|As we now know from current education theory, people learn in many distinct ways. Though as a musician my most important tools are my ears, strangely enough I’m most comfortable as a visual and tactile learner. That is why when I was a child the quickest and most comfortable method for me was to copy things by hand, whether books or music. Thus my introduction to “writing” was to copy, word for word, Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, which, in the process, I memorized verbatim at the age of seven.
That being said, none of what you read above is true. Actually, I just like to write, and as you see, fiction comes most easily, though one important turn in my writing career was the result of being a contract negotiator for the musicians of the Boston Symphony and Utah Symphony. In drafting agreements (theoretically nonfiction) with management it was paramount that every word was universally acceptable and understood. Ambiguity in wording inevitably led to disagreements, which could be both devastating to the morale of the whole organization, let alone very expensive. My father, Irving, liked to write letters to the editor of his local papers, inflaming the public’s conscience on social and political issues, and I’ve followed in his footsteps in that regard. He also liked to write witty poems, every pair of lines having to rhyme and having the same sing-song rhythm. These he read with great gusto, but I’ve never gone in that direction.
Rather, I’ve gotten into writing murder mysteries. I’ve always enjoyed reading mysteries and suspense novels. I have an older brother and older sister, and as soon as I was able to read I devoured Artie's Hardy Boy adventures and Stell's Nancy Drew collection. Mysteries take me away from the daily grind, and when well-written, are as thought-provoking as the most scholarly tome. Some of my favorite authors in this genre are John LeCarre, Walter Mosley, Lawrence Sanders, and Dick Francis.
My road to published authorship has been very circuitous and could be the subject of a novel itself. But suffice it to say the books I’ve written, about the seamier sides of the classical music world, are, though fiction, nevertheless steeped in reality, dealing with issues of ethics and integrity as well as murder and mayhem. And by writing about murder in the classical music world, as opposed to carrying it out in real life, I’ve saved myself substantial amounts of prison time. The protagonist in each of my novels is a curmudgeonly, blind violin teacher named Daniel Jacobus, and he inevitably gets drawn into life-threatening situations against his will and somehow manages to make things a lot worse before they get better.
I am indebted to Simon Lipskar at Writer's House, Josh Getzler at Hannigan Salky Getzler Agency, my editor, Michael Homler, and my publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for having the confidence in my stories.
In 2009 I was honored by Barnes and Noble, who selected Devil's Trill for their Discover Great New Writers fall catalog, in which was written: "Rich in music detail and featuring a fabulously roguish cast, Devil's Trill will delight music lovers and mystery fans alike. Danse Macabre, featuring the same roguish cast, was published in September, 2010."
Danse Macabre was selected by Library Journal as one of their top five mysteries of 2010. My most recent book, Death and Transfiguration, with a June 2012 release, has already received three starred reviews.
Read what the prestigious international journal, The Strad (April 2010) had to say about the scholarly background to "Devil's Trill" in regard to famous thefts and forgeries of great violins.
Read more about my books and read reviews of
Death and Transfiguration,
Death and the Maiden from the critics, along with interviews and commentary in the blogs. Please visit my MUSIC TO DIE FOR page, where you can hear me perform the music mentioned in my novels and read my audio notes on these works.
I am particularly excited about my novels, Devil's Trill, Danse Macabre, Death and the Maiden and now Death and Transfiguration, excursions into the dark side of the classical music world, published by St. Martin's Press.
For more details about what I have been up to, please peruse the other pages of my website. If you are interested in contacting me for potential engagements or for any other reason whatsoever, don't hesitate to drop me an email.
More recently I've begun to branch out in my writings, filling in bits of spare time by indulging myself in short stories and essays. In 2012 my short story, "Pea Soup" was a finalist in the New England Crime Bake competition, and in March, 2013,
Snagged was published on Victoria Dougherty's "Dead Cold" blog - victoriadougherty.wordpress.com. I've also become a regular contributor to Ed Reichel's arts blog, reichelreccomends.com, writing about music from a personal perspective.
I hope you'll enjoy all my writing, long or short, fiction or nonfiction!