Lonely Stranger, by Eric Clapton. Why? When I first heard this song back in the late 90s, it explained so many things about the people in my life at the time—close friends who were amazingly creative and talented, but couldn’t get past their childhoods and addictions. Being the overly-positive, high-energy (naive and sheltered) person that I was, I could never understand WHY they seemed to love dwelling in their own misery. This song offered a sort of explanation and validation that made sense.
What about the song inspired the story?
It’s a haunting melody with lyrics that struck me as both tragic and emotionally powerful—a perfect storm for fiction.
In what other ways has music inspired you?
For a music album, there might only be one or two songs that make it to mass market (to satisfy the financial end), seven to eight songs might be filler (to satisfy an album quota), but one or two of those songs, if the artist is lucky, come straight from the heart as a driven passion to do what the artist was born to do (to satisfy the artist). Those are the songs that inspire me to think differently and follow my heart. This is one of the reasons why I think there are a lot of gems in indie books and music (if you can wade through the ones giving it a bad rap).
At what point do you feel music and story telling intersect?
I think all music is a form of storytelling, whether there are lyrics, instruments, or not. But to be honest, music and my writing don’t often intersect.
While I can use music to set a proper mood, it’s a huge distraction when it comes to actual writing. I have selective hearing (like a super-power!) for things like kids, Spongebob, and notifications pings, but, sadly, it’s quite difficult for me to tune out music. One time, I had Celtic music playing while I was researching a few Scottish mythologies, and my son’s bearded dragon was SO fascinated by the sound, I spent the next 3 hours sampling different genres to see what she liked best. To my surprise, it was NOT meditation nature tracks with running water and chirping crickets, but classic Jazz. Squirrel!
What's different about this story for you as a writer?
This particular story is more “character driven” than “plot driven,” which is a different writing style for me. However, in making this a prequel to an existing series, I loved having the opportunity to share some of the defining events that shaped my main character’s personality. It answers a lot of the ‘why can’t he just...’ comments that are difficult to explain in the midst of a plot driven series.
What was most challenging for you in writing this story?
By far, the most challenging aspect of writing this story was keeping the point-of-view and voice of a super young child, and showing growth and maturity as he ages from about 5 to 11 years old. Often, the style, point-of-view, and age of a main character can be determining factors for the proper ‘market’ of a story, but this story is certainly NOT intended for children.
Is this your first anthology contribution?
Yes! And I loved it. :-) Thinking in terms of “short story” is quite a different beast when it comes to plotting, planning, and providing depth and development without a supporting word count.
What other books have you published?
Descendant: Nothing Stays Hidden Forever (bk 1 in the SECRETS OF THE MAKAI series)
Unleashed: Deepest Fears Lie Within (bk 2 in the SECRETS OF THE MAKAI series)
Dragonfire: Freedom in Flames (bk 3 in the SECRETS OF THE MAKAI series)
Victorian Affairs: Password & Personal Information Logbook (Books in Disguise 1)
Steampunk Heros: Password & Personal Information Logbook (Books in Disguise 2)
Universal Energy: Password & Personal Information Logbook (Books in Disguise 3)
What projects do you have coming up?
Book 4 in the Secrets of the Makai series is still in the works. It’s taking longer than expected, due mostly to real life, extended research, and character cooperation issues. I do have readers inquiring, so the pressure is certainly on to get it finished as soon as possible! It is my hope that Courage: Never Look Back, in The Playlist anthology, will quench the thirst for a few more months.
Where can readers find you and your books online?
Goodreads: Toni Kerr
Facebook: Toni Kerr
Amazon: Toni Kerr Author Page