Sunday, November 4, 2012

You can reach Lenore Skomal and check out her blog and other books at her website,, or connect with her on FacebookTwitterLinked In and Goodreads. Buy BLUFF here.

Words can do exactly what music can: inspire, torture, and bend the human soul. But for me, the written word is often a product of the musical stimulation. And for all of the books I’ve written, I have listened to music while writing them.
  In fact, I listen to music when I write just about anything on my computer. Just ask my son, who always pokes fun at me since I’ve developed what he considers the blaspheme of listening to the same old songs in my computer, ad nauseam, never changing them up or adding new work. He is fairly annoyed at me, too, because he’s a talented music major in college and has made recordings with several of his bands, but I continue to listen to his old high school District Chorus performances. They are my go-to musical inspiration when I’m working on smaller projects, like now. I’m listening to him sing Tenor 1 in a piece by Greg Jasperse called “Voice Dance 1.
   Romance in F minor, Opus 11 by Dvorak is the piece I listened to continually—as in over and over and over again—while writing “Keeper of Lime Rock” (rereleased in 2010 as “Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter,” Globe Pequot). This piece is so well suited for the story of Ida Lewis, the Rhode Island lighthouse keeper who was catapulted to fame by her heroic rescues and then completely forgotten later in life, not just by her peers but by history. Dvorak writes the score with such heart. There is a striking melancholia that runs through the orchestral background movements, while the violin takes center stage. Ida seems to reach out through the notes of the delicate violin and, every time I hear it, my heart is rendered helpless.
   This piece actually picked me when I was searching for something to keep me company as I wrote the final draft of the chapters. I was recently divorced and spending the weekend at my brother’s house on Martha’s Vineyard to do a complete write-through of the book. He kept my 9-year-old son busy while I wrote and listened to this piece, having brought along the cassette tape my ex had given me when we were first married. This piece was the first on the tape.
   Bluff,” which is out now and available in paperback and e-book--click here to buy-- because of its intense themes, was inspired by two unrelated pieces by two separate composers: Howard Hanson and Samuel Barber. You might recall Barber’s Adagio for Strings from the movie, “Platoon.” This powerfully moving score really helped me plumb the depths of the protagonist: Jude, the complicated. If you listen to it, you will feel the sorrow and implicit darkness that surrounded her and left her bereft.  To counter that, Rhythmic Variations on Two ancient Hymns by Hanson is just delightful to listen to. It nicely offsets the heaviness of the overlying themes in my book. It motivates the celestial feel I wanted to achieve in snippets throughout the book and essentially at the end. In it I hear the voice of Aidan and Jude’s young baby. I feel spring and the essential cycle of life and death when I hear this piece.
    “Third Willow,” my yet-to-be released upcoming novel scheduled for a February launh, was woven together by the melodic, playful, heart-stirring and sometimes haunting themes of Elmer Bernstein who wrote the score for the movie version of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Since my novel is written as a tribute to and with the same feel as Harper Lee in her classic novel, it only felt right and appropriate to use it as my audio muse. There are eight movements to the score. In particular, Boo Who?, otherwise known as Boo Radley’s theme, reached into my heart and unraveled the words needed to capture the essence of my Peter Pan protagonist, Hap Pritchard. Every time I hear it, I can see Hap swaying in the highest branch of the third willow. I have always said, if I could write only one novel that could impact the world as that book has, I would die supremely happy, fully content and surely understood.

You can reach Lenore Skomal and check out her blog and other books at her website,, or connect with her on FacebookTwitterLinked In and Goodreads. Buy BLUFF here.

1 comment:

Debby said...

I love the way you describe the book as melodic and playful. That make me want to pick it up and it is not out yet.

debby236 at gmail dot com