Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Erica Kudisch for stopping by today.
Title: The Backup
Author: Erica Kudisch
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer
Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
I’m supposed to be better than this. I’m supposed to have a tenure-track job teaching music history to undergrads, writing papers about Bach, and proving to kids like me that you can work your way out of Harlem. I’m not supposed to be following a rock star around the country, fetching his mail, making sure his groupies are of age.
I’m definitely not supposed to be sleeping with said rock star, who claims to be the Greek God Dionysus. At first I thought it was a load of crap. Nik’s fans might think his music captures their hearts—and souls—but I knew better. Until one of Nik’s orgiastic concerts gets out of hand and I don’t know which is worse: that he might be a god after all, or that he has a body count.
Nik doesn’t care what I want or what I should be. He wants to tear down the world I’ve built, warping all I am, until his music is all that’s left of me. I can’t let him do that. I shouldn’t believe in him. I’ve seen what happens to the people who believe in him.
But I can’t get his song out of my head.
Hi all! Erica Kudisch here, promoting my debut novel THE BACKUP, queer urban fantasy with a side of myth and music. Thanks so much for keeping up with the blog tour! Be sure to swing by the other stops for awesome multimedia content and a $50 prize package giveaway!
Putting Music into Words
Something gusts over my ear; Nik is standing far too close. “If you can’t put words to it, create something. That is, if there is music in what you do.”
I turn. From his tone I expect Nik to be smirking, but there’s nothing like that on his face. Challenge, yes, but almost earnest. Almost.
I say nothing. And that’s when the smirk flares up, climbs Nik’s face like light when the blinds have been cranked. “Come on.” He claps a hand on my upper arm and steers me away from the window. I wouldn’t have let him, but it looks like I don’t get a say in that. “You’re a musicologist. Logize about music at me.”
“Why wouldn’t I know what that means?” He pulls, and I stagger after him, down the hall toward the studio. “It’s words. Music, words. You explain music in words. That’s what you say your job is. But I don’t see you doing that at all, so I guess you’re the charlatan here, not me.”
Some people say that “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” (Even musicologists aren’t sure who said that first. It wasn’t Elvis Costello.) Anyone who’s attempted to make music part of a literary work has faced an accordingly absurd uphill battle. Music is sound moving forward in time, experiential, inherently communicative without being describable, because if there were words it would somehow cheapen the experience. When words and music come together, the music becomes the text and the words become the subtext, because music appeals to a more primal center in us than language. Music may not be precise or descriptive but it’s visceral, and capturing that effect using a non-musical set of tools is, in short, fucking difficult.
I try. I have a lot of experience as a lyricist and performer, and there’s (haha) a rhyme and reason to how lyrics work. And it’s a few short leaps from lyrics to poetry to prose, so I use some of the same techniques. They may not completely capture the experience of listening to music, but I like to think I get some fragments of tone and rhythm across.
A warning: this is going to get technical. But for some of you, that warning may be an enticement.
First, I pay slavish attention to rhythm when I write. All those iambs and dactyls that lurk in the back of my prose come to the forefront when I write a passage with music in it. If that means a seemingly unnecessary dialog tag, a strange sentence break, or a comma splice, I’ll take the hit to preserve the rhythm of the line. If the piece I’m trying to describe has a time signature, I try and follow it: 3/4 means dactyls or anapests, common or cut time means iambs or trochee, and so forth. If it’s a peace without meter (like some of Nik’s), the clusters can go all over the place, but for Anthony’s beloved Bach and Handel it’s a near-constant stream of sixteenth notes in prose, which means regular stress (like that phrase I just wrote, not to mention these phrases in parenthesis, which are all anapestic). Assonance and internal rhyme speed sentences up, but a jumble of phonemes can drag a passage down and add hiccups to a phrase.
Second, there’s texture. This is harder to describe, but music has levels of density. Compare a solo flute to a forty-piece symphony. If the music would overwhelm the listener, I try to make the prose similarly overwhelming. The same goes for moments of relative silence or musical intimacy: the phrases get shorter. Simpler. More precise, as opposed to the cacophony of a stressful situation.
Of all the prose-about-music tricks I have in the bag, the one I find the hardest to use is pitch. Pitch is the quality of highness or lowness that a sound has–soprano versus baritone. Words on a page don’t have pitch: speakers do. But it’s possible to bring pitch to the forefront of a passage with word choices, especially onomatopoeia, like honk and blurt as opposed to screech and hiss. It may not be perfect, but it gets the job done.
In conclusion, I am an enormous nerd about the way things sound.
To celebrate the release of The Backup, Erica is giving away iTunes and Riptide credit totaling $50! Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 30, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway! Don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!
About the Author
Erica Kudisch lives, writes, sings, and often trips over things in New York City. When not in pursuit of about five different creative vocations, none of which pay her nearly enough, you can usually find her pontificating about dead gay video games, shopping for thigh-high socks, and making her beleaguered characters wait forty thousand words before they get in the sack.
In addition to publishing novellas and short stories as fantastika-focused alter-ego Kaye Chazan (What Aelister Found Here and The Ashkenazi Candidate, both available at Candlemark & Gleam) Erica is responsible for the BDSM musical Dogboy & Justine, and serves as creative director and co-founder of Treble Entendre Productions.
She also has issues with authority. And curses too fucking much.
Connect with Erica:
Facebook: Erica Kudisch
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
|This post may contain affiliate links.
|Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews. The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.|