Folks, I want to tell you a story about why I loved writing my new LGBT-friendly contemporary fantasy romance novel CHANGING FACES. Because I am both a musician and a writer, when an unusual story about two clarinetists in love showed up in my head, I wrote it down…and only later did I think about how music helps nearly everyone cope with life, especially when it’s challenging and/or frustrating.
But maybe I’d best start at the beginning.
Here’s the blurb:
Allen and Elaine are graduate students in Nebraska, and love each other very much. Their life should be idyllic, but Elaine’s past includes rape, neglect, and abuse from those who should’ve loved her—but didn’t, because from childhood, Elaine identified as transgender.
When Elaine tells Allen right before Christmas, he doesn’t know what to do. He loves Elaine, loves her soul, has heard about transgender people before, but didn’t think Elaine was one of them—she looks and acts like anyone else. Now, she wants to become a man and is going to leave.
He prays for divine intervention, and says he’ll do anything, just please don’t separate him from Elaine…and gets it.
Now, he’s in Elaine’s body. And she’s in his. They’ll get a second chance at love.
Why? Because once you find your soulmate, the universe will do almost anything to keep you together—even change your faces.
“But Barb,” I can almost hear you say. “You were going to talk about music, not just their love story. This blurb has nothing at all in it about music. What’s up with that?”
Well, blurbs can only say so much or people will tune out. And the hope is that if people read the first few chapters of CHANGING FACES (available at Twilight Times Books for free; link is here: http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/ChangingFaces_ch1.html), they’ll see that both Allen and Elaine are clarinetists, love music, teach music, and that music is a common bond for them.
And that’s very important, as CHANGING FACES will not work without both elements (the love story, and the music).
Well, music is a universal language. Whether it’s classical or jazz, pop or rock, or any other form of music including the Javanese Gamelan, music speaks to people directly, without words. It can give comfort when times are bad. It can uplift you when times are good. And it can remind you of many things, all without saying a word.
I felt it was important that both Elaine and Allen had the comfort of music to back them as they struggled with the problems in their relationship. It’s not easy for people to love one another regardless of gender preference or sexuality, but it’s harder still when one of the couple is both bisexual and gender-fluid, as is Elaine. In our Western-inspired culture, we tend to look at our differences before we look for our commonalities. One way to get past this is to recognize where we are all alike, and one of the few ways most of us are able to agree on is how music affects us.
See, music is all about communication and emotion, at its heart. Whether it’s written or spoken, instrumental or vocal, if you can’t communicate something with your music, and if the audience doesn’t feel it, you may as well have left your instrument at home. And every musician worth his or her salt knows this, whether we say it or not.
Yes, if you’re in a relationship, you need to communicate verbally. Music alone won’t cut it, no matter how gifted you are with your clarinet. Elaine and Allen both know that, too, which is why they keep trying even though their situation seems almost impossible…and then, it gets even weirder, once two quirky shape-shifting angels get involved in trying to help Allen and Elaine save their relationship.
Then again, in love, can’t it get weird sometimes? Can’t you do things, when you’re in love, that seem utterly inexplicable? Don’t you take things to heart when your partner says them that you’d shrug off from nearly anyone else? And doesn’t it seem there are things even the one who loves you best will never understand, so why try to explain them?
I think we’ve all been there.
So, maybe it seems utterly fantastic that Allen would pray, in a desperate moment, that Elaine not leave, and say that he’d do literally anything at all to stay with her, considering what happens next with the angels. But just saying he’ll do anything, meaning he’ll do anything, is not that strange…many of us meet at least one person in our lives who inspires such a grand passion that we must be with them, or else.
Anyway, music and love both inspire grand passions. And when you have two strong-willed, passionate people like Allen and Elaine who are both musicians and are in love with one another, it’s obvious that they are going to use their music as well as their words to forge a deeper, richer, and more enduring relationship.
(Yes, angels or no. Though these angels are music lovers…why not?)
I loved working on CHANGING FACES. It combines both of my big-time loves, music and writing, in a unique and compelling way. And I sincerely hope that you, too, will appreciate its quirkiness, its heart, the fabulous love story of Allen and Elaine, and most of all, its music…because that’s why I wrote it.
CHANGING FACES is on sale for a limited time for just ninety-nine cents (USD) and ninety-nine pence (UK). I do hope you’ll check it out. And when you do, please come back and let me know what you think! (I love to hear from readers.)
Amazon (US): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N3CQKWJ
Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/Barb-Caffrey/e/B00H8EROC8/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1
Barb Caffrey’s Elfyverse: https://elfyverse.wordpress.com