You all know I can’t resist a book with piano keys on the cover! If you love jazz, cultural history, and literary fiction, be sure to check out Richard J. Alley’s novel Five Night Stand. I’m hosting a giveaway below (US/Canada only) but first, Alley shares a bit about how this story came about.
How did you come to write this story? Was it a momentary inspiration, a building arsenal of fascinating facts, characters that wouldn’t leave you be?
I wrote a short story years ago that was the basis of the novel to come. I put that story away and pulled it out much later, and was still intrigued by the characters and their relationship. It was almost like having an outline to work with, which is something I don’t normally do.
At the time, there were only two characters — Oliver and Agnes. I’d read an interview with jazz pianist Diana Krall where she talked about going to Oscar Peterson’s house for a visit; they’re both Canadian. He asked her to play. She was accomplished and known worldwide, yet she said she was nervous, he being one of her idols, and that stayed with me. The differences between them struck me as well — man and woman, black and white, young and old. Yet the music was a common denominator, it made them equal, if not in ability then at least in passion. What must have been going through her mind as she took to the bench and put her fingers on the keys? That’s what I wanted to explore.
Now, Agnes is not Diana Krall, and Oliver is not Oscar Peterson (though the “O.P.” is an intentional homage), but the idea of their relationship — and I don’t know any more about that relationship other than what I read in the interview — was certainly a source.
I love jazz, but I understand nothing about the technicality of it. When you start reading about jazz and studying it, for the lay person like me, the musically challenged, it’s akin to higher math. But what I love about it, other than the tunes themselves, are the stories surrounding it, the players and the scene, the anecdotes.
One lucky reader (US/Canada only) will win a copy of Five Night Stand thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours. This giveaway will run for…five nights. 😉