That's what happened with me and String Bridge by debut author Jessica Bell. Most of us in the blogosphere know Jessica from her popular blog, The Alliterative Allomorph. If you've never been by there, check it out. Jessica always keeps it real and is down to earth, but in a very spiritual way. I remember last year when she announced Lucky Press was going to publish her story. I remember later when she announced the title, aptly named String Bridge.
And now it's here!
In String Bridge, we follow Melody Hill, an Australian living in Greece. She's married to a swoon worthy Greek man, is mother to a bouncy four year old daughter, and is a successful career woman. And for those things she's grateful, but there is something more to Melody--something she can't escape from, no matter how hard she tries.
She has an indelible yearning to play music. It is in her very soul. As a former up-and-coming guitar player and singer, Melody had the world in her palm. After meeting future husband, Alex, who promotes concerts for a living, all seemed peachy. Melody was on the brink of her dream and playing music for a living. Marrying Alex made sense in her life. She played music, he promoted it.
A dream come true, right?
Not quite. Once married, Melody finds herself living a life that isn't hers--the embodiment of domesticity. How did it happen? And why can't she just accept it and be happy with what she's got? Because the music inside her is clawing at her soul to get out. Will her hubby, who grew up in a traditional Greek household, accept this part of her? He's happy with things the way they are. And what about their daughter? Is it fair to put Melody's own desires over that of her child's?
This inner conflict is very real. I found myself relating to Melody very much. First of all, I loved her! She's someone I could see myself meeting for coffee. And she has excellent taste in music and fashion. :) But as a writer, I get her--that need to express oneself artistically, but conflicted by family responsibilities that sometimes feel like chains, even though you don't want them to and would give anything in the world NOT to feel that way.
It's what sparks Melody's depression--the guilt of not suppressing the artistic urges, laced with the turmoil of having to do so in the first place. It's enough to drive the creative soul mad.
In all honesty, I feel like a better writer for having read String Bridge. Jessica is a spectacular writer. I've dubbed her as the Queen of Metaphors in my mind. She has such a vivid and gripping way of describing a sight or feeling that it really pulls you deeper into the story. Melody's voice is fun and real and sometimes I just wanted to reach out and give her a hug. Her inner conflict is very real and relative.
Jessica did a genius job with Melody's hubby Alex. He isn't the bad guy, though sometimes I wondered if he was going to do something really rash. But what Alex represents is what holds Melody back from the life that calls to her. I mean, who says she can't have both? Tori Amos has both. Why can't Melody? (I love that Melody is a Tori fan! She's been my fave singer since her first album twenty years ago)
Make it a point to read String Bridge if you can. Readers will relate to and bond with Melody's raw emotion, and writers will appreciate Jessica's polished craft. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this!
And what's super far out cool, is Jessica created a soundtrack for her book. I can't wait to hear it!
You can download it from iTunes here.
Or from Amazon here.
Amazon UK here.
Jessica has all kinds of prizes and celebrations going on, so be sure to check out her blog for daily details. She also has this amazing writer's retreat happening in Greece next year and gosh darn I'd kill to go to that!! Here are the links to her blogs, websites, book trailer, cool merchandise, and writer retreat info:
String Bridge Website
Jessica Bell:Jessica Bell is a literary women's fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter who grew up in Melbourne, Australia, to two gothic rock musicians who had successful independent careers during the '80s and early '90s.
She spent much of her childhood travelling to and from Australia to Europe, experiencing two entirely different worlds, yet feeling equally at home in both environments. She currently lives in Athens, Greece and works as a freelance writer/editor for English Language Teaching publishers worldwide, such as HarperCollins, Pearson Education and Macmillan Education.
In addition to String Bridge, Jessica has published a book of poetry called Twisted Velvet Chains. A full list of poems and short stories published in various anthologies and literary magazines can be found under Published Works & Awards, on her website.
From September 2012 Jessica will be hosting the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca, home of Odysseus.
Buy String Bridge as eBook on Amazon or Amazon UK.
Or in paperback at Barnes & Noble.
And sign up for the chart rush on 11-11-11 at Jessica's blog and win a copy of the soundtrack!
Have you read String Bridge yet? Do you ever feel the pull of your creative soul like it's going against the grain of responsibilities of a life you should be satisfied with? Please share ...