|Deborah Crombie (image source)|
How I Became a Rock Guitar Groupie
For someone who hasn’t the least smidgen of musical talent (my best buddy and I were literally laughed out of our sixth grade guitar recital) I’ve written a lot about music. There was LEAVE THE GRAVE GREEN, early in the Kincaid/James series, which revolved around the English National Opera. And A FINER END, the book set in Glastonbury, in which Gregorian chant plays an integral part.
Like my character, Gemma, I began piano lessons, but while better at piano than I was at guitar, I didn’t persevere. (Which reminds me, Gemma should really get back to practicing…)
And while I held season tickets to the opera for almost twenty years, my exposure to pop music had a long case of the doldrums. Then the strangest thing happened. A character walked onto the page in a book called WHERE MEMORIES LIE. He was only meant to be a witness to a murder, but once I started writing from his viewpoint, he told me that his name was Andy, and that he was a really good guitarist playing in a lousy band, and that he had an orange cat named Bert. And I liked him. A lot. And before long I knew that he had a story to tell. That story became THE SOUND OF BROKEN GLASS, and it was about something that happened to Andy when he was thirteen years old, growing up in a part of London called Crystal Palace, learning to play guitar. The past bled into the present, and when a Gemma and Duncan are called to solve a bizarre murder in Crystal Palace, Andy’s connection to the case has unforeseen consequences.
So if was going to write about guitar players and guitars, I knew I had better learn my stuff. I read every guitar-hero autobiography (and yeah, most of them did a lot of drugs…) I listened and watched. I rediscovered music I’d loved growing up, and discovered amazing new talent. And I got crazy about guitars. Guitars are just inherently sexy. I don’t know why, but it’s true. I learned which famous guitarists played what, and of course I acquired favorites along the way. (Guitars and guitarists…)
|Fender Stratocaster, Fiesta Red (image source)|
Every book I’ve written has given me a gift of learning and appreciating something new. But THE SOUND OF BROKEN GLASS will, I think, be the gift that keeps on giving, because there is always more music to hear, and now I listen in a different way.
And if you want a list of the ten best guitarists since the electric guitar was invented, just ask me.