Posts Tagged spiritual possession

‘Brimming with ideas… a wonderful literary journey’

It’s early days yet for formal reviews, but My Memories of a Future Life Episode 1 is already getting a buzz.

 

‘Here’s a book we just love that’s brimming with ideas – a wonderful literary journey’ said Dan Holloway on Twitter. Dan went on to give me a whole post on eightcuts, his provocatively interesting lower-case blog where he champions ‘extraordinary literature

Here’s a selection of what you’ve been telling me around the ether:

I got 3/4 of the way through The Red Season last night. I’m enjoying the read, and looking forward to finishing it tonight. I’m hooked! Daniel Marvello, Nail Your Novel blog

Great read! Gene Lempp on Twitter 

Reading Roz’s book. Magnificent. There’s a reason Roz is the writing guru. Like watching Yoda whip out a light saber. Thank you for making literary fiction entertaining Kevin McGill on Twitter

Thank you also for your emails as you’re reading, your speculations and ‘well I nevers’, and a very special mention to the fellow who is documenting a strange and beguiling process of transformation…

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How I designed the cover

What did I want the cover to say? It had to embody the resonances of the story, set up a signature that was at once modern and classical, startling and beguiling, like the narrator’s deep love for her instrument.

A piano against a sky. But not just any old piano, a red one. A piano that screams blood, passion, hell even. It contains the very soul of the narrator, the thundering wonder of making glorious noise to express that you’re alive.

The sky I chose for souls in flight, The antithesis of what’s solid. Nebulous matters beyond our corporeality. A veil between us and outer space. Lying on your back on a warm day and gazing forever into your own imagination.

Or perhaps it’s just sky.

My Memories of a Future Life

Episode 1: The Red Season will be available on 30 August from the Kindle store.

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The Red Season

Part of the fun of releasing My Memories of a Future Life as a series is creating a title for each episode. And so, with one week to go, it’s time to reveal the title of episode 1:

The Red Season.

Available August 30

 

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A novel in 4 novellas

Everyone’s talking about how publishing has broken all its rules this year. We’ve had agents publishing their authors’ backlists as ebooks, or arguing about why they shouldn’t. We’ve had agents lobbying for authors to get a much higher percentage of ebook rights. We’ve had authors tearing up their contracts and going indie – and some of them have become the infamous Kindle millionaires. (Apologies, BTW, if you’ve already read this stirring speech at the purple blog… if so, skip to the last line.)

One idea I’ve heard whispered in these discussions is whether longform fiction should be serialised. Usually it’s quickly dismissed. Oh no one’s doing that.

Yes they are. I’m going to.

I’m publishing My Memories of a Future Life in four hefty parts.

The entire novel is a scale-breaking 100,000 words, so each episode is roughly 25,000 – a good novella’s worth of reading each time.

Yes, this is an experiment. It could be argued that it’s a 150-year-old experiment as it’s the same model used by another famous self-publisher – Charles Dickens.

How much will it be? The magic 99c per episode. If you’re late getting to an episode, don’t worry – once they’re up in the Kindle store, they will be up for ever. Although you might have to block your ears to the chat on Twitter about it…

Starting Tuesday August 30th, then Mondays thereafter – September 5, September 12, and the final episode on September 19th.

The title of episode 1 will be released in a few days. Stay tuned…

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The blood-red piano – music as spiritual possession

If I can hear music anywhere, my brain locks onto it, like a telescope catching a signal from a distant star. I can’t treat music as background any more than I could tune out someone talking directly to me, in fact I’d switch the comparison the other way around. Music, if it’s there, claims my whole attention.

You could divide the world of writers between those who write with music on and those who don’t. At first I thought it was intolerably distracting, then I realised that the part of my concentration it occupied actually tapped something deeper. I’m not a person who can lie on the floor and think of nothing. If I’m to relax I need my attention forcibly kidnapped. But music is like a form of possession.

Researching for my novel, I began to delve into the world of classically trained pianists. People who’ve started properly, by learning to read notes. (I can thump a piano myself, but can’t read a note.) One of the first things I realised is how classical notation is so dictatorial and domineering. Play this note for exactly a sixth of a second, and at exactly this volume, of which there are infinite, precisely defined grades. Every fraction of a second is documented. You might play a passage of sixteenths at a tempo of 120 beats per minute, which is four notes per second, every second. Pianists I spoke to told me they had to learn to speed up their eye movements in order to take in the score quickly enough.

That’s an overwhelming level of sensory input. It’s almost as if you don’t think, you do as the score tells you.

There are precise instructions for expression. Not just con brio, with vigour, but– amoroso, play it lovingly; appassionata, passionately.

It’s as if playing a piece is channelling the composer.

Of course in the real world the opportunities for making a performance individual are still there, but in the course of my research I began to see a character who didn’t read a score. She let it in and did what the composer did inside his mind and his heart. It is no less than a form of spiritual possession.

I became fascinated by a character who routinely opened her entire soul to the most emotional communications of classical composers. People who were long dead, managing to speak again through this alchemy of notation and thundering sound. And I thought, what if she couldn’t do it any more?

And then, what if I threw her together with someone who could trap the part of her that responded so completely to music?

 

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