- Michael J. Vaughn At the time, I was entering my tenth year as an opera critic and finally beginning to GET it. And getting passionate about it. Then I did an interview with a budding opera singer, Jennifer der Terossian, who possessed a gorgeous voice and a great opera-brain to go along with it. I've always told fiction writers to write about your passions, so I decided to pursue an opera novel. I took Jennifer out to dinner, parked a tape recorder next to her enchiladas, and asked her every question I could about opera and the perspective of the singer. She was invaluable as far as far as getting the character of Gabriella right, and the opening scene - in which young Gabriella torments her neighbors by screaming for hours on end - is absolutely Jennifer's story. And yes, one night the cops actually showed up.
- Michael J. Vaughn Ha! I once told a new neighbor to let me know if the sopranos (from my turntable) got too loud, and of course she thought I was a fan of the HBO series. It is a rather penetrating sound.
- Michael J. Vaughn It's alarming that I wrote Bill when I was much younger than him, and now we're the exact age. It's almost as if I were writing my future self. Although I am much less weighed down by tragedy than he is, at the time I wrote GV I was channeling the great grief of losing my mother to cancer, a grief that fuels a lot of the feeling, if not the particulars, of the story.
- Kirsten C. Kunkle When my mother died (seven years ago), you sent me a copy of "Frosted Glass." I always appreciated that very much. The books have a similar feel. Do you think of yourself as having a style or consistently evolving? If so, could you explain the differences or how you view your work over time?
- Michael J. Vaughn The most constant is the power of creativity. It's a subject I never tire of. My novel-in-progress features a collage artist.The style changes all the time, but certain things are consistent. I cherish everyday English, ruthlessly carved until it's dense with meaning, and I refuse to write characters who would bore me at a cocktail party. Also, even the most tragic of novels should contain generous helpings of humor.
- Michael J. Vaughn It's funny how Operaville turned into a semi-sequel - at least in the sense that Gabriella and Bill, ten years later, showed up as supporting players. That was quite fun, actually, and I have taken up the practice in other novels, as well. I think the decision to write another opera novel depends on whether I have a central story that fits. Gabriella's story was, essentially, a middle-aged man taking renewal from a younger woman's singing. Operaville was a bit like "Notting Hill," an unlikely affair between an opera fan and an enormously famous soprano, with all the highs and pitfalls that celebrity brings about. On the other hand, I always say, "write what you're passionate about," because novels are huge projects, and you'd better feel intensely about your subject matter if you're going to find the stamina to bring it to the final page. So I'd be surprised if opera didn't show up again.
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Gabriella's Voice: An Interview
kirstenckunkle.com. You can see a continuation of this discussion on the GV fan page, and find out more about Gabriella's Voice at Amazon.