When Music and Art Collide

My latest novel, The Mandolin Lunch, is now available wherever books are sold! Can a cavalier art teacher and a meticulous music teacher find love?


Music has always been a part of my creative process. I have a long history of carefully crafting playlists to match whatever project I’m working on. As a result, almost every finished project ends up having its own soundtrack.

I also played music all through junior high and high school. Trumpet was my instrument, with a dash of piano thrown in. But when I got to college and had my first chance to focus on art, I walked away from music because I didn’t feel that I could excel at both. In hindsight, I wonder if that was true. Maybe on some level, but I missed playing trumpet and especially missed the camaraderie of performing with a group. There’s a special sort of bonding (and stress) that comes with playing an instrument in public.

One of my favorite bands, Girlyman, played at a book release party I hosted. We posed for a photo after the event.
One of my favorite bands, Girlyman, played at a book release party I hosted. We posed for a photo after the event.

Part of the process for The Mandolin Lunch, was getting back in touch with some of my musical roots. But also connecting with friends who are active musicians and music teachers. Talking to people who are actively living their craft is the best way to tell an authentic story. Real world, personal experiences give stories the sort of authenticity of voice that no amount of Google research can deliver. Special thanks go out to Renee (Blame Sally band) and Jenny (a gifted teacher) for sharing their experiences and insights.

The Mandolin Lunch is a celebration of art and music and the way both bring people together and lift them up. Art and music share a lot in terms of tone, texture, and voice. It was fun to explore where the two intersect. And, of course, this story is also about falling in love.

My wife, Evelyn, playing guitar while we were in Ireland. She studied at Crane School of Music in NY before switching to study photography. She was a great source for The Mandolin Lunch.

With everything that’s been going on in DC, art and music have been a nice escape—offering solace and a chance to recharge. I hope the love story between Garet and Tess brings a little joy during a dark time.

Quotes on Music from The Mandolin Lunch

“When we work on a particular arrangement for the band I always think of it as painting with sound. The song begins to have layers and texture.” –Tess

“When you’re in a band and you’re arranging things, every instrument occupies a particular range. When we first started playing together in high school we already had guitar and bass. I wanted to contribute something different. The mandolin has a higher sound. It occupies a high frequency.” Tess focused on Garet. “I suppose I prefer the altitude.”

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