Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Secret meaning in details

Here’s a fun post from a writer I follow on Twitter:

SECRET MEANINGS BEHIND THINGS IN A THOUSAND PERFECT NOTES 

A Thousand Perfect Notes is her debut novel. Let me see, looks like a contemporary YA. Here’s what Amazon says about it:

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?

Ouch. Tough situation. Toxic families don’t always work for me in fiction (read: almost never). Amazon also says, “Thrilling and powerfully written, this is an explosive debut for YA readers which tackles the dark topic of domestic abuse in an ultimately hopeful tale.”

Well, if it’s YA, I sure hope its ultimately hopeful, yes. Plus that description certainly holds out the promise of ultimate hope. More than hope. From that description, I expect a certain degree of triumph, not merely hope. Anyway, this is a neat post — here, take a look:

1. There are stories behind all of their names!

Ok this one is somewhat sensible and I’m very proud of it! The whole story is actually a Beethoven x Cinderella retelling. I always wanted to do a bit of a modernised Beethoven “reimagined”…and this is it!

➸ “Beck” is short for Beethoven, aka after the famous Ludwig van Beethoven
➸ “
Keverich” (his last name) is the maiden-last-name of the real Ludwig’s mother!
➸ 
Joey’s name came from “Johann” (YES they’re pronounced differently, but this was just inspired) who was the real Ludwig van Beethoven’s father.
➸ 
August Frey is named after August Rush, the movie! So so many people thought I was inspired by This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab….um very much no. I was SO devastated when TSS came out starring AUGUST FLYNN. Like c’mon, universe, that’s rude. But I wrote ATPN in 2015 and TSS didn’t even come out till 2016.

A Beethoven – Cinderella retelling. Well, that’s unexpected. Is Beck both Beethoven and Cindarella in this one? Sounds very possible given the description. … And sure, this tidbit does make me feel more interested in the story. Every now and then I do like a contemporary YA, and after all, this author writes lots of clever, funny posts on Twitter. Sure, all right — Amazon, send me a sample. There.

Meanwhile:

4. Beck’s monologue about hating glitter is author-self-insertion at its finest.

At that point I was doing copious amounts of craft with a 3-year-old niece. And UGH I LOVE HER, but sfshgoshr her obsession with glitter destroyed my fragile sanity.

I hate glitter. It doesn’t love you. It wants to see you dead.

See, this is the kind of thing that makes me follow the author on Twitter, because she’s always saying things like “Her obsession with glitter destroyed my fragile sanity.” Or, well, no, not really, but things with that kind of tone. Mostly she tweets lists, like:

REASONS TO WEAR CLOAKS

• more majestic when you storm off after an argument

• they’re like a cosy burrito hug at all times

• can use all the folds to hide the 12 books you got after you said you’d only get one

• all the wizards are wearing them

• it has pockets

Like that. Very random and energetic, with lots of books and libraries and castles and cake, though never glitter, so far as I recall at the moment. Anyway, moving on:

7. August’s beetroot cupcakes…

…look. Beck is right. Vegetables don’t belong in cakes like that, seriously, August. Get help.

I’m meant to tell you the hidden meaning behind it but it’s only that I have been subjected to this. And writing books is nothing if not working through past traumas.

Hah! I have a recipe for chocolate cake that uses beets. You get this great magenta frosting, it says. I must try it someday. I bet everyone loves it and not a single person is traumatized by the beets, but I must admit I have never actually made this cake or tried a piece, so I *could* be wrong, who knows?

This whole post is so interesting to me because I never do this. I can’t think of a single time a detail in any of my books was “meaningful” in this sense. I’ve never had a character declare undying opposition to glitter (or whatever annoyed me last week) or beets (although I would sympathize with a monologue against beets, actually).

I bet C. G. Drews enjoyed a little Oh Yeah, Still Neat moment every time she hit these details during the no-doubt long editing and copy-editing process, and startlingly enough, knowing about them actually does make me kind of want to read the book. So great job with this post.

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