It is my pleasure to have a guest post from author Pearl R. Meaker, who answers my question...
ELF: What is one of your hobbies and how has it enriched your writing?
PRM: Like my main character, Emory Crawford, I have a lot of hobbies, and most of them are coming into play in my stories. But I would have to say, hands down, that music has had the most affect on my writing.
I’ve loved music all my life. I loved being in elementary school music programs and in choir, chorale and Madrigal groups from junior high into college. It was a large part of what attracted me to my husband when I first got to know him. Our whole time together, and that’ll be 40 years in February of 2016, we’ve enjoyed singing and writing folksong style songs together while he played guitar.
In the early 2000s, he bought an inexpensive five-string banjo. He’d always wanted to play banjo and finally made the leap. Since then, the music we’ve made together has primarily been bluegrass. In 2005 a friend gave my husband an old violin. He gave it to him, but I ended up being the fiddler. My hubby never has been able to get the right feel for the bowing. After that, I switched from singing along to playing along – though I do still sing sometimes.
Some of my early Tolkien based fanfiction stories were inspired by bluegrass and folk songs. “Moonshadow” by Cat Stevens and “If I Had It All Again To Do” written by Shawn Lane performed by Ricky Skaggs on his “Brand New Strings” CD are a couple examples. (Both are on Stories of Arda archive. Moonshadow is in with “Pearl’s Pearls – A New String” and “If I Had It . . .” is in the main table of contents)
I guess it’s just natural that a song inspired my first two original novels, The Devil’s Music and The Devil’s Hook. If you’ve been following my blog tour you may have read about it already, but I’ll cover it again here for those who haven’t.
Both stories were inspired by the song “Didn’t Leave Nobody But The Baby” from the movie “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” a wonderfully eerie song that the “sirenes” sing to lure men astray. The Devil’s Music was inspired by the lines – “You and me and the Devil makes three. Don’t need no other lovin’ baby.” And The Devil’s Hook was inspired by the line – “She’s long gone with her red shoes on. Gonna need another lovin’ baby.”
While part of the inspiration for my next book, the working title of which is The Devil’s Flood came from the floods we had in our area spring of 2015, part of it also came from the song “Flood” by Jars of Clay. Especially the lines – “My world is a flood. Slowly I’ve become one with the mud.”
And while I played instrumental bluegrass songs while writing the first two stories, I’ve been playing environmental/ambient recordings of rain, thunderstorms, babbling brooks and even one of underwater sounds.
There is even cool, eerie, music in the background of the trailer for The Devil’s Hook. I hope you’ll give it a look and a listen.
Music, whether made by people or the music of nature, I’m certain will continue to be an inportant part of my creative process and my stories.
by Pearl R. Meaker
GENRE: Romantic Suspense
Jairus Twombly's familial intuition is faltering and his new personal assistant seems to be trying to replace his wife, Amy.
On the Twombly College campus, someone is breaking into the dorm rooms of female students leaving things instead of taking things: red colored objects including a red golf ball, a red ribbon and a tiny red stuffed dog.
When a recipient of some of the red objects goes missing and is returned after being told, "You're not her", and the personal assistant turns up dead with Amy Twombly's elegant Bloodwood crochet hook in her eye, things heat up for Emory Crawford and her chemist and forensic scientist husband, Dr. Jebbin Crawford.
Emory, along with the Twombly's Nancy Drew-like daughter, Madison, once more turns to her amateur detective skills and intuition to solve the mysteries.
“Yeah. Well.” Captain Henry looked into the box. “Weird things. An un-inflated red balloon. Round shaped, not like a condom or something like that. A red golf ball. I mean, where on earth do you get red golf balls? And six more things. The roommate said she’d gotten more of this junk than anyone else, so far. Here.” He plopped the box on Jebbin’s desk with a thud and stuck a clipboard in front of his face. “It’s all yours as soon as you sign for it. Items are all listed on the form. We didn’t do a bunch of separate sheets, but they’re all bagged and numbered individually.”
Jebbin signed the sheet and handed back the clipboard.
“I ‘suppose you’re gonna let her look through it all?” Henry said, looking at me. He held his right hand up like a cop directing traffic to stop. “No. Nope. Don’t tell me. I really don’t want to know. Like you said. Your office. Your little scientific, antiseptic, sterile world where, yep, they’re all your decisions.”
He walked out, though I caught his mutter: “Whole crime fighting world is goin’ to hell in a handcart.” He gave me one last look before he closed the door.
“Can I see?” I sounded as much like an eager kindergartener as I could.
“Yes, little Emory. You can look if you’re a good girl and don’t open any of the baggies yourself and don’t touch the things inside them.”
We both got up, Sophie too, to take the box to the lab.
Jebbin paused to look around, as though he was forgetting something.
“What?” I asked.
“Where’s the handcart that you’re taking the whole of investigative procedure to hell in?”
I linked my arm through his. “I left it at home.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Pearl R. Meaker is an upper-middle-aged, short, pudgy homemaker, mother, and grandmother who in 2002 became a writer. Initially writing fanfiction she soon tried original fiction at the encouragement of her regular readers. She has been a life-long lover of mystery stories and automatically went to that genre for her first book, The Devil’s Music. She and her husband of nearly 40 years live in central Illinois. They both love bluegrass music, playing fiddle and banjo and singing. Pearl also does many crafts – when she’s not reading or writing - knitting, crochet, origami, needlepoint, and cross-stitch among them. She also enjoys birding and photography and is a former fencer.
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