Sunday, October 14, 2012


Live like a rock star. Dance ‘til you die. Are you in?

What kind of a rock star lives in a small town in the middle of nowhere and plays at weddings and funerals? That’s what Jeremiah Kensington is thinking after an unsuccessful bar gig one night. Then Jack Scratch comes into his life, ready to represent him and launch him to stardom. Jack can give him everything: a new band, a new name, a new life, a new look, and new boots…although they aren’t exactly new. They once belonged to The One, a rocker so legendary and so mysterious that it’s urban legend that he used black magic to gain success. But what does Jeremiah care about urban legend? And it’s probably just coincidence that the shoes make him dance better than anyone, even if it doesn’t always feel like he’s controlling his movements. It’s no big deal that he plunges into a world of excess and decadence as soon as he puts the shoes on his feet, right?

But what happens when they refuse to come off?

Today is the first day of Selah Janel's blog tour and I am so pleased to have her here. 

In The Red is an amazing story I think you will be very interesting in reading. One of the things I always find most interesting in a story is the development of the characterizations. How the author's goes about it, the development  of their backgrounds, and even their names. 

Selah wrote us a guest post about her lead character, Jeremiah Kensington and the music that is central to the story. Let's see what Selah has to say on this very interesting and otherworldly persona she has developed in Jeremiah...

What is it about music that reaches a core part of everyone? What is it about rock n’ roll that sets the bar so high, that makes ordinary people want to reach further than they ever have before, that makes them also willing to fall harder than they thought possible?

When I first started writing the story that would become In the Red, I knew I wanted to set it in the atmosphere of rock music. There’s something so familiar, yet so exotic about that kind of lifestyle. It’s a vast playground of decadence, temptation, hard work, and nitty gritty…exactly the kind of atmosphere I wanted for my urban fantasy story. Plus, I love music. There’s something about a good song that transcends a bad day. A good song can make you feel a part of something, can help you purge out bad emotions, can get you through a slow work day. Music has a power, a magic all its own. 

I didn't realize when I started writing just how much of that world my lead character, Jeremiah Kensington, would be plunged into. Originally it was a much shorter story and much more of a narrative, so when I started expanding it into a novel, I was in for a surprise. Suddenly Jeremiah didn't just have to deal with demons, an alter ego brought on by cursed footwear, and a bad business transaction, but he also had to deal with rabid fans, groupies, the band dynamic, shady management, and a million other little things that I’d never thought much into. Walking that journey with him was exhausting because there always seemed to be something else that he had to deal with. In fact, a lot of my eventual empathy for his character came from having to learn about this world from a new perspective. In a lot of ways it helped that I had to research and learn right along with him. 

His own opinions of his music (and music in general) surprised me. In a lot of ways he sees music as a means to an end. He isn't into covers, he’s opinionated about what makes a good rock star, and he insists at one point that he makes music, he doesn't listen to it. More than anything he wants to be a rock star, but he also wants it for very human reasons: he wants to be noticed, acknowledged, and maybe even loved. So this brought to mind a very interesting debate, especially when I took into consideration his callous attitude and all of the onstage scenes I had planned. What part of music is technique and performance, and what part of it is emotion, or soul?

For this particular question, I not only had to bug a lot of people, but I had to dig deep. About a million years ago I studied voice for a good ten years or so, though my direction was more inclined to classical and musical theater  While I had a pretty good idea of what it was like to be on stage, I was also the first to admit that at times technique was the sole focus on my mind. Granted, this was when I was younger and more insecure with myself as a performer, but it made me wonder what performing was like for other people (especially instrumentalists, because that is an area of life I have not a lot of expertise in. Seriously, if you want to laugh, come see me try to play piano). I talked to a lot of different types: people who were just learning guitar, people who hadn't played in a while, percussionists, singers, and on and on. I also realized really quick that there were several layers to my question. I wasn't just interested in what went on in their heads when they performed…I wanted to know where music fit into their sense of self. Did they feel like it was something bigger? Was it really a means to an end, a way to get a check?

Underneath my worries about whether my consonants were crisp and my breathing was correct, I always felt like I was getting out of myself when I sang. It was as if I was plugging into something deeper or finding a way to turn the worries of the world off. It was a nice type of communion that was exclusively between me and the music. I also worried that that line of thinking labeled me as a nutcase. Suffice it to say, I was more than a little relieved when every person I talked to agreed with me. I was also relieved that no one stopped talking to me when I launched my questions with “So say something bad happened to you…like say you got hit by a bus! Now as a performer, would you shy away from music or would it still motivate you?”

It really is amazing people still talk to me sometimes.

That line of thought, though, helped me develop the second half of the book. Jeremiah gets everything he wants and more. He enters into a world and finds himself out of his league and out of his depth…especially given the fact that the people inhabiting his rock n’ roll fantasy aren't all human. He has to go pretty low before he can find something to cling to. And of course, through his fall and his long climb up, there’s one thing that’s always with him: music.

At the end of the day his status doesn't matter (except maybe to him), the money and posh luxuries come and go, and he has to fight for his soul and sanity. Even the boots that he clings to, the boots that slowly drive him deeper into trouble yet lift him up to stardom, aren't what starts and ends his journey. Sometimes, all you need is a few simple notes to get you through the hard times and to accent the good. Sometimes, music can be just a few simple notes…but sometimes, it’s also everything. 

Today also starts the giveaway for your own copy an e-book of In The Red. You can enter simply by following the listing of the rafflecopter for your chance to win!

In The Red is available now and Selah's tour will be running from  October 14 - October 27 and again November 4 - November 18. You can follow on Jitterbug PR or follow Selah directly.

Thanks so much Selah for stopping by and we wish you much success on your amazing book!

Selah Janel has been blessed with a giant imagination since she was little and convinced that fairies lived in the nearby state park or vampires hid in the abandoned barns outside of town. Her appreciation for a good story was enhanced by a love of reading, the many talented storytellers that surrounded her, and a healthy curiosity for everything. A talent for warping everything she learned didn’t hurt, either. She gravitates to writing fantasy and horror, but can be convinced to pursue any genre if the idea is good enough. Often her stories feature the unknown creeping into the “real” world and she loves to find the magical in the mundane.

 She has four e-books with No Boundaries Press, including the historical vampire story ‘Mooner’ and the contemporary short ‘The Other Man’. Her work has also been included in ‘The MacGuffin’, ‘The Realm Beyond’, ‘Stories for Children Magazine’, and the upcoming Wicked East Press anthology ‘Bedtime Stories for Girls’. She likes her music to rock, her vampires lethal, her fairies to play mind games, and her princesses to hold their own.

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