The Strength To Carry On

Michelle Shine Author Interview

Song for Ria follows a grieving mother who goes in search of answers to her daughter’s passing by following in her footsteps. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

I was trying to write something else, something genre oriented. However, I couldn’t seem to stumble upon characters that fully engaged me. Then someone sent me a link to Tori Amos performing a Kate Bush song. I am a huge Kate Bush fan and usually don’t like other artist’s covers of her work but I found the Tori Amos video intriguing and investigated further, as I always do with things that interest me. In one of Tori’s interviews she said how devastated she was, having been a child prodigy and having found herself in her late twenties still performing in hotel lobbies and gay clubs with one failed rock album behind her. She decided, at that point, to continue with her night jobs and write music just for herself. Of course, the result was Little Earthquakes, her top selling debut album, but the idea of writing without any ambition for the work, spoke to me and Alison arrived that day, fully formed in her home in the English countryside, or at least that’s how it seemed to me at the time. In retrospect, she was probably there the whole time, waiting for me to arrive.

Your characters are intriguing and well-developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Thank you for saying that. To be honest, I’m not a plotter or a planner, I just write and let the characters pull me along on their journey. Having said that, my own life experiences have definitely informed Song for Ria.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I put it out into the ether sometime ago that I would like to write about the life of a superstar who died too young. Those documentaries about Marilyn Monroe, Heath Ledger, Jimi Hendrix, James Dean, Whitney Houston etcetera, have always interested me. Especially Whitney Houston, whose mother, Cissy, was interviewed by Oprah one year after her daughter’s death. I remember wondering at the time how Cissy found the strength to carry on.

In 2009 when my soulmate died suddenly, tragically, and far too young, it gave me some insight into how, along with the devastation, loss has the power to add depth to a person’s perspective on life.. I pulled on my two personal experiences of studying under a North American shaman and staying with the Hopis when exploring that intricate theme in Song for Ria.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m editing an historical novel at present. It’s set in Israel in 1989 and explores the political arena as experienced by a family of first, second and third generation holocaust survivors and a woman named Rahima who lives in Daesh, a Palestinian town in the West Bank.

At present, I don’t have an agent or an ongoing publishing deal.

Author Links: Facebook | GoodReads | Twitter | Website

‘A penetrating view into what it means to grieve, and then to heal … a captivating story’Karen HarradineTalented composer Alison Connaught has spent her career writing music for big names, but when her actress daughter, Ria, dies from an overdose, Alison is numb and can no longer compose.Haunted by the feeling that she has somehow let Ria down, Alison searches for answers, first during an intense stay with a Hopi shaman and then by travelling to Hollywood to try to piece together the many parts of Ria’ s life that have so far eluded her.As she meets her daughter’ s friends, colleagues and therapists, Alison finally begins to understand the realities of Ria’ s life, opening the door to self expression and a different kind of music, inspired by stirred/raw feelings and the spirit of Ria.Michelle Shine’ s skill as a storyteller brings Alison’ s thoughts and actions to life in this visceral and deeply moving tale of grief, regret and ultimately, hope.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on December 26, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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