My most recent story, Gloria's Song, has a lot to do with music--a subject that is near and dear to my heart. I grew up playing the piano and also the flute.
Thanks to my parents, I grew up on musicals. I'm talking about the "love at first sight, happy (sometimes sappy) ending, burst into song at the drop of a hat" kind. (Oh, how my sons roll their eyes at that!) Most of the musicals were set in the past, so I am thinking this probably also fueled my interest in history to a degree.
Between Rogers and Hammerstein and Lerner and Walt Disney I was happy as a bee in field of Texas bluebonnets. The music, the lyrics, the dancing, and the touch of humor in just the right places, swept me away to a magical realm and kept me enthralled. It didn't hurt that the heroes were easy on the eyes and the heroines beautiful. And they always fell in love and lived happily every.
Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, The Music Man, South Pacific, Camelot and a host of others--the music was so ingrained in me that I couldn't believe it when I'd meet someone who had never seen a musical. It was incomprehensible to me. (Don't ask me how I ever ended up marrying a "sports jock!" At least my husband tolerates my singing around the house!)
The musicals set in the 1800s reflect the time and place of the stories that I write.
SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS takes place in the Oregon wilderness and is about a manly man who is a bit of a rascal and the feisty woman (half his size) who tames him. I was captivated by the gorgeous scenery and then later learned much of it had been filmed onstage and the backgrounds were painted pictures. It won an award for it as a matter of fact.
THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN takes place in Leadville, Colorado territory and is based loosely on the life of Molly Brown. It was set at the time of the silver discovery in the Rocky Mountains. I've read several books that use this time period and setting as a backdrop for the characters--both contemporary and historical.
PAINT YOUR WAGON -- Now, I admit that it was a shock to see Clint Eastwood singing, but I did enjoy the show and the music. They Call the Wind Maria is a favorite from this musical. It's a bit wilder and sassier than the others.
With all of this ingrained in me from an early age, it is no wonder that I grew up believing in happy endings and the kind of love that lasts a lifetime. Perhaps I'm looking through rose-colored lenses, but it is a lovely view from here.
Are there any musical lovers out there? And if so, which is your favorite? I would love to discover a new one!
Kathryn's latest book is titled Gloria's Song from the Grandma's Wedding Quilt Series. It is all about music.