Monks and Music

img002My new book ‘The Bardic Monk’ will hopefully see the light of day soon. It is to be published by Llanerch Press any day. Whilst I was writing it I had music playing. This is a habit of mine which goes back to school days when I used to do my homework in the dining room of our busy family house (four brothers all playing different instruments), where my eldest brother was doing piano practise. He played beautifully, and I loved hearing him play Liszt, Beethoven, Chopin and othermajor composers for piano. Sometimes just for fun he would play a bit of what he called ‘boogie’, which was of course jazz. I adored my brother and his playing, and the enjoyment of  the sound of music while working, which I have carried with me throughout my life I owe to him.  I have however noticed in recent years that I do tend to get fixated on a certain sound that goes with what I am writing and a lack of variety until the work is finished. It is as though the music immediately reminds me of the fictional place I am entering. For instance the Bardic Monk has been written exclusively to Karine Polwart and Bryn Terfel.  A Court in Splendour was written to Coldplay and Jose Gonzalez; The Dreamstealers trilogy was wider ranging but still within limits – and the Rules of Heaven, the first of the Grace de Savira mysteries was written to Travis and Satie. I find that when I am writing to the local council or other authority figures I put on either Barber or Monteverdi (do I need soothing or something?) Whereas when I am communicating with my far away family and friends I look for John Martin and Penguin Cafe…old, much-loved favourites. The curious link between hearing, thinking, imagining, and creating is a wonderful and joyous thing. So, the next book is another Grace book, From High Places, a wicked tale of murder and mayhem among town councillors, and so far it has been Michael Hedges and his sublime guitar, every day. Whatever next I ask myself.

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