Sunday, November 19, 2017

Of "Characters," Composition, and Fierce Creativity

Lately, I've been bemoaning the loss of pre-political social media, when my feed was full of creativity and art rather than outrage. However, something happened recently that made me realize the creative community hasn't vanished.

Stan Stewart (), one of the creatives I connected with on Twitter, is a gifted improv musician.

A few years ago, I tried something new with my writing and created a blog in which I serialized a young adult novel, releasing it in pieces online throughout a school year. I didn't know if anyone would end up reading it.

Well, Stan did, and he liked it. He'd weigh in in the Comments sections from time to time and tell me how much he was enjoying the read. He even recommended the book blog to others.

He wasn't my target audience. I didn't care.

I eventually took the book offline and revised it. An editor for a new publisher read it, liked it, and offered to publish it. I contacted Stan shortly after signing the contract to ask if he'd be willing to do some improv pieces as a cross-promotional thing.

He agreed, then promptly *composed an entire freaking album* as a companion piece to my book. I was thrilled!

The pub date loomed. We planned promos. Then--


The publisher went through growing pains. My acquiring editor left. My book endured four editors, with each edit growing further removed from my original story.

Eventually, the publisher and I parted ways. It was 2015. We didn't yet know that Robert was terminally ill, but we knew he was having serious health issues. So I took care of him and shelved the YA project, which was in pieces.

I felt awful, because Stan got left in the lurch. Time passed. So did my husband. Then, earlier this year, Stan said he'd like to release the album.

In the meantime, I had signed with Agent Awesome. I toyed with self-publishing the YA novel to coincide with the album, but AA seems to think the book may have a future in traditional publishing. So we waits.

In the interim, "Characters," Stan's beautiful, haunting album inspired by my book, is now available. Thirteen gorgeous tracks, each providing the score for a particular character or scene in "Dear Alderone."

Thanks to Stan, I am reminded anew how much I love the vibrant, creative people I meet online. Their generosity, their talent, and their fierce creativity never cease to inspire me.

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