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    Sunday, August 28, 2005

    Music is the Only Muse for Teresa

    In one of my earliest baby pictures, my mother is holding my scrawny little diapered self up over a record player. My dad tells me that it was Elvis playing that day and that I wiggled and gurgled with delight, all shook up by the beat and the sexy half-drawl, half-growl of that soft-spoken boy from Memphis.

    Since then, music has continued to hold sway over my imagination, becoming the key that unlocks my creative subconscious. I honestly don't think there would a single Teresa Medeiros book without its accompanying soundtrack.

    I may not remember the name of every secondary character in my books but I can tell you that Justin and Emily in ONCE AN ANGEL first made love to the haunting strains of the Guns N' Roses power ballad "Don't Cry" or that in NOBODY'S DARLING Billy Darling got shot and collapsed in Esmerelda's arms while "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" wailed out of my stereo. In the last scene of THIEF OF HEARTS, it was the music from "Jurassic Park's" end credits that went soaring over the waves when Captain Doom's pirate ship appeared on the horizon to carry Lucy away to her new life.

    My September release AFTER MIDNIGHT began on a similar note. I'd already fallen in love with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Christmas music. (Think Christmas music on acid rock with wailing guitar solos and thundering drums.) Then I picked up a copy of
    BEETHOVEN'S LAST NIGHT, their first concept album in which Beethoven battles with the Devil for ownership of his soul. (Think Faust meets Scrooge.) The CD combines original music with some of the most unforgettable melodies ever crafted by Beethoven and Mozart.

    I froze when I heard the first notes of "Requiem (The Fifth)"--a wickedly sexy rendition of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. As the throbbing bass took control of the song, I could just see this mysterious and powerful man striding through the misty streets of London with his black cloak swirling around his ankles. Was he man or monster? Hero or villain? At that moment, Adrian Kane, Viscount Trevelyan, was born in my imagination and on the first page of AFTER MIDNIGHT.

    I'd found my soundtrack! Caroline's yearning for Adrian is perfectly captured in the original ballad "The Dreams of Candlelight," which catches you off guard with its classical climax perfectly suited for two lovers who can no longer resist surrendering to their passion. Haunting versions of the "Moonlight Sonata" and "Fur Elise" accompany Caroline's moonlit ramblings around Adrian's castle. "I'll Keep Your Secrets" perfectly expresses both her doubts and her growing devotion. It was the soaring, joyous "A Last Illusion" that was playing as I wrote the final scene of the book, then collapsed on my bed in a heap of tears as the credits rolled, the recipient of my very own happy ending.

    My mother gave me many gifts and I suspect on the day she held me over that record player so I could wiggle with delight, she had no idea she was giving me a key that would open the door to so many different and magical worlds. As Elvis would say, "Thank you, Mama. Thank you very much."