Thank you for stopping by! I’m honored to welcome #RWISA Author, Lisa Kirazian to my blog today. Lisa is the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB’S first “SPOTLIGHT” Author of 2021, and she has a new book out, CADENZA! It is my pleasure to introduce you to Lisa Kirazian. Welcome, Lisa!
Where did this idea come from?
Lisa Kirazian’s Cadenza and
“The Music We Made” series
It’s an honor to write this guest post — and to be RRBC’s Spotlight Author for February!
I’ve blogged about this in the past but that was before I wrote Cadenza and completed “The Music We Made” series. Now that I’ve finished it, I see this writing journey in a new light – the whole trajectory of it.
I first got the idea at age 14 standing in the driveway of my violin teacher’s home, waiting for my mom to pick me up. The story started brewing of a violinist and her conservatory instructor and the awkwardness of their working relationship (because I had a drama teacher at the time who was awkward that way.) The idea kept brewing for the next few years.
Then in college at age 18, I started writing the script — a screenplay. First called The Last Ovation, it was totally melodramatic and over the top. But the start was there — sister and brother musicians leaving a tough family situation to study in London in the late 1950’s and early 1960s, meeting their lifelong friends, enemies and loves along the way.
But it was still not all the way there yet.
At age 24, I went on a summer mission program in Armenia, teaching English and engaging with students in my homeland, post-Communism, during the war with Azerbaijan. You’d think that all my journals and notebooks would be filled with the awakening that came from being in my ancestral land for the first time. But they didn’t (that would come later). What did come is the outline for a six-hour miniseries, newly-titled, The Conservatory. When I got home, and for the next few years, including a research stint in London, I wrote the six one-hour scripts. Then upon realizing I had to rename the work (because a conservatory in London is a greenhouse!), it became The Music We Made.
Shopping the script around (long before Downton Abbey and other innovative series), I was told by producers, “You can’t have a miniseries that’s not based on a book or a famous person. You can’t have an original miniseries!!” Now, of course, they are all over the place. But at that time, because of that feedback, and to have an extra layer of story protection, I took the challenge and wrote it as a book, now around age 30. And that six-part miniseries became the novel Bravura. I worked and worked on it and then put it down for a while, during playwriting stints, and of course having kids. It was published 14 years later, in 2014.
Writing the novel Bravura filled out the experience of the story for me. While on camera I could explore the audio-visual whirlwind of a musical performance with a soloist and orchestra etc., in a novel I could explore the inner narrative going on inside a musician’s mind and heart when they prepare and play. And I found new scenes emerging that I had to get down. Before I knew it, I realized that I had to keep writing this story and continue to the next generation of the Driscoll family of musicians.
So, then I wrote Appassionato, the first book written as a book first, not as a script. I continued the next generation, focusing on composer/conductor Jenny Driscoll, who appears briefly but memorably at the end of Bravura. I drafted it during National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO) in 2014-5. It was published in 2018.
I did the same in drafting Cadenza in 2016, through NANOWRIMO. And it was just published in 2020, the year I turned 50. The trajectory of this writing journey has gone from age 14 to 50.
And just when you think you’re done, and there’s no more story to tell, and no one knows better than you do, a reader comes along, like a friend of mine just did to me, and says, “I hope you’re working on the next one.”
Featured Title: CADENZA
In CADENZA, the final book of “The Music We Made” series, the young tenor Brian Martin finds himself on the cusp of superstardom and marriage, until he is compelled to leave behind his distinguished musical family, and his fiancé, in London, to visit the U.S. to see where his famous late grandmother, Maggie Crawford, the only other opera singer in the family, grew up. His journey takes him to Marshall, Minnesota, and Maggie’s hometown high school, where he meets the music teacher, Laura Jones, who helps him with his family history in more ways than he could have imagined.
Lisa Kirazian writes fiction, plays, screenplays, and also directs for stage and screen. Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Performing Arts Magazine, San Diego Union Tribune and many other publications. She is in demand as a speaker and has been a guest on KPBS Public Radio and at various conferences. Lisa is a graduate of Stanford University.
Several of her screenplays have placed in major competitions and festivals. Twelve of her stage plays have been produced across the U.S. and have won numerous awards, including a few publications. She also directed and wrote the adapted screenplay of the short film, “Reflection Day.”
Her novels include BRAVURA, APPASSIONATO, and now CADENZA, the three books of “The Music We Made” series, following three generations in the Driscoll family of musicians and inspired by her experience as a violinist. The series is also being developed for television.
Lisa lives in San Diego with her husband and two daughters and is involved in the Armenian community locally, nationally and abroad.
Connect with Lisa:
Twitter: @kirazian and @TheMusicWeMade