As Christmas festivities approaches, it is as wonderful to sit back with my coffee, stare out at the frosty morning and reflect on the music that has shaped my life. Indeed, my love of music influenced me to write two novels about characters who could sing, thus allowing me to live my dream through them.
Pearl’s A Singer was a favourite of my late Father, and I remember him listening to it in the evenings with a glass of something soothing. Elkie’s Brook’s haunting, ethereal voice inspired the character of Pearl in my debut novel, You Can’t Go It Alone’. In my work in progress, Loving You, I have explored the genesis of Pearl’s singing ambition in more detail as this was the request from readers.
Pearl’s A Singer, Elkie Brooks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxwBjfrwpPY
Music has been a part of my life from childhood. Owing to my love of music, my parents bought me a record player when I was very young. The record player was huge and had a smoked glass top – it was my pride and joy. Having saved up my spending money, I bought ‘Super Trouper’ by Abba. I danced and danced to the single and drove everyone completely mad, but the following Christmas my parents bought me some disco lights to accompany my music. At this stage I imagined myself on stage with Abba as the fifth member of the group and designed costumes in my scrapbook. I savoured each word of music lyrics and my interest in words and storytelling started to blossom.
Super Trouper, Abba: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BshxCIjNEjY
My go to song when I want a lift or feel happy is Louis Armstrong’s ‘What A Wonderful World’. The velvety tones of Louis Armstrong’s wonderful voice always uplift me. The lyric ‘skies of blue’ and ‘bright blessed day’ capture the joy in life: this song reinforces the positivity in the simple things.
In the opening of my novel I wrote ‘As Sophie looked up to the sky, its vast blueness held endless possibilities.’ I had just been listening to this very track during a car journey to one of my favourite destinations.
Watching the YouTube version of the song makes me smile. Louis Armstrong expresses his joy in every single word – his voice is such a powerful instrument. If only, I could sing like that! Fortunately, I can explore my signing dream through my characters.
What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWzrABouyeE
When my niece visited last summer, I played the Louis Armstrong track in the car, and she said is was good, but she preferred other happy songs. As we whizzed around on the Waltzer, she heard Happy by Pharrell Williams. We downloaded the track at home and danced to it for the rest of her stay. I will always remember the remember the summer my niece came to stay when she was ten years old, and we found our happy song.
Happy Pharell Williams: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM
On our wedding day my husband wanted to surprise me with his choice of song for our dance. He chose Whitney Houston’s version of I Will Always Love You. I still chuckle at the choice as it is a song about divorce, but he pointed out that he was more concerned about the message of the chorus. We danced to the track and didn’t even hear the words. On our tenth anniversary he aimed to make up for his choice of music when he used ‘Only You’ by the Flying Pickets as the background to a PowerPoint story of our life for an anniversary – perfect. Obviously, I must select Whitney’s song for this one.
Whitney Houston, I will Always Love You: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JWTaaS7LdU
Jessie is a Yorkshire author living in Cardiff, Wales. Wales and words have a special place in her heart. She loves to entertain and challenge readers with her contemporary fiction and wants everyone to meet the characters who’ve been hassling her for years. Set in Wales, You Can’t Go It Alone is ‘a novel with a warm heart’ and is the first book in a family saga. Jessie is also the innovator of the popular Books in Handbag Blog.
Besides writing, Jessie adores walking, talking, cooking and procrastinating. Walking helps her to sort out tangles in her narratives or articles. She searches for happy endings, where possible, and needs great coffee, food and music to give her inspiration.
Jessie enjoys connecting with her readers and would be delighted to hear from you. Indeed, the readers requested the prequel to You Can’t Go It Alone and she has just finished it. The prequel is called Loving You (working title) and will be out next year
Visit Jessie’s website at http://www.JessieCahalin.com.
Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Love, music and secrets are woven together in this poignant, heart-warming narrative.
Set in a Welsh village, the story explores the contrast in attitudes and opportunities between different generations of women. As the characters confront their secrets and fears, they discover truths about themselves and their relationships.
The reader is invited to laugh and cry, with the characters, and find joy in the simple things in life. Listen to the music and enjoy the food, as you peek inside the world of the inhabitants of Delfryn.
Let Sophie show you that no one can go it alone. Who knows, you may find some friends with big hearts…
Book links and contacts:
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AN EXTRACT OF YOU CAN’T GO IT ALONE…
This is the stage at which Pearl decides to follow her dream to attend an audition and leads to a key secret in the novel. The scene set in the seventies and the tension demonstrates Jim’s love for Pearl. Jim is a victim of the seventies and his upbringing and cannot express his feelings. Would Pearl have listened if he had explained how he felt? Jim inhabits the masculine world of a car mechanic, in the seventies, and wrestles with his innate sensitivity.
On the morning of the audition, Pearl’s slight frame filled the room as she crashed around the kitchen. ‘You won’t drive me to the audition, so I am going on the bus,’ she hissed. Her eyes shone with determination.
Jim did not glance up from his newspaper. ‘Don’t be stupid,’ he mumbled. The barren winter landscape always made Pearl want to flee, he hoped Pearl would change her mind.
‘I mean it, Jim. Don’t stop me going.’
Jim muttered, ‘I love your singing, but I don’t think these people are genuine. Don’t go. Let’s send demos to other record companies.’ Jim opened his paper again and took a sip of his tea. He wanted Pearl to be happy, but he knew the audition was bad news. If he even looked at her, she would persuade him to go. He had to be strong to protect her from disappointment.
Pearl snatched the newspaper from Jim. ‘Jim, I’m trapped. And I need to sing. I need music. Please come with me to the audition. I can’t ignore an opportunity.’ Her voice faded.
Jim stood up to collect his sandwiches from the kitchen counter and refused to make eye contact with Pearl. ‘Why can’t you be content? We’ve got a good life, the two of us. You can sing anytime you want.’ He glanced at Pearl and swallowed a mouthful of the bacon sandwich which stuck in his throat. After a cough he declared, ‘I’ll ask Maria if you can sing in the café again. Let’s search out proper record companies,’ he soothed. As Jim took his old leather working jacket from the back of the chair, engine oil filled the room.
Pearl removed her pink overall. Beneath the overall she wore a smart black dress, Pearl sighed. ‘You don’t get it. Just go to work.’ She turned her back as she placed the dirty dishes in the sink.
Jim wanted to kiss his wife, instead he opened the front door releasing a chill into the kitchen. The cold wind pushed through the house and rattled the doors. Heading down the path, Jim made his way to his workshop in the village. He wanted Pearl to run after him, to persuade him to take her to Cardiff. He ached to tell her how he loved her, but the words never came. Pearl needed to escape through her singing. Maybe, they should pack up and move to the sunshine, in Spain.
Later that day, Jim and his apprentice, Bill, were outside having a tea break, when Pearl walked past the workshop to the bus stop. Dressed in a tailored, red coat, Pearl strolled past.
‘Your Pearl’s a sight for sore eyes, Jim. Is she off shopping in Cardiff?’
‘Yeah, something like that,’ said Bill
Jim lit his cigarette.
As he gestured to Pearl in the distance, Bill said, ‘You should’ve gone with her – I could’ve looked after the garage. She looks disappointed.’
A cloud of cigarette smoke surrounded Jim as he shook his head. ‘No, I’ll pick her up tonight. We can’t let the car dealers down or we’ll lose the contract.’ Jim thought he would choke on his words, and he had to stop himself from running to Pearl.