One of the things I have enjoyed most about writing novels and seeing them published is the friendships I have made with other published novelists. I have met some of the most lovely, engaging, wildly creative people in the since I started down this road. And so it’s no wonder I love chatting up a good friend’s newest release.
Today, I’m happy to share with you my good friend Sharon Hinck’s brand new baby, Symphony of Secrets. Here’s what Sharon has to say about her new book:
“Talented flutist Amy Johnson’s dreams come true when she wins a spot with the Minneapolis Symphony. But this amateur sleuth has trouble concentrating on the notes as she begins to see devious motives behind her fellow musicians’ many mishaps. Meanwhile, her musically talented daughter wants to give it all up for—gasp—the cheerleading squad! What’s a musical mom to do? Can Amy fine-tune her investigation before the symphony is forced to close and she loses not only her dream job but her promising new relationship with its conductor?”
Edge: So, Sharon. What is the significance of the title?
Sharon: On an obvious level, Amy tries to uncover answers to the mystery of who is ruining the symphony, and the secrets of her various “suspects.” But a key element of the story is that Amy has been keeping family secrets for many years and is finally forced to face them. There is also a growing awareness of the “secret” (hitherto unknown by her) work of God, which plays out in her life like the movements of a symphony. Her life is really a symphony of secrets.
Edge: Why did you decide to add a mystery to the mix for this book?
Sharon: I’ve always loved Dorothy Gillman’s “Mrs. Pollifax” books (a retired garden-club woman joins the CIA) and Jill Churchill’s “Jane Jeffrey” novels (a suburban mom solves murders) so I thought it would be fun to make Amy a bit of an armchair detective (at least in her own mind). It made for a fun combination.
Edge: Your Becky Miller books took us into the world of a mom with big dreams. How does Amy differ from Becky?
Sharon: I love exploring the heroic in people the world considers “ordinary” – like moms. Like the Becky Miller books, Symphony of Secrets includes a strong story thread about parenting, but the dynamics of a young single mom with a teen daughter are an interesting new twist. Their banter has a bit of a Gilmore Girl vibe to it – full of affection but a little dysfunctional – which adds to the fun.
Edge:Is there a love interest for Amy?
Sharon: I hadn’t planned for one when I began the book, but a certain character walked into a scene, tossed some musical scores on a table, put his feet up, and was so dynamic, I fell in love with him. So Amy did, too. The story isn’t primarily a romance, but in between trying to raise her daughter, hide family secrets, and save the symphony, Amy is further befuddled by the romantic feelings she works hard to ignore.
Edge: Are you at all like Amy?
Sharon: My editor told me that of all my characters, she sees a lot of me in this one. That cracked me up because as I shaped Amy, I made her cranky, with little people skills, and hapless in her crime-fighting efforts. But I have to admit, my editor is right. There are some similarities. Although I’m not a professional concert musician, as a writer, I’m familiar with the neurotic-artist tendencies that were so fun to develop in Amy. I share with her the passionate desire to create something of beauty, the massive insecurities, and the bulldog determination to pursue what matters.
Edge: What is the main spiritual theme of Symphony of Secrets?
Sharon: God loves us enough to come and meet us through the avenues that we understand. He finds ways to speak our language. I’ve seen many examples of God wooing someone toward Himself through that person’s passions. Amy understands the world of music and God coaxes her to consider spiritual issues through the beauty of music that is already alive in her heart.
Check it out!