A fascinating story of love, passion and music! It involves the composer, Johannes Brahms, the love of his life, Clara (Klara) Schumann, a virtuosa pianist since the age of 13 whose outstanding playing is known throughout Europe. Klara is the widow of composer, Robert Schumann, whose piano music she now champions and a mènage-à-trois consisting of opera diva Pauline Viardot-Garcìa, her husband, theatre impresario Louis Viardot, and Russian writer, bon-vivant and gambler, Ivan Turgenev.
The story centres on the (fictional) fiery love affair between Pauline and Johannes who meet in the Viardots' lavish villa in Lichtenthal, a small suburb of Baden-Baden, a fashionable watering-hole in Germany's Black Forest. Pauline and Klara have been friends since they were teenagers and Klara devotion to Johannes as a friend, as a musician has been an open secret since Klara's husband was confined to an asylum in February 1854 following an attempt to end his life by jumping into the Rhine from a bridge in Düsseldorf. It was Johannes who saved her from the certain prospect of a complete mental and physical breakdown by moving into the Schumanns' Düsseldorf home and plunging himself into the role of surrogate father to her 6 children. For this, he earns her eternal gratitude and her eternal love. Was their love ever be consummated? We can only imagine.
Now it is 1860—six years later. Johannes is on the verge of international fame and fortune as his wonderfully new, fresh musical thought begins to be heard and appreciated. Beautiful music has gushed from his pen like a magical fountain—then the fountain splutters and dies. Johannes is distraught beyond measure. Klara suggests that he rent a room near her summer cottage in Lichtenthal on the outskirts of Germany's fashionable 'watering hole', Baden-Baden which lies on the edge of the Black Forest. At first, Johannes objects to the idea but Klara insists, wheedles and begs and, by and by, Johannes agrees.
There follows a mystical time of sexual excesses, inspired music-making, glittering parties, sumptuous soirées and, in the midst of it all, Johannes creates the most spectacular, incredible chamber work he has ever written. Music of subtle colours and sinuous themes that weave around each other, creating harmonies which he cannot explain. To him, the music has been gifted directly from Heaven—from a host of angels!
And as this 'work of the angels' takes shape, Johannes and Pauline fall repeatedly into each other's arms to be sated of their passion for one another—time and time and time again.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I am used to writing my own marketing copy and book 'blurb'. I find I have more control over content then as I can 'cut out the middlemen'. I think it is a very useful skill for a writer to develop as the writer knows what his characters think and feel better than anyone else. It may be time-consuming but I think it is worth it!
Describe your desk
Cluttered. Interesting. Full of personality.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born and grew up in Coventry, so long ago that it was then in Warwickshire and 'West Midlands' was just a gleam in some faceless Whitehall bureaucrat's eye. (I wish it had stayed there!)
As I have lived in or around London for most of my life, Coventry and its foibles have had little or no influence on my writing.
When did you first start writing?
When I was four years old! My mother taught me. She was an infants' school teacher.
What's the story behind your latest book?
A joke that came to me when talking about Les Ballets Russes.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have no idea.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Very little to date.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing 'Finis' at the end of a story.
What do your fans mean to you?
Not very much.
Who are your favorite authors?
The list is too long. The same goes for composers. However, if you insist: D H Lawrence, George Orwell, Siegfried Lenz, Thomas Mann, Günter Grass…
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Dreaming, thinking, shopping, walking, breathing, defoliating (involuntarily), chatting with significant (and insignificant) others, reading the occasional book, writing music (rarely), BEING.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I don't because I haven't read one! (See my answer about not having an ebook reader.)
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. it was for an English essay. The subject we were given was 'A Strange Event' or something similar.
I wrote a story about a man who discovers an ancient Egyptian amulet in a second-hand shop. He hesitates about buying it because it is expensive and he can't really afford it. He goes home and mulls over whether to buy it or not. The next day, having finally decided to buy it, he returns to the shop only to find that the shop owner has been murdered and the amulet has disappeared!.
I came first in English that term—the only time I ever achieved that accolade!
What is your writing process?
Dreaming about plot and character first, then writing little scenes and hoping it all comes together eventually.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Janet and John stories. I identified with John—especially as he had a dog (Spot) and I did not. I would have loved to have had a dog when I was growing up!
How do you approach cover design?
I discuss it with a designer/artist.
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