mm-coverIn my latest interview for In the Booklight, I talk to Liz Kershaw about her novella The Music Maker from Mantle Lane Press…

Where did the inspiration for the characters and plotline of ‘The Music Maker’ come from?

I wanted The Music Maker to be have a Gothic feel and placing it within that specific genre and tradition influenced the setting. I’m not sure how the concept of Kai and his malign intentions came about – I was playing with ideas around the Pied Piper when the Elgar piece came to me, and after the odd sort of alchemy that sometimes happens, everything fused.

Can you tell us a little about the writing process, and both the trickiest and most fun parts of writing ‘The Music Maker’?

The worst part of the process by far (apart from the final editing stages) was trying to get the prologue right – I must have written about fifteen versions. The most fun part was the first ‘let’s get it all down fast’ stage, when I was completely immersed in the world of the story.

Whom should we be most afraid of – Kai, the first person narrator or Stella in the novella, or ourselves? And why?

Kai is a catalyst for the release of the dark side of human nature, and although the narrator has her peculiarities, she has managed to live an ordinary life until he arrives to disrupt it. I like the idea of ambivalence: the reader does not have to buy in to Kai’s ‘otherness’ to believe in the effect such a man might have on two repressed and impressionable women. So perhaps, the answer is ourselves as humans, and what we might be capable of.

Photo by Paul Lack

Photo by Paul Lack

Who or what would you say is the strongest influence in/on your life and writing? And where and how can this be found in the novella?

I have always been drawn to mysteries and characters that leave questions and resonance after the book is closed: Cathy’s ghost in Wuthering Heights, for example, or Toni Morrison’s Beloved. Sarah Waters does this brilliantly as well, especially in Affinity. Reading has been one of the biggest influences and joys in my life from the moment I could decode words and turn them into pictures, and an early desire to write my own stories grew from that.

mm-coverWhat haven’t I asked that the novella would absolutely insist that I should question? And what is the answer?

Whether the narrator of The Music Maker is unreliable and whether we should question whether any narrator can be said to be ‘reliable’. The unreliable narrator is a well-known literary conceit, but as we are all narrators of our own stories in life and fiction, who can say whether there is ever a truly objective truth?

Where can people get hold of a copy of ‘The Music Maker’?

From Mantle Lane Press

Or Amazon

Thank you, Liz, for these insights into ‘The Music Maker’, and the themes that run through it.

To read more In the Booklight interviews with authors, please click on this link. My review of this addictively mysterious novella can also be found on the Amazon link above.