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It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a great deal of research to write books. I've had experience with both. I write romance and women fiction books for St. Martin's Press. I can't recall one book that I haven't had to do research for. Research was never more important or more fun than in my current book, It Had To Be You, book number four in the Grayson Friends series.
The Grayson Friends series originated because, quite frankly, there were a lot of friends and family members in the previous Graysons of New Mexico series that I felt needed their own story. In t Had To Be You, Zachary "Rolling Deep" Wilder Albright is a hot LA music producer. The one woman he wants and the one woman he can't have is Laurel Raineau, a solo classical violinist. She's not about to let him produce her next album or so she thinks. And, although I love music and listen to it while I write, I knew absolutely nothing about the production of an album or the drive and talent it takes to rise to the top of the field as a solo classical violinist.
The research began with Zachary's moniker. I wanted something hip, but something that also had meaning. I turned to the Urban dictionary and found Rolling Deep, which in essence means no one is needed to watch your back. Researching making an album took me to a production studio in downtown Dallas where I met a talented singer/producer. Who knew that instruments weren't always recorded at the same time or that mastering and mixing of a single cut on an album could take a whole day? I didn't have a clue. Luckily, I knew a violinist who plays for the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. She is beautiful and elegant, with a certain air about her that sets her apart, just like Laurel.
As Zach "R.D." and Laurel's characters develop in t Had To Be You, we get to know them as people; we learn their wants, desires, fears. We learn why they chose their professions, what drove them to succeed, and just as important, whether they are happy with their accomplishments. Zach loves any kind of music and plays several instruments. Laurel only enjoys the classics. Music drew them together, but their different taste in music is also a stumbling block in their relationship.
I have to admit that, like Laurel, I have some preconceived notions on music. I haven't developed an ear for Rap or Hip-Hop, but I've worn out CD's by Tina Turner and Shania Twain. Since Zach plays the guitar for Laurel, I reacquainted myself with my brother's favorite artist, Jimi Hendrix, and the different types of guitars and their sounds. I also listened to Bach, Etta James' moving At Last, which was so appropriate for Laurel and Zach.
Whether you're the head-bopping, toe-tapping, finger-snapping, or body-swaying type, music can take you to the height of happiness or the depths of depression. Music, like romance novels and love, knows no boundaries. And, although it might evolve, it will thankfully always be with us.
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