A Life of Music, Music, Music…

april-taylorApril Taylor has been writing stories since she was a child. She lives, with her husband and a blind rescue golden retriever, in the heartland of Lincolnshire, the second largest county in England.

In her working life, April was an information professional working in public and prison libraries. She ended her career as the R&D Information Manager for a global pharmaceutical company. April has also worked for the police and been the choir mistress for passengers on cruise liners travelling all around the Caribbean, as far south as Cape Town and up into the Arctic Circle.

April has published an anthology of short stories and two non-fiction guides, one for students on how to write their dissertation and the other on research for fiction writers. She is also the author of The Tudor Enigma series published by Harlequin and The Georgia Pattison Mysteries.

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I come from a musical family. My grandmother, with whom I share a birthday, was amazing. As a child, I could sing to her any song we learned at school. She would take it down in tonic sol-fah (think do-re-me from Sound of Music), then sit at the piano and play it in perfect four-part harmony. Her favourite key was D- flat major – which uses all the black keys, aaagh! She died in 1984, aged 93 and still being collected from her sheltered accommodation to go and play piano for her local Over 60s club. My mother played piano, my three brothers played brass instruments and my father played percussion. I play piano (badly) and flute (even more badly).

But most of all my life has been spent singing. I started in school choirs and went on to choral societies and small singing groups. My most treasured memories are of singing in the Three Choirs Festival, a yearly festival which swings between the English cities of Worcester, Gloucester and Hereford. For one glorious week in late summer, the members of the choir mix with world renowned soloists. I remember standing in the lunch queue next to Sir Charles Groves who looked just like Father Christmas but had a very acerbic tongue if anyone annoyed him. I’ve shared the platform with luminaries like the late Elizabeth Harwood, Alfreda Hodgson and eaten lunch with the members of the Medici Quartet. As part of the Worcester Festival Choral Society, I sang in front of Prince Charles and the late Queen Mother at the Royal Albert Hall several times.

When I moved to Yorkshire, I sang as a soloist with local choral societies and joined a small, mostly acapella, group with only 8 members. We thought nothing of singing Lotti’s Crucifixus, set in 8 parts. I entered a number of music festivals and was delighted to have my voice described as quintessential silver Handelian by the judge. I imagine myself at the age of 93, like Gran, in my wheelchair, and trying for the top A’s in Messiah.

dearly-ransomed-soulMy mum introduced me to crime fiction to which I became instantly addicted. The history bug hit me when I was 14 and has never left. When I knew I wanted to write, the obvious genre for me was crime, but I couldn’t choose between historical or contemporary, so chose to write both. Harlequin published my crime fantasy series The Tudor Enigma (Court of Conspiracy, Taste of Treason & Mantle of Malice) in 2014/15.

Then I turned to my contemporary detective who, unsurprisingly, is an early-music soprano. I called on my own experiences as a semi-professional singer to add meat to the plot. The Georgia Pattison mysteries begin with an introductory novella Whistles After Dark. The first full length novel Dearly Ransomed Soul was published in July 2016 and deals with murder and music at the Three Choirs Festival in Worcester.

Georgia is a true opera diva, capable of holding her own in the world of classical music but insecure and craving affection. She tends to go headlong into situations without thinking things through using her verve and waspish wit to get her out of trouble.

All the titles in the Georgia Pattison series are musical quotes. The introductory novella, Whistles After Dark comes from Kipling’s Smugglers Song. Dearly Ransomed Soul is a direct quote from The Dream of Gerontius by Elgar, the oratorio chosen for the opening concert in the book. The second book, which will be out in spring 2017 Laid In Earth is from Dido’s Lament by Purcell. The third, currently in progress, is Say Goodbye Now from The Marriage of Figaro.

************

whistles-after-darkWatch the YouTube video for Dearly Ransomed Soul here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEDzYbq68GI

The introductory novella to the series, Whistles After Dark, is free on Smashwords and Barnes & Noble. (Amazon hasn’t caught up yet). You can find it here:

Whistles After Dark on Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/607994
Whistles After Dark on Nook – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/whistles-after-dark-a-georgia-pattison-introductory-novella-april-taylor/1123272300?ean=2940152577396

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18 thoughts on “A Life of Music, Music, Music…

  1. Very interesting author history here and the music background is something I don’t hear about that often with writers. I like the idea of the titles in the series being musical quotes. Sounds interesting.

  2. Thank you. It was a bit surprising in truth that I didn’t see earlier how obvious it was to make my detective a classical singer when I have been doing that kind of thing for the past 40 years. And the tales I could tell…….

  3. How fascinating! And what an amazing coincidence! I play the piano, too, and because I love history, decided to set my novel in eighteenth-century Austria. Haydn is my protagonist. I think music and history go quite well together. I’ll have to check out both your books on Amazon.

  4. I’ve enjoyed your Georgia Pattinson series and look forward to the next. I have little musical ability (I played the flute badly for a while, and I was a member of the church choir as a lad), but I do enjoy singing. Today, by coincidence, we were in the local town and were offered a free concert by the local Male Voice Choir. I was invited to join them and, though I haven’t sung for many years, your post has encouraged me to give it a go!

  5. This is incredibly interesting: I was raised in a very musical family, and my parents always brought me to symphonies and operas; I adore all kinds of music, too. I find the idea of your Tudor books to be charming, but your sopranic Georgia Pattinson novels really sound wonderful. Thank you for show casing April Taylor, Lelia!

    • Thank you so much. Music has always been such an ever present entity in my life, it took me years to work out that having a protagonist who was a classical singer was a no-brainer. D’oh!

      • I was raised, literally, on Puccini, Bizet, and Verde: My parents loved the Philadelphia art museum, and at the age of three, I was enrolled in a Philadelphia ballet school. I never realized at that time, that other kids were going to amusement parks or play grounds; it was just a part of my parent’s upbringing ( my dad played saxophone, too). Music is quite amazing, isn’t it?

        • Wow. A kindred spirit. My first aria, before I realised my voice was more Pergolesi than Puccini was Mimi’s aria Si mi chiamano Mimi. Music is probably the strongest force in my life and one I could not live without.

          • La Boheme was my Mother’s favorite opera, then La Traviota, and then Aida: mine was Tosca. My father adored Rigoletto, and Turandot. I saw each one many times: we had season tickets. You must have been quite talented. I actually saw many of the old timers in their prime: Richard Tucker, Rise Stephens, George Bardello, Leontyne Price, and Mario Del Monaco.

            • Allegedly I was good. I know people often came up after a concert and said they could listen all night to me singing. My first voice coach wanted me to register with Ibbs & Tillet but my then husband refused point blank to let me even consider it. I remember my voice coach being absolutely stunned into silence when I sang the Queen of the Night aria to him for his 45th birthday.

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