This post is part of a virtual tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jennifer will award 2 of each 8x10 autographed print of an original illustration of one of her characters to randomly drawn commenters on the tour, and a grand prize of an 11x17 autographed set of all three main characters in the book. (US/Canada only) Click on the tour banner above to see the other stops on the tour.
In planning A PART TO PLAY, I started with the emotional journey I wanted my main character to experience. I knew immediately I wanted to write a young adult story, and I wanted my story to have a strong message – that is, the importance of believing in oneself. Then, to develop my plot, I thought of my most favorite stories of all time from movies, plays, and books. One of these happens to be The Phantom of the Opera. I didn't want my book to be a retelling of that classic story, but rather I wanted it to draw inspiration from what I considered the most captivating parts. I loved the mystery and the powerful role that music played in the story; I also found the dark side of the Phantom intriguing.
Once I had that basic premise, I needed something at the beginning of the story to make my character lose all self-belief, which in this case happens with the death of her beloved sister and the subsequent breakdown of her family. As a writer, I explore big questions that I personally have about life. In A PART TO PLAY, I explore the death of a child in a tight-knit family. As I consider becoming a parent myself, I wonder how I could survive losing my child – it seems like one of the worst possible things that could happen in life. Lucy, the main character of my story, watches as her parents are consumed by grief, and she naturally begins to doubt her worth.
By the time she arrives at the Edmond School for Performing Arts, where our story begins, Lucy doesn't know what to think anymore. She hears music coming from underground, and eventually meets the musician who has helped her find something to focus on besides her grief. I explored the idea of both main characters in my story, Lucy and the musician, having the same flaw – how that brings them together, and how it drives them apart. It was important to me to show Lucy's gradual shift. I wanted the reader to come along on Lucy's journey, to feel what it is to be at the bottom and to experience with her the joy of first love and finally finding a way to cope with the loss of her family.
In later revisions, I felt that Lucy must confront her parents. It was part of the process for her to recover her sense of self. Then my story became something new. It wasn't just about loss, romance, and finding your own way; it was also about recognizing parents as fallible people who we can no more rely on for our self-worth than anyone else in life. Ultimately, no matter the parallels between my novel and The Phantom of the Opera, it is truly about the strength of a young girl who manages to carry on even though everyone around her seems to have given up.
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Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/jenniferlfry
Author Website: http://www.jenniferlfry.com/home/
When fifteen-year-old actress Lucy Carter loses her older sister in a car accident, her mother shuts down and her father can’t hold the family together. Their only choice is to ship Lucy off to the Edmond School for Performing Arts. But boarding school is no cure for Lucy’s grief. With failing grades, wooden stage performances, and curfew violations, Lucy is threatened with expulsion. For the once talented Lucy, it feels as though she has nowhere to turn.
One night, Lucy hears mysterious music drifting through the school’s old heating system. The music leads her to a troubled but passionate songwriter whose brilliance gives her the strength to perform like never before. Yet their intense relationship puts Lucy in a precarious position: if she follows her muse, will she lose herself? And if she breaks it off, can she stand on her own again?
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