Friday, April 4, 2008

SPECIAL GUESTS: JULIA (Shannon's best friend) and her 4-year-old TWINS

AUTHOR: While the twins watch TV and we fix breakfast, Julia, tell me how long you’ve known Shannon.

We started working at Talmidge Center for Children about the same time. I’m a child psychiatrist and Shannon was hired as a physical therapist.

AUTHOR: But Shannon’s dream was to build a music therapy program?

Our boss led her to believe that would happen.

AUTHOR: In the meantime, Shannon incorporated music into physical therapy sessions, right?

JULIA: Yes. It might be as simple as teaching mothers lullabies to calm their children as the moms gently massaged their babies’ legs and arms. Shannon also worked with other staff to do this . For instance, she worked with the speech therapist to teach children to sing. When children sing, lisps or stutters and some other speech problems disappear. It gives a child self-confidence to know they can sound like other kids.

AUTHOR: But your boss wasn’t supportive of these efforts.

JULIA: He didn’t want to spend money on the programs we already offered, let alone to start new programs.

AUTHOR: Yet Talmidge held fundraising events to generate money.

JULIA: Yes. And each time, our boss promised Shannon that part of the money would go toward music therapy.

AUTHOR: Including the fundraiser where Geoff and Shannon sang a duet?

JULIA: That’s right. The duet was unplanned, but it brought Geoff and Shannon back together again. As their relationship developed, our boss saw the opportunity to use Shannon to get money from Geoff.

AUTHOR: And that put Shannon in the difficult position of asking Geoff for money or lose the opportunity to realize her dream of setting up a music therapy program.

JULIA: That choice became even more distasteful for Shannon after she found out her father got money for her teenaged encounter with Geoff.

AUTHOR: And we’ll find out more about that when we talk to our next guests at noon. Thank you, Julia, for spending time with us.


Rise & Shine! said...

I have a question for the author: are you still awake? LOL!

Genene Valleau said...

Well, I do have the imprint of the keyboard on my forehead where I dozed off for awhile ... but I'm awake! :)

How about you? While I stretch my legs and start breakfast for me and my dogs, do you have any questions to ask our characters guests or me?

We'll be here all day with more character interviews and drawings for prizes at noon and 4:00 p.m. before our GRAND PRIZE drawing and wrap-up interview at 8:00 p.m.

Hope to hear from you!

Alice Sharpe said...

Hey Genene, I enjoyed the interview with Julia. She seems a good friend to Shannon. Does she regret her part in putting Shannon in an awkward position?

This is a unique way to go about promoting! Did you have a fun night? Try not to drool into the keyboard, you could short circuit something!

I'll try to check back in at noon!

Good luck....


ruth said...

I am delighted with your cyber-party and wonder where your inspiration is for your lovely novel and the CD music as well. Enjoyed this visit. thanks.

Genene Valleau said...

Hi, Alice! So glad you stopped by.

I wasn't dozing -- honest! I took a break to feed my doggies and myself, so no short circuits for now.

Glad you enjoyed the interview with Julia. She's a genuinely nice person and solid friend to Shannon. As I reread her interview, it could seem like she played a role in landing Shannon in a difficult position. However, her role really was sympathetic and supportive.

The two people who played a larger role in this situation are Lauren and Zach, who will be interviewed next. Though being a musician who stays up far after midnight, Zach usually doesn't roll out of bed until after noon. So we'll see if they arrive on time. :)

And just by commenting, you've earned another chance at the contest drawings!

Genene Valleau said...

Hi, Ruth!

So glad you're enjoying the cyber party!

If our guests arrive in mid-comment, please be assured your name will still go into the contest drawings, even if I have to come back and finish up the comment. :)

And I hear them now, so I'll be back soon to answer your questions...

alissa said...

An inspiring and amusing day with these unique characters. It is with great interest that I ask about Jasper. Dogs are especially tuned into everything and how sensitive a soul is Jasper.

Genene Valleau said...

Ruth, my apologies for dashing off in mid-comment.

However, your name was drawn as our latest contest winner, so I hope that makes up for the interruption.

Please e-mail me at ** so I know where to send your Bath & Beauty goodies.

Now, back to your questions. Where did I get the inspiration for SONGS OF THE HEART? Like most of my stories, this one started with a kernel of an idea and took on a life of its own. A band whose music I enjoyed when I was a teenager was appearing on the state fair circuit. This brought back many memories, including the crush I had on a rock star or two way back when.

I began paying more attention to the reaction of today's teenaged girls to celebrities and found not much had changed in that area since I was that age.

Then I started playing "what if." What if a teenage girl's fantasy of meeting her idol came true? But what if it was nothing like she imagined?

Amid the hours of research and many, many rewrites, the characters took on lives of their own. The book grew to over 600 pages at one point, so had to be trimmed by half -- a process somewhat like losing weight! But the resulting trim and lean story was much better.

As for your other question, maybe it's the result of being up most of the night, but I'm not sure what you mean by the CD music. If you have read the book already and got to the song at the end, I am soooo impressed! The words for that song were a creative gift that came into my mind. If that's not what you meant, please clarify and I'll answer after I take a walk around the block in the cool breeze to clear my thought processes. LOL!

Or perhaps you're clairvoyant and know that I discovered a wonderful composer and pianist who has given me permission to use one of his songs on my video trailer (which is almost completed!). His name is Matthijs Hollemans and his Web site is ** if you want to hear some beautiful piano music.

Thanks again for stopping by, Ruth, and congratulations on winning the Bath & Beauty basket! Please let me know where you would like to have those goodies sent.

Genene Valleau said...

Hello, Alissa! So glad you stopped by.

You are so right about dogs being incredibly sensitive and attuned to so many things that don't even register to us as humans.

As I mentioned to Ruth, I am owned by a number of doggies. In fact, I am setting up a dog rescue/sanctuary using Reiki energy healing and as many natural products and methods as possible. But I won't get sidetracked on that subject or this response will be hours long. LOL!

The role model for Jasper (and the photo on this blog) was one of my doggies -- a Border Collie who lived to be almost 17 years old. He didn't make coffee, but looking into his eyes was like looking into the soul of a very wise and irreverent being.

This encapsulates my Border Collie's personality. (Can I tell this story on a blog?) We were out for a walk around the neighborhood. At one house there was a little dog bouncing at the fence by the sidewalk, just about turning himself inside out in a frenzy of barking. My dog sauntered up to the fence, lifted his leg, and doused the little yapper. As the little dog backed away shaking his head, my Border Collie sauntered on down the sidewalk.

That was the role model in my mind when I wrote Jasper's part in SONGS OF THE HEART. :)

Genene Valleau said...

P.S. to Alissa -- your name has gone in the contest hat for today's remaining two drawings.

Thanks for stopping by!