The Music of Love by Sandine Tomas
Cover art: Bree Archer
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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Sandine Tomas here today. Welcome, Sandine and thank you for answering several of our author questions.
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Sandine Tomas
My name is Sandine Tomas and I want to say thanks for the opportunity to share a little about myself and my debut novel, The Music of Love. Stay till the end for information about how to win a free e-book!
How much of yourself goes into a character?
I’ve wondered this about authors I’ve loved—how much of themselves have they put on the page. It reminds me of a line from the Anna Nalick song, “Breathe”: “And I feel like I’m naked in front of the crowd./ ‘Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud.”
The truth is that there is a lot of myself in Julian, the lead character in The Music of Love. He’s a loveable neurotic who second guesses himself. A lot. I might do that from time to time. Except when I don’t.
Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?
In creating Julian I did worry about this. He knows he can be annoying. And that’s not just his insecurities – he really can be that way. The thing is, his heart is in the right place. In fact, that’s what attracted me to Julian – his ability to love. He’s the opposite of the repressed, brooding hero. Julian knows he’s emotional and is aware that he falls in love fast and hard. But he’s been burned before and that makes him want to hold back this time. If he can.
Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?
I love research! I was one of those geeks in college that didn’t mind the research papers. For The Music of Love I researched Washington, DC and Texas. I also researched law cases and based my made-up cases on amalgamations of existing ones. The section of the book where Julian tours with his band includes some real-life stories that have been shared with me. Let’s just say that roach – happened!
Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?
I am firmly a Happily Ever After (HEA) gal. But what I really appreciate is when a story gets to Happily for Now (HFN) and then continues to challenge the protagonists. My novel gets to the HFN fairly early and then I make the characters really earn their HEA. I need ‘earned’ endings–if obstacles aren’t overcome realistically, it leaves me unsatisfied as a reader no matter how happy the ending. I put Julian and Zachary through some trials. But I was also careful not just to throw random problems at them–I structured the novel to set up Julian’s struggle between his bread-and-butter job and his creative life right at the start. By the time it explodes I think the reader had felt it coming, and the solution required real character growth.
Have you ever had an issue in real life and worked it through by writing it out in a story?
The split between having a creative life and a day job has been very real for me. I felt Julian’s soul tearing as if it were my own. I do hope that, along with the romance (which I hope my readers love,) the theme comes through about how all-too-often we prioritize everyday life over what our soul needs, and the harm done by that. I feel very fortunate with the publishing of my first novel that I have been able to realize a dream.
I hope you enjoy this excerpt from The Music of Love …
Zachary held his gaze like he had a thousand times before. A stare that never quit. He came closer and collapsed next to Julian on the sofa, air leaving him in a whoosh. “Oh, thank God, you’re looking at me like I’m me again. Now, please talk to me. What is going on?”
A warm hand tilted his chin back up, eyes glowing grassy-sunshine. Not angry any longer but definitely wary and watching intently.
“I got too comfortable with the job,” Julian said. “The money was nice. And I like all the people. Then. You were there. I loved being with you, getting to see you, hear your laugh over the cube walls. So I can’t pinpoint when it slipped, when the tilt happened, but I’ve been drowning. Only slowly. Like sliding into quicksand. It was getting darker and blander. Zach, it was fading.”
“Your music.” Not a question. And Julian cursed himself for doubting, for not understanding that of course Zachary would say he’d support Julian in anything he wanted to try. That saying he’d support Julian going to law school didn’t mean he wanted that for Julian.
Zachary nodded and exhaled, cheeks still pale and edgy. “Where did the law school business come from? I know it’s not your idea.”
“Timothy came back to the office yesterday when everyone was gone. I’d been locked up in the file room, and he surprised me. He stood there a few moments watching me with the files all over the floor, and I guess it just took me outside of myself. I saw what I imagined he saw: an overpaid file clerk. And as he stood there all I heard was silence.”
Zachary’s eyes flickered molten gold under the side table lamp’s incandescent glow. “Why didn’t you tell me you were so unhappy?” He pushed his hair back with a frustrated swipe. “How come I didn’t know?”
That last was said with self-anger, and Julian couldn’t have Zachary blaming himself.
“I keep a lot inside. Sometimes even I don’t realize it until it kinda boils over.”
“What raised the temperature?” Zachary asked, continuing the metaphor.
“Timothy. He didn’t mean to make me tailspin. He was being nice, complimentary even. Said I’d make a great lawyer, suggested law school, said it was the next step and that—that you’d approve.”
Reacting like a dog with a stepped-on tail, Zachary scoffed, “Talk about your ‘gotcha’ questions.” He narrowed his gaze. “If you’d explained any of this, I would never have said what I did about—”
“I know,” Julian said. “I’m an idiot. I’m sorry.”
The Music of Love Blurb
Sometimes the music of love skips a beat….
Paralegal by day, musician by night, Julian has an expiration date stamped on his forehead when it comes to love. No relationship has made it past a year, so Julian avoids romance like the plague and concentrates on his music instead.
Which works fine until gorgeous, smart, and funny Zachary joins Julian’s firm. One look at the man and Julian knows he’s dangerous. No matter what, he can’t fall for Zachary. He has to spare Zachary the pain of dumping Julian at the one-year mark. His brilliant plan? Ask a straight friend to pose as his significant other to keep Zachary away. Not surprisingly, his scheme does little to dampen the attraction—on either side.
When Zachary gives Julian a second chance despite his deception, Julian thinks his curse might be broken. But then he’s faced with the impossible choice between a life with Zachary and living his dream of touring with the band….
About the Author
Sandine Tomas grew up an unapologetic bookworm, making friends with characters from the ancient past to the farthest reaches of the universe. Her career as a marketing writer has given her insight into the divergence between what a person thinks they want and what they truly need. Relationships are at the heart of her writing, and she enjoys creating characters who become so real that their stories beg to be told. Writing allows her to explore people and ideas from all sides, spinning a notion around like a gem until its facets glisten.
Twisting the old adage about writing what you know into writing what you feel, Sandine doesn’t shy away from raw emotions, turbulent circumstances, and above all, deep passions, fueled by humor, honesty, and trust. She enjoys instilling her characters with the flaws, courage, and idiosyncrasies that brings them to life.
Sandine lives in New York with her husband, two daughters and a Golden Retriever named Noodle. An unabashed TV and film enthusiast, she happily binge watches her favorites until her eyes glaze over. Her other guilty pleasures include attending fandom conventions, sleeping in on weekends, and recharging solo by holing up with a caramel macchiato and an amazing book.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/sandine.tomas
What dream have you had to table (for now!) to keep the lights on? Tell me in the comments and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a free e-book copy of The Music of Love! Please provide contact information