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Monday 24 September 2018

✉♫ Writing to Music - Peter Murphy

Today author takes over our blog to tell us about "Writing to Music".

His latest novel, The Last Weekend of the Summer (28 August 2018, Fiction Studio Books, 224 pages), is a work Literary Fiction.

"Emotional and relatable, readers will find at least one character they recognize from their own families! Witness the dynamics, the shortfalls, the personality clashes, and the role each member plays, regardless of the generation they belong to. Then be part of the secret that is revealed, feel the torment, the turmoil, the anger and the love as one family finds growth, change and renewal through healing and reaching out to one another.

Thought provoking, sometimes humorous, sometimes agitating, this is a true slice of life being part of a family of flawed humans."
~ Goodreads 5 star review

|| Synopsis || Teaser: KCR Preview || Guest Post || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

Writing to Music

by Peter Murphy

While some writers must write in undisturbed silence, I like to write to music.

However, as I am also a musician I do have to be careful as my guitar sits on one side of my desk and sings a siren’s song when the struggle to put the right words on the page become too much. But there is balance to it all. My dog, who sits on the other side of my desk, has limited tolerance for my guitar playing and when she decides that enough is enough, insists that I put the guitar down, pay her some attention, and then get back to work.

Selecting the music to work is a bit of a trick, too. Over the years, I have developed appreciation for a wide range of music from traditional, classical, folk, jazz, blues, and those strange fusion sounds one of my sons keep sending to me. Music that is new to me can be very distracting—as I am very likely to focus on it and pick up my guitar to try to play it—so I can only write to music that I know well.

While writing my first novel, LAGAN LOVE, I constantly played the song My Lagan Love—an ancient Irish love song of haunting beauty that contains a rare reference to the Lenanshee, a mythical muse that in return for inspiration could extract the ultimate price.

And as one of the major characters, Aidan, was a wayward poet, I had to hear Luke Kelly’s haunting rendition of On Raglan Road—a sad song of lost love by one of my ;favourite poets, Patrick Kavanagh.

On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew 
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue; 
I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way, 
And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day. 

On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge 
Of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion's pledge, 
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay - 
O I loved too much and by such and such is happiness thrown away. 

I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign that's known 
To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone 
And word and tint. I did not stint for I gave her poems to say. 
With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over fields of May 

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now 
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow 
That I had wooed not as I should a creature made of clay - 
When the angel woos the clay he'd lose his wings at the dawn of day.

Patrick Kavanagh
During the writing of my second novel, BORN & BRED, it was more of a mix of the music that had been popular in Dublin in the late 1970s and early 80s. The protagonist, Danny Boyle, was moving through his late teens and was getting lost in those turbulent times that were captured by songs like:
The Clash’s London Calling, Elvis Costello’s Watching the Detectives, and U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday.

While writing WANDERING IN EXILE, and trying to evoke the complexities of the troubled love story that was Danny and Deirdre’s, I constantly played the hauntingly beautiful music of Madredeus, a group of Portuguese musicians that fused traditional sounds with their classical instruments. Two favourites being O Paraíso and O Pastor.

And though both songs are about something completely different, for me they evoked the emotions that Deirdre had to go through as she realized she was losing her husband to the shadows of his past.

Madredeus also provided the “sound track” to the writing of ALL ROADS and scenes that involved the aging Jesuit priest were mostly written to sounds like: Alfama, A Vaca De Fogo, and Guittara (Make sure you wait for the vocals.)

Not surprisingly, after finishing the three books I moved to Portugal.

My new book, THE LAST WEEKEND OF THE SUMMER, is the story of a family weekend by the lake that immediately evoked images that echoed in this rendition by Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong. Summertime.

The family, Johnny, Buddy, and C.C. had been coming to Grandma Gloria’s cottage by the lake since they were children and had those summer memories that even the tough days in life can never dim. Bryan Adam’s Summer of 69.

The matriarch of the family, Gloria, is a woman of strength and fragility who wants her family to be reconciled before it is too late. Having lived long enough she has arrived at the point where she can see what a wonderful world it could be.

Louis Armstrong’s rendition of What a Wonderful World echoed every time I sat to write her parts.

A deeply moving novel of family, secrets, and legacies.

The Last Weekend of the Summer
Available NOW!

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CMash said...

Great post!

Peter Damien Murphy said...

Thank you kindly for allowing me to "air" my thoughts on this subject.

My kindest regards,


BooksChatter said...

Loved it! thank you :-)