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What Could Have Inspired Them

Debbie Burke Author Interview

Icarus Flies Home follows a Jazz bassist as he tries to publish his great-great uncle’s lost music, only to discover someone else has claimed the rights to it. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

We took a tour of one of the biggest former plantations in the South. As we toured the home and went into the parlor, the guide told talked about the famous people who had likely spent time there, including literary and film stars, people like George and Ira Gershwin. Maybe they had even passed through at some point. As a musician, I wondered what could have inspired them and what if, I wondered, they had heard something that influenced their own musical compositions?

Beauregard (“Bo”) Sonski-Abbott wants to honor a lost relative but has to overcome unbelievable odds to do so. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

He’s torn because he wants to think the best of people. He also doesn’t know how to wrap his mind around something so profound, that his relative lived his life enslaved and all he must have endured. He was a musician and Bo was trying to understand how one could still find joy amid the horrors and tragedy in a life like that.

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

Legacy, family relationships, love, marriage, and who really owns a song; the idea of intellectual property when a person had been stripped of all rights.

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

By this fall/2022! A murder mystery about a sax player. There’s a pretty obscure event in jazz history that this book explores. It takes place in Brooklyn, NY and St. Petersburg (Russia).

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

A stolen song, a stolen kiss and a stunning family legacy
Jazz bassist Beauregard (“Bo”) Sonski-Abbott finds himself reeling after learning an aging Broadway producer may have stolen a song written by his distant relative: a great-great uncle who was enslaved on one of the biggest plantations in Georgia. Bo’s journey to unravel the truth takes him from the music scene of New York to Washington, DC, only to be sidetracked by a much younger woman who threatens to tear apart his marriage and his career.

Icarus Flies Home

In Debbie Burke’s Icarus Flies Home, Beauregard Sonski-Abbott, or Bo, begins making a jazz album to honor the music of his enslaved great-great uncle, Lymus Abbott. His relative was never emancipated from the plantation in Georgia, but this did not stop him from writing music. Using some lyrics written by Lymus, Bo worked on creating an album to honor his long-lost relative.

As the bass player and de facto leader of his band composed of old school friends, Bo encounters an array of challenges in completing this project. He discovers a Broadway playwright is claiming rights to the music from his great-great uncle. This sets off a legal battle over the copyright of the music between Bo’s family and the playwright who is claiming ownership of Lymus’s lyrics. The problems do not end there; there is an aggressive woman that keeps making romantic advances on Bo that are unwanted. With perseverance and the support of his wife, Margret, Bo pushes forwards to reach for his ambition.

Icarus Flies Home is a touching story of the determination of one man who is trying to do right by his disenfranchised musical lineage, all while facing the mounting odds against him. These obstacles affect his personal and professional lives and his musical life respectively. Facing each obstacle injects a tension that slowly builds throughout the narrative, causing headaches for Bo, and well-managed stress and excitement for the reader. Despite the building suspense of upcoming conflict over many chapters, the build-up fizzles out and never materializes.

Icarus Flies Home is a suspenseful African American historical fiction novel. It perfectly captures the element of hope which grows within Bo and enables him to face the trials he faces on the road to his musical catharsis. Music’s ability to evoke emotions can be a difficult thing to accurately describe in prose, but with music being a huge focus of the text Burke does an excellent job of representing the effect music has on her characters, lending poignancy to many moments of the text.

Pages: 178 | ASIN : B08QQJRWGD

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Longing And Limerence

Debbie Burke Author Interview

Glissando follows a divorced woman who is successful in her career and is ready to try her hand at love again, what she ends up with is two men and some big life decisions to make. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I was in a community jazz band in northeastern Pennsylvania (I play alto sax) and just like any other group of people, there were relationships formed, wished for, begun and discarded. When love and lust were put against a backdrop of jazz, this became fascinating to me.

Ellie recovers from her divorce and builds a good life for herself before getting involved again. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

She’s flawed. She knows better, but doesn’t always choose to do the things that will help her evolve. It was important to show a smart woman who was nevertheless stuck in her bad decisions.

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

Longing and limerence; loneliness and companionship; and ultimately, seeking the right, loving partner.

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

Thanks for asking! It’s a noir mystery about a sax player who falls to his death, but the question remains: accident or murder? The protagonist is once again a woman, and she goes to Russia to find a very rare jazz record. Once there, she learns more about the jazz world and what likely caused the death of the sax player. Like it or not, she finds herself involved in the investigation. It’s out in December. Watch this space:

Author Links: Website | GoodReads | Twitter

LOVE – LUST – and JAZZ Sharp-witted paralegal Ellie Greenberg has a dynamite career at a law firm in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Happily divorced, in the middle years of her life and keeping sexy ‘n’ sassy, she decompresses from the demands of her career by joining the jazz scene at a local college. The instant she sees the very-married new soloist, trumpet player Vincent Keyes, she’s speared directly in the heart by Cupid’s arrow. Unfortunately, Ellie has also walked straight into the romantic cross-hairs of ace lawyer Stan Feldman. Ellie tries to gain her footing in the emotional tornado, where the ride is thrilling but ultimately unsustainable. She agonizes over choosing between the two men…or changing her life completely.


Glissando by Debbie Burke is a compelling story of love, lust, and jazz revolving around Ellie Greenberg. At 23, Ellie is love-struck immediately when she meets Rudy. She marries him, but their matrimony is short-lived when he steps out on her. Now, In her mid-fifties, juggling an amiable social life and a flourishing career as a paralegal at Schneider & Snee, Ellie joins a community jazz band where she meets and falls hopelessly for musician and somewhat jazz legend Vince Keyes. To her dismay, he is married to a much younger woman. Ellie starts dating co-worker Stan while contemplating whether to pursue Vince or not.

Debbie Burke has a way with words. It is impressive how she comfortably switches from one story to another and still carries the reader along. Ellie’s love for jazz illuminates the pages. Her character is relatable and intelligent enough to know what she wants. The fallibility and realistic portrayal of Ellie’s character, not to talk of her quirky soliloquies, will constantly make you laugh.

The story is fascinating, even without a lot of drama. It is the story of a successful divorced woman that is trying to figure out her own love life in her fifties. It is realistic in the sense that sometimes people don’t know what they want and have to work out in their own minds what is important and what they really want. However, I feel that some of the chapters seem to have a monotonous sound with many filler scenes that held no significance to the development of the plot. Glissando is still a book worth reading as Ellie is a great character to read about and get to know.

We all love a woman who has a mind of her own. Readers with a knack for resilient female protagonists will find Glissando enjoyable. I particularly loved how Ellie retained her youthful sensuality and imagination, proving that middle-aged women can still have fun.

Pages: 264 | ASIN : B08QR27H6F

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