What inspired you to tell this story, about these characters, in particular?
I’ve always been a bit of an idea collector, jotting down snippets of inspiration on sticky-notes and plastering them all over my wall. One was a two-sentence thought about retelling the life of a classical musician mixed with hints of Cinderella – and it truly captivated me. As a pianist myself, I was keen to write about music! Then Beck took over the story, with his raw and flawed perspective, and A Thousand Perfect Notes slowly came to life.
Are you a musician yourself? If so, did that inform elements of the story?
Yes! Although I promise I had a much happier experience with my musical life than Beck did (I’m so sorry, Beck!) I started playing piano at twelve years old, mostly self-taught, and gradually added in violin and cello as I went through highschool. I’ve woven plenty of musicality details into A Thousand Perfect Notes, which was fun, and I also loved exploring Beck’s love-hate relationship with music – which I think a lot of musicians go through. There’s always this eternal fight to finding balance between loving what you create vs wanting potentially unattainable perfection.
People have been getting very excited about the beautiful cover. What was your reaction when you first saw it?
I had no idea what to expect for my cover and had all my fingers crossed that I’d fall in love. And I absolutely did! Plus there are several metaphors in the book about broken butterflies and bloody wings and the cover captures this exquisitely.
This is your debut novel. What’s been the most surprising thing about the publishing process for you?
Probably how many secrets I have to keep! The wait between getting exciting news (like seeing a cover or getting a translation deal) and being able to spill the secrets can be excruciating. But also so fun?! I end up talking my sister’s ear off until I can tell the world!
Can you tell us anything about your next project…?
It’s called The Boy Who Steals Houses and three quick facts about it are: (1) it’s not a sequel to A Thousand Perfect Notes, but it is set in the same world. (2) It’s about two homeless brothers who break into houses and make a lot of bad decisions. And lastly (3) it contains an awful lot of caramel brownie.
And finally, can you describe A Thousand Perfect Notes in five words?
Intense. Aching. Bittersweet. Musical. Hopeful.