Please say hello to Anne Barwell with
Prelude To Love
a Dreamspun Desires Title
Thanks for hosting me today as part of my blog tour for Prelude to Love, a Dreamspun Desire novel from Dreamspinner Press.
I have a Rafflecopter running as part of the tour so be sure to enter.
The seeds for Prelude to Love started life as 3K ficlet back in 2002. At the time I was teaching music like Joel in the story, and I’d just had one of those Fridays, finishing with a pupil whom I swear went backwards each week. I wrote a story which was then called Serendipity as a cathartic exercise. Years later an author group I was a part of decided we’d dust off stories, and put together an anthology, so I put forward Serendipity for it. The anthology never eventuated, and the story returned to its shelf although the story always had a special place in my heart.
So, when Dreamspinner Press started its Dreamspun series, that story was the first thing that came to mind. The part of the story I already had soon grew, although much of my original is still there, although changed to fit in with what it became.
I debated still using the original title—Serendipity—but the title was already in use so I changed it. The cat in the story, who originally had that name and came into it much later, became Nannerl because Joel couldn’t call her Wolfgang. But the happy accident which led to his and Marcus’s first kiss remained the same. Needless to say, that cat decided that because I was bringing her in earlier she’d play a part in getting her guys together too.
So how to expand a very short story into a full length novel?
I’ve always tended to write longer works rather than shorter stories, with the running joke that my muses think a drabble is a short story, and a ficlet is a novella. Writing a novel gave me the opportunity to explore Joel and Marcus’s background and history, plus bring their families into the story. I believe in the saying that it takes a village to raise a child, or in this case it takes both their families to bring together two men who are determined not to risk heartbreak a second time.
The original story ended with their first kiss, with an epilogue set ten years later to show their HEA. In Prelude to Love that kiss is just the beginning of their relationship, and I enjoyed being able to show their journey together that starts with a Chopin Prelude and blossoms into love.
Music speaks directly to the heart.
Two very different men face turning points in their lives after the collapse of long-term relationships….
Joel is a music teacher who knows it’s time to forget his ex and move on, while Marcus runs a lawn-mowing business and has come to Wellington to escape the reminders of a recent breakup. Although they’re opposites, when Joel and Marcus connect, their romance has the potential to hit all the right notes.
Too bad neither of them feels ready for new love.
With family and friends in common, dating is risky—things could get messy if it doesn’t work out. The sweet song of possibility draws them to each other, though, and they share a kiss following a Chopin prelude. But it will take some practice and perseverance to find their perfect harmony….
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Although the room was sparsely furnished, Marcus hadn’t really noticed it before. Apart from the piano and the small table and chair next to it, there was only one sofa and a bookcase full of sheet music in the corner.
Nannerl pushed past Marcus and jumped up onto the sofa, sprawling out to take up the entire seat.
“Or not,” Marcus said. “I’ll take your usual seat.”
“You can shift her, you know.” Joel glanced at Nannerl. “I swear that cat has a mind of her own.”
“She’s a cat, and your chair looks comfortable enough. Besides, I can see better from here.” Marcus pushed the chair back, stretched his legs out, and crossed them at the ankles. “What’s the music?” Not that it would mean much to him, but he still wanted to be able to put a name to it.
“It’s a Chopin prelude. I’ve always liked playing Chopin. I find it relaxing, as it’s easy to lose myself in the music, so I’m hoping that helps me not to stress out too much on the night of the concert.” Joel adjusted the distance between the stool and the piano and then began to play.
Marcus nodded. He’d heard the name Chopin before—probably from Joel.
Despite his intention to watch Joel play, Marcus found himself closing his eyes and listening to the music. It felt as though Joel projected some of himself into his performance. Nuances of emotion reached out to Marcus as the melody grew louder, in both volume and intensity, and faster. Then slower again, the melody taking center stage, with a repeating deeper note before the music finished, and Marcus realized Joel had stopped playing.
“Wow.” Marcus opened his eyes.
Joel still sat poised at the keyboard. He placed his hands on his lap, interlacing his fingers, his knuckles white. “Wow? Really? I still need to practice, and that bit with the—”
Marcus didn’t have the words to describe what he’d heard. He’d liked it. A lot. Not just for the music but the insight it gave him into Joel. He leaned over, gently brushed his fingers against Joel’s face, and when Joel turned toward him, Marcus kissed him on the lips. Softly at first, then deepening as Joel threaded his fingers through Marcus’s hair and pulled him closer.
Joel tasted of coffee and beer. He caressed Marcus’s lips with his tongue, and Marcus groaned. Why had he waited so long for this? Kissing Joel felt right, as though he’d found something he’d never known was missing.
When they finally broke the kiss, Joel leaned his forehead against Marcus’s. “Wow,” he whispered. “I should play for you more often.”
About the author:
Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing "discussion," and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.
In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.
She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as "too many." These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of "spare time" is really just a myth. She also hosts other authors, reviews for the GLBTQ Historical Site “Our Story” and Top2Bottom Reviews, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes.
Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.
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Additional tour stops:
January 2 - Happily Ever After Chapter
January 3 - Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
January 3 - Gillian St Kevern
January 4 - Love Bytes Reviews
January 5 - My Fiction Nook
January 8 - Kimi-chan Experience
January 8 - Two Men Are Better Than One
January 9 - Boy Meets Boy Reviews
January 10 - Dreamspinner Press Blog
January 11 - Anna Butler
January 12- Nic Starr
January 16 - Aisling Mancy
Promotional post. Materials provided by the author.