Last night, reading at the Toronto Library in front of some 400 people, I sang a little.
It was uncalled-for. I'm tone-deaf. I was reading a section of my book in which Daniel's friend Hill, a musical type, sings a few lines twice. I'm not one for rehearsing madly, and I hadn't looked over that part too carefully before I set out. I'm also not one for singing beyond the car, occasionally, on a bright day. But standing at the podium, reading along, I saw those lines approaching. And when I hit them, I sang them. Sorry, Toronto, and thank you for your forgiveness.
So, nobody needs any more of that. But it did set me thinking about inhabiting characters. Hill sings, so why not sing for him? It actually felt quite natural to do it.
I thought about it again today, when Knopf / Random House held a reception for a few of us who have new books coming out: Jane Urquhart and Connie Gault were there (I tried to contain my foaming inner fangirl again--I got signed copies from them both!). There was *no singing*. We each spoke for a few minutes to an audience of media, bloggers, booksellers, and publishers. There was more wine, I will confess, and it was a great time. Afterwards, Connie and I agreed that it's quite a feeling to talk about your story with a roomful of people who accept it. The generosity of readers and potential readers, their interest and questions, is uplifting.
The three of us write about history and loss in these books, and we all spoke about our desire to resurrect characters and places--to blow life back into them--to make them real, and make them ours. And make them sing, if they need to.
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I'm the author of My Name is a Knife, All True Not a Lie In It, and The Old Familiar.