to write, and why?
3) I’ve read that you used to be a lawyer, and now you write books. How is this different from your previous job?
They both involve writing, of course, but legal writing tends to be more formalistic than writing novels. A legal brief has a definite structure to which the lawyer must adhere, while a novel really has no rules other to be lively and entertaining. But I must say that lately, with the increasing economic pressures in the publishing business, many novels seem to be written from the mindset of a poll or focus group on what is popular right at the moment. I think that this drive toward conformity and commercialism and always searching for the next best seller is paradoxically one of the reasons the publishing business, at least for the traditional brick and mortal legacy publishers, is having such a hard time. Many readers really do want something original and thought- provoking, and the old line publishers, in my opinion, really aren't giving it to them. I think it's great, therefore, that there are now so many "indie" writers striking out on their own, and so many small publishers popping up too on the Internet. These e publishers won't all survive, but many of them will not only make it but also thrive because of their lower overhead costs and their insight into what works in digital media.
4) Did you use any of your own experiences of playing your Bluegrass fiddle in The Boy Who Loved Bach?
I wish I could say that I played Bluegrass well enough to have incorporated it's charming rhythms and riffs into the story. I do play classical music reasonably well and I love Bach, all of which provided me with some insight into the comforting quality music can have in the hectic life of an earnest young fellow like Edward P. Studt. It's not only the music by the way, but also the combination of physicality and mental concentration that it takes to play any musical instrument, in this case the violin. The sensation of your fingers tapping rhythmically off the strings while you breath in the rustic smell of the wood and listen to the close-up and urgent quality of the sound all contribute to an overall spiritual and psychological experience than can be both soothing and invigorating as well. I doubt if I could have communicated this through Ed if I had not played the violin.
5) Throughout The Boy Who Loved Bach, Edward felt very much like a teen. Did this come easily to you, or did you have to do anything special to write from the viewpoint of a teen?
As I mentioned above, it does seem to come easily to me. Apart from my apparent inability to grow up, which again has been pointed out to me on far too numerous occasions, I think it has something to do with the fact that I still live in the same house in which I grew up. Therefore, the sights and sounds and feelings and passions of my youth are perhaps more readily available and accessible to me than they might be if my living environment were different and thus cut off in some sense from my childhood experiences. For example, there is a row of hedges outside my bedroom window that has been there as long as I can remember, and when I look at it and really think hard I can see myself using the hedges as a center field fence when as a kid I played wiffle ball by myself out in the yard to while away a hot, lazy summer afternoon. Could I do that if I lived in a spanking new housing development in a different part of the country? Perhaps some people could, but I doubt that I would be able to generate the proper frame of mind to call up the memories as vividly as I would need in order to describe them properly to my readers. What do you think?
6) You sometimes write short stories every now and then. I’ve recently read one of your short stories called, "A Sweeter Rhythm.” How is it different writing short stories from novels?