Thank you to Cate for hosting me again. I'm here to promote my second release in as many months, this time with Less Than Three Press called A Winter In Rome. I want to return to a topic I've covered before: music.
I love music. I never have it on when I write (I'm really picky about silence), but during the rest of the day, I always have some type of record or soundtrack on, and my headphones are worn perpetually around my neck.
Music helps to shape a lot of the mood I'm striving for in my stories, so I often make small playlists for longer projects I'm working on. My first m/m novel How To Make a Carrot Cake as an 8tracks playlist and so does A Winter In Rome. You can find both under the username francisgideon, but I'll include the track listing for Rome's soundtrack here:
Postcards to Italy - Beirut
Gloria - Patti Smith
Winter - Daughter
Black - Pearl Jam
Because The Night - Patti Smith
Your Ex-Lover Is Dead - Stars
Are You Ten Years Ago? - Tegan and Sara
Satellite Mind - Metric
If You Wait - London Grammar
Come as You Are - Nirvana
Sea of Love - Cat Power
Postcards to Italy - Florence and The Machine
I want to zero in on "Postcards to Italy" by Beirut (and the subsequent cover by Florence and the Machine). I almost named A Winter In Rome "Postcards to Italy" because I listened to the song so much and many of the central images (like the postcards Craig and Alan exchange when they're away from one another) match up perfectly to the lyrics. I'm also a huge fan of Florence and The Machine, and her cover of this song is so, so gorgeous. I like having both versions of the song on this playlist because they both provide a nice feminine/masculine balance. Since the MC Craig falls in love with both Sybil and Alan during the course of the story, having two separate "theme" songs fit really well.
Other tracks on this list are there for particular characters; the Metric song "Satellite Mind" summarizes how Sybil feels when she's an outsider to Craig and Alan's relationship, but still developing feelings. "Black" is about the beginning of Alan and Craig's love affair, while "Sea of Love" by Cat Power (another cover) is about all of them together. Patti Smith appears on the list a lot because her memoir Just Kids acts as a catalyst for many conversations the three of them have, and eventually helps Craig to figure out what he wants in his life, other than Alan and Sybil.
I could go on about music--and I usually do if you follow my website--but for now, I'll leave you with the link to the 8tracks playlist: http://8tracks.com/francisgideon/a-winter-in-rome-1
Craig is a man adrift, never quite feeling like he belongs or like he’s as successful and settled as those around him—especially his lovers, Alan, an art professor he met while in college, and Sybil, who tutored him throughout his Italian class. When Alan goes to Rome life becomes even shakier and the only grounding point becomes the corkboard of memories Craig creates for the three of them.
By the time Alan returns, Craig isn’t certain how his relationships will change—especially when Alan starts to fall for Sybil, bringing two pieces of his world completely together and leaving Craig worried it will create a world that has no place for him.
"What's that noise?" Sybil asked. She moved towards the wall above the headboard of the bed, her eyes narrowed. I waited and listened, before recognizing the notes of what she heard.
"That's Reggie!" I rose to my knees on the bed next to her, placing my ear against the wall. "He's singing stuff from Madame Butterfly."
"Really?" She put her ear next to mine. Her smile grew larger as she began to tap out the beats against the wall. "Man, I miss music."
"What do you mean? We always have CDs on here."
"Yeah, but I used to play."
"You did? How is that I've never heard of that until now?"
She shrugged. "I'm full of surprises—just like you tonight."
We spotted Alan in the living room, coffee in his hand, and bobbing his head to the music. He probably didn't even realize he was doing it; he had gotten so used to Reggie over the years of living here.
"Hey, Alan," I called.
Alan glanced up and smiled. "Hey, you two. I thought you had fallen asleep."
"Nah," I said, glancing at the clock. It was pretty late for Reggie to be playing music, but still early enough for us. "Do you have instruments here?"
"I do hoard, but I'm not that bad."
Sybil's face fell. "Aw, well. Would have been nice to mess around for a bit."
"There is a storage space in the basement, though," Alan added. "I've seen a guitar lying around."
"What are the odds," I asked, "that it's Reggie's?"
"Only one way to find out."
Francis Gideon is a writer of m/m romance, but he also dabbles in mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal fiction. He has appeared in Gay Flash Fiction, Chelsea Station Poetry, and the Martinus Press anthology To Hell With Dante. He lives in Canada with his partner, reads too many comics books, and drinks too much coffee. Feel free to contact him, especially if you want to talk about horror movies, LGBT poetry, or NBC’s Hannibal. Find him at francisgideon.wordpress.com.
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