This is exactly the fate that confronts Allegra in Tale Of The Music-Thief. Allegra is an opera singer for the City-Along-The-Lake opera company. She has come to the city from the Great Steppes where her entire family and clan have been killed by a plague. Allegra only escaped the plague because her parents, recognizing her talent for music, had sent her to a music conservatory by the South Sea. When her family died Allegra moved west to distance herself from her past.
However, Allegra couldn’t distance herself from her memories and the music connected to them. So she began to suppress them, piling new music on top to weigh the old ones down, to keep them buried and safe. And to keep herself safe from the pain she connected to them.
But with then the music began to disappear. Everyone was affected by the disappearance. It wasn’t just music disappearing from music sheets and music crystals. People were actually losing the music from their heads, too. The city council has dismissed this as an illness and set the medicos to find a cure. But even with the help of talented magicnicians they are unable to solve the problem. Allegra, though, seems to have stumbled upon the true culprit, a music-thief.
As more and more of the music disappears, Allegra’s past rises up with memories she feels are too sensitive to touch. But as she pursues the music-thief she is forced to engage her past. She is compelled to recall songs from her childhood, or risk losing the music-thief’s trail.
Along the journey to stop the music-thief, Allegra makes new friends and rediscovers her past.
Rating- *** 3 stars
My thoughts: This book was a pleasant read; the plot was easy to follow. It was a quick read that had good pacing. The characters I felt had a good dimension to them, easily relatable and easy to understand their nature.
Allegra the main character has been plagued by a curse like many others that steals music because of a wrong done to Gerritt who can be seen as the villain in this work. The story line is very original sorta like a mystery as we follow Allegra through her journey of getting this curse lifted.
I wasn’t overly ecstatic about this read. But I can say Earl is a disciplined and well written Author. He writes eloquently, his style is fresh and could very well be developed into amazing.
While I did not overly love this story, I was able to follow and finish it with ease.
DWED Interviews Earl T. Roske, author of Tale of the Music-Thief
DWED: First, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a newly minted father. Brienna was born 12 December 2012. This has greatly impacted my writing in positive and negative ways. I also have the most patient and encouraging wife a person could ever have.
I’ve been writing since I was a child. I remember writing a book in 3rd grade about a baby whale looking for its mother. Sadly, the only copy, hand bound as a classroom activity, no longer exists. I’ve written off and on since then. But in 2007 I decided I really wanted to make a go at writing. If I couldn’t make a living at it I at least wanted to be known for writing. As part of that new goal, I took a playwriting class at a local college. Originally I took the class to work on my dialogue. I figured after taking the class for a year I’d move on and focus on my fiction writing; I wanted to see my name in print. But from the first three-page play I wrote, I was hooked. From that point I began writing plays as well as fiction. My short plays have been pretty successful and have been produced in festivals and productions from New York to California to Singapore to India.
I’ve written several novels and several full length plays prior to Tale of the Music-Thief. They were a mess and were better left buried in a file on my hard drive somewhere. I count those as lessons learned and believe I’ve improved with each project that has followed. Tale of the Music-Thief is the first novel length story that I feel is at the right level of quality for sharing with the world.
DWED: Have you always aspired to publish a novel?
I think in my late teens and twenties I used to fantasize about being a published novelist. However, I lacked any kind of discipline or concept of what I was doing. The idea fell by the wayside as life got in the way. But I continued to do my research, by which I mean I continued to read everything and I still wrote when I had the chance. Only in the last few years has the goal of having a novel published seemed realistic. Obtaining that goal - no matter what happens with the Tale of the Music-Thief - has been satisfying. Exhausting at times, but very satisfying. And as long as there is any kind of interest in the book, I’ll keep writing more about Allegra’s world.
DWED: Would you say the journey to publishing was easy or hard? Why?
Definitely difficult. When you have to do everything yourself, from editing to formatting to promoting, the fun of writing gets pushed aside. However, in these modern times it seems that you have to prove yourself before the big publishing houses will even give you a glance. I like it to music where bands might play in their hometown for years. Maybe they’ll play the college circuit, selling their independently produced CDs. Eventually, some of those bands attract enough attention and they get a chance to put an album out on a professional label. First, they had to prove themselves. I feel that the publishing industry, with the advent of print on demand, is sort of in that same area. Many authors will now take their work directly to the market and those that have a hit will rise to the top and may very well land a deal with a major publishing house. It’s been done.
Despite that, I like learning new things. So when I started the process with Tale of the Music-Thief I knew that I’d gain some new skills along the way. And, as things have worked out, I’ve actually edited and formatted another writer’s collection for publication and have mentored several other writers on the process. The first time was difficult and at times frustrating, but the next time(s) will be easier. None of it happens without perseverance.
Click Read more for a continuation of this Interview….
Music inspired Tale of the Music-Thief. I’d been reflecting about how personal and how universal music was. How it could bring people of different backgrounds together. How it could unite people. Music has so much power in it. And my thoughts moved to how people see music differently. There are those who collect it, those who write and perform it, and people like me who are just happy to have it as part of our life. Then I began to look at the dark side: what if all the music disappeared? The imagination train took on a full head of steam from there.
DWED: Are you a part of a book club or organization?
I belong to the East Bay Science Fiction and Fantasy writers group. I’ve an account on scribophile.com. Then I am also part of three playwright groups in the Bay Area.
Until recently I’ve always seen writing as a loner’s endeavor. Playwriting changed that for me. So now I meet with other writers of fantasy and scifi to share work and give and get feedback.
DWED: How does ‘Tale of the Music-Thief stand out? What does it offer and more importantly what can viewers find within it pages?
I think that what makes Tale of the Music-Thief stand out is the attention to music. Music, for the characters of this world, is a life blood. For some it is what sustains them, for others it’s what tortures them, and for others it is what entertains them. The people of this world listen to music like we would watch television or go to a movie. Songs are epic and can run for an hour or more. Opera is the pinnacle of musical entertainment in the book.
For the main character, Allegra, music is her sole connection to her past and what propels her into the future. That is the reason she is forced to act when the music begins to disappear.
The reader gets to experience not only what it is like for these characters to live their life through music but then also the fear when the music is slowly drained from them, leaving them without a large portion of their identity.
DWED: How was the concept of ‘Tale of the Music-Thief born?
Tale of the Music-Thief began originally as a short story - really more of a novella - where I was focusing on defining the different types of music people: collectors, aficionados, spectators, etc. But I realized that the story lacked an arc, a real reason for Allegra to take the actions that she does. Once I began to explore her past I realized that this wasn’t going to be a novella, I needed more space to allow her to grow and change. So I started over, from the beginning, with a clear view of what Allegra would be going through.
DWED: At length how would you describe the feedback for ‘Tale of the Music-Thief?
The story has only been in the hands of the early readers so far. (And you.) At least one of them stayed up until 3 am because he had to know how the story turned out. I think that if people are looking to be entertained, to take an adventure that isn’t filled with violence, blood, and sex, then they’ll be very satisfied with the outcome and their participation.
DWED: What can we look forward to seeing from you throughout 2013?
You can see my daughter turn 1 year old in December. But as far as the writing - which is affected by the presence of my daughter - I’m working on the next book after Tale of the Music-Thief. That book is titled Tale of the Missing Village and follows Ingervold and Allegra and begins to reveal more of the major story arc that should cover many books. I’m also finalizing a first draft of a science fiction novel whose title is currently in flux. And.... several short stories, several short plays, and one full-length play. ‘Cause I have all that spare time with an infant in the house.
DWED: What would you say to all aspiring authors like yourself?
I would say, write all the way to the end. Don’t worry about mistakes, don’t worry about inconsistencies. Get it down on paper. In the past I’d always had a fear of rewriting. But when I got into playwriting I learned that sometimes I had to throw out the lines I adored for the ones that work. And sometimes I had to be willing to put everything aside and write from scratch.
When I began working on Tale of the Music-Thief as a novel I rewrote everything. The novella served as a guide, a rough map, but I knew that I had to write everything fresh for it to work. (I’d originally tried to keep the first three chapters because I was in love with them, but they bogged down everything else. So I finally cut them loose and rewrote the beginning and it works much better.)
So an aspiring author of anything has to write the whole thing. Just go for it. Do the NaNoWriMo thing. Do it in May, on your own. Get it down. Then, let it rest for a while before coming back to it. It’s startling how differently I look at my work after it’s sat for months.
Lastly, my preference, have a game plan, a roadmap, an outline. Lots of authors claim to just write willy nilly - Stephen King does - and those authors often end up with half-finished manuscripts sitting in a folder on some hard drive, never to be completed because they don’t know what to do next. If you have an idea where you are heading, it’s easier to get there. In my opinion.
DWED: Is there anything we haven’t covered that you would like your readers and potential readers to know about both your work and yourself?
I like to tell stories. It’s why I write. I write for myself first and for everyone else second. If I wasn’t entertained by what I had to say, I wouldn’t try to share it with anyone else. Tale of the Music-Thief is my first published novel and in it I try to share my appreciation for music and all the ways it affects the lives of people. Music is such a power force. It can push people into war, it can push them to tears, it can make them laugh. Music can stir up memories long thought forgotten. I envy those that can compose and play instruments. I keep trying to learn and I can play a couple songs on a twenty button concertina. When I do, it feels like I’ve done something magical. It’s my hope that the energy and magic that I feel has been transferred to Tale of the Music-Thief.
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