Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Sound of Music

Rebecca again. Today, I'm happy to announce that we are hosting Jaden Terrell, author of the Jared McKean mysteries. She's also the executive director or the Killer Nashville Thriller, Mystery, and Crime Literature Conference and a recipient of the 2009 Magnolia Award for service to Southeastern Chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

And when I found out that she's also a contributor to Now Write! Mysteries, I knew she was part of the family. Now Write! Mysteries is full of wonderful essays by various well know crime authors, including a passel of current and former 7 criminal minds bloggers (Kelli Stanley, Rebecca Cantrell, Reece Hirsch, Graham Brown, Sophie Littlefield, and Michael Wiley) plus guests (Stephen Jay Schwartz, Tim Maleeny, and Juliet Blackwell).

Jaden's here to answer this week's question and to celebrate her latest novel, Racing the Devil. Jared McKean is back. He's a man in flux. His son has Down syndrome, his best friend
has AIDS, and the ex-wife he still loves is celebrating the first anniversary of her marriage to another man. A betrayal by a rebound romance has cost Jared his job with Metro Nashville’s murder squad, and in the aftermath, he’s launched a career as a private detective.

In a vulnerable moment, he meets a battered woman who isn’t what she seems. She begs him for protection, then seduces him and frames him for murder. With his DNA and fingerprints at the murder scene, his voice on the victim’s answering machine, and ballistic evidence tying the bullet to his gun, things look bleak.

All Jared wants is to clear his name and salvage the remnants of his fractured family, but it soon becomes clear that more than his reputation is at stake. A killer is out for revenge—and will stop at nothing to get it.

Jaden, thanks for stopping by! Could you please share the soundtrack of your life?

When I head the topic of this week’s blog—a soundtrack of my life—I had a brief moment of panic. The only song I could think of was a gruesome (but oddly catchy) little Christmas song that starts, “Something’s stuck up in the chimney and I don’t know what it is, but it’s been there all night long…” Arg.

My husband has a list of the top 100 songs for every year since 1910. This would have been a perfect topic for him, but I have a much smaller repertoire. Once I calmed down, though, I thoroughly enjoyed the walk down memory lane.

“Daydream Believer” by The Monkees sums up my early years. From the time I was four until I was in my early teens, my great-aunt and I cut characters out of the Spiegel catalog and used them to role play epic stories. My grandmother and I carried an assortment of imaginary animals in her car. I would hold tightly to the sea turtle every time we crossed the bridge, my little arms wrapped around an invisible turtle the size of a garbage can lid. I’d make potions and leave them on fence posts to lure dragons. (Dandelions and Tabasco sauce were key ingredients.) My imaginary friends were almost as real as my corporeal ones. Come to think of it, they still are.

As a teenager, Donnie Osmond’s “Sweet and Innocent” could have been my motto. Case in point: when I was 17, a friend and I went to the circus together. Afterward, we went to the Polaris Room, a spinning bar and restaurant at the top of the old Hyatt Regency Hotel. Feeling bold and grown-up, we ordered a pina colada apiece. I drank half, then, overcome by guilt, tossed and turned all night before confessing to my mother the next morning. I was not meant to be a bad girl.

When I think of college, I think of “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” It was the first song I learned on the guitar, and I practiced it daily for hours on end, stopping only when my fingers were raw. The people in the apartment next door must have been long-suffering souls since, to the best of my knowledge, they never complained.

When I was 26, I married my practically perfect husband. It may sound corny, but the best song I can think of to represent our marriage is “The Wedding Song.” Twenty-five years later, it still resonates.

There are so many other memories and songs I could add: “Vincent” for my love of painting, “Fire and Rain” for my sister, “House of the Rising Sun” and “Puff the Magic Dragon” because the other counselors and I played and sang them every evening on the cabin porch at Easter Seal Camp, “Run for the Roses” because of my love for horses…but when I look at the Big Picture, the one that seems to encapsulate it best is: “It Was A Very Good Year.”


Meredith Cole said...

Hey Jaden! Lovely to see you here. It's so amazing how music can bring up such vivid memories from our past. Thanks for sharing your songs (and memories) and being our guest today.

Jaden Terrell said...

Thanks, Meredith. You're right. Music affects us at such a visceral level.

And thanks for letting me contribute, Rebecca. This post made me want to pull out my guitar and play again after way too long!

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Thanks for stopping by, Jaden! Glad it inspired you to do some playing.

And I'd like to give you a crack at this week's question too: What is a theme song for Jared?

(Love the luminous photo of you and that horse, BTW!)

Jaden Terrell said...

Thanks, Rebecca. That horse is Peter Pan (aka Pete) the model for Jared's horse, Tex. Pete is 37 years old now!

I've been thinking about a theme song for Jared. I'll get back to you on that.

lil Gluckstern said...

I really like your choice of music. Very touching, and very universal, and now I will check out your book.

Jaden Terrell said...

Thank you, Lil!

Do any of you have favorite songs that sum up special times in your life?

Jaden Terrell said...

Okay, Rebecca, I've been thinking about Jared's theme song. I've always been drawn to "Desperado," even though he's no outlaw. (Not that he won't bend the rules sometimes.) Beneath his warmth and compassion, there's a core of loneliness. And he lost his queen of hearts, so he's been getting burned by the queen of diamonds lately.

I asked my husband what he thought, and he suggested "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult. Since it's about moving forward without fear of death, I think it's a pretty good choice.