When I’m not writing or taking care of my family, I fill up all the nooks and crannies in my life with music. Or, if I’m honest, I sing even when I’m writing and taking care of my family. Opera is my grand passion, and it infiltrates and enhances the other areas of my life. This shows up in my plots in the fact that music always plays a role in character development or getting the couple together.
In my first novel, the contemporary romance Can’t Buy Me Love, the hero and heroine share a love of jazz and dancing. She wins him back with a song and lucha libre. I wrote the book to a soundtrack that came together as the characters became clear to me: jazz classics by Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong; Verdi’s opera La Traviata; and Madeline Peyroux’s sultry take on “Dance Me to the End of Love.” A few of the songs even show up in the novel.
Opera is not the only music genre that shows up in my writing. In a new adult contemporary romance I’m plotting, the hero plays the carillon (church bells). My work in progress, Tea and Crumples (Due out late spring 2014), is a departure from romance and women’s fiction into contemporary Christian fiction, but even there, opera and early American/ bluegrass hymns play a big part in the character development.
After Tea and Crumples, I’m writing a new series to benefit a local classical music singing group called Singer’s Circle. The first Singer’s Circle contemporary romance is called Madame Butterfly Packs Heat http://madamebutterflypacksheat.com/. It follows Joanne, a firearms instructor for the police academy and devoted opera chorus member, whose love almost doesn’t make it through rehearsal season. Like all of my climaxes, their true love is solidified through song when her true love hears her sing the “Humming Chorus” for the first time.
When I interview other writing parents on my blog, Writing Like a Mother writinglikeamother.com, I always ask if they write with a soundtrack. That’s because music has such a profound affect on my own writing. Music brought me into romance writing. I didn’t set out to write in the romance genre, but my love of opera and opera singing predisposed me to romance. Romances and operas share an intense focus, dramatic turns, and unbridled love and passion. I write contemporary romance in part because I want to bring the over-the-top love stories and grand gestures from 19th and 20th Century operas to today’s readers. Besides, helping my heroine find true love is always something to sing about!
Summer Kinard is the author of Can’t Buy Me Love (Light Messages Publishers, 2013), a contemporary romance that was chosen as a best pick in women’s fiction on the USA TODAY Happy Ever After blog and was hailed by the North Carolina Library Association as “a breath of fresh air for romance readers.” She lives and writes about Durham, North Carolina and sings opera with local companies. Find her online at her blog, Writing Like a Mother writinglikeamother.com, on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Summer.Kinard.Author, or on Twitter @somemyrrh