Susan Answers Some FAQs About THE VOICE I JUST HEARD
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE YOUR FIRST NOVEL?
I've always felt that finding a person's true vocation is the most important task in young adulthood. As Thomas Merton says, "If I never become what I am meant to be, but always remain what I am not, I shall spend eternity contradicting myself by being at once something and nothing." I set out to write a book that explored this subject against the backdrop of theater and opera. Many young people with talent are discouraged from pursuing careers in the performing arts, so I thought Nora's struggle would resonate.
I was also saddened by the death of my Vietnam pen pal, a young Marine. That loss stayed in my mind for years and when I was ready to write a book I drew upon it unconsciously for my plot. This is why I'm donating some of the proceeds to VVMF's Build the Center project--see fourth link at right.
DOES THE READER HAVE TO KNOW ABOUT THEATER OR OPERA TO ENJOY THE BOOK?
No. In fact, one of the ironies is that my protagonist Nora knows very little about singing--the technical side--as the story begins. She is so naive, she doesn't even realize she needs to take voice lessons. It takes a seasoned pro like Bart Wheeler to enlighten her.
WHY ARE YOU RELEASING THE NOVEL AS AN INDIE EBOOK?
The novel was read by various agents and was signed by a top agent several years ago. This relationship did not progress the way I hoped so I decided to find my own readers. More than 20 women of different ages have enjoyed my tale of Nora Costello--her fierce desire to sing and enduring passion for Bart. I hope the ebook delights many more. My former agent was an excellent editor through four drafts, and I do feel grateful for her many critical suggestions.
IS IT TRUE YOU COMMISSIONED AN ORIGINAL SONG FOR THE BOOK?
I commissioned "Lines Written at the Falls" from American composer, Lori Laitman. You can buy it as a download at Itunes. It sets Thomas Moore's famous poem about the Cohoes Falls, the waterfall in my book. Nora sings the song after the novel concludes to rally support for the restoration of the Falls, but I'm happy to say they often run strong these days.
WHO DESIGNED YOUR EBOOK COVER AND DID YOUR FORMATTING?
Dave Hunter of Dave Hunter Graphic Design in Chicago created a spectacular cover, so if you're an indie author in search of a cover for ebooks or print, I can't recommend Dave highly enough. Ted Risk at Dellaster Design did my formatting and gave the text a truly professional sheen. I recommend Ted with pleasure, too. Both Dave and Ted, along with being gifted in their respective fields, are lovely to work with--and very supportive.