Holley Trent on Musicals and the Quirky MY NORA

I have an eclectic taste in music. Part of that is due to upbringing. I started taking piano lessons at age eight, and most of the primer books were from a bit earlier than mid-century. Not very rock & roll, you know?

Then there was the fact I grew up in the boonies. We didn’t have cable or a satellite dish, so I watched a lot of PBS. I fell in love with musicals. (All right, everyone, show me your jazz hands!) I also have a fond appreciation for world music. Original cast recording from Riverdance? Heck yeah. You should see my private attempts at Irish dance. Soundtrack from The Buena Vista Social Club? Oh yeah. Want me to sing “Dos Gardenias” to you?

In sixth grade, I committed the ultimate offense to pop music and joined school band. I even did marching band in high school and my first year of college. Marching band is why I run around loudly singing the anthem “America” from West Side Story: “EVERYTHING FREE IN AMER-EEE-CAAAAA!”

I figured eventually, all that eclecticism would spill over into one of my characters, and it did. Enter Manora Fredrickson, the heroine from My Nora. Nora’s an artist, but her first love is dance. In the opening scene of the story Nora is dancing around her barn with headphones on, listening to the “Cellblock Tango” from Chicago. Fortunately, unlike the cast singing that song, Nora’s not a merry murderess of boorish men. (She is a divorcée, though. She’d probably never murder her ex, but I wouldn’t put her past punching him in the eye.)

Here’s a bit of Nora in action:

She was agile as a cat burglar, lean with a narrow waist but bearing shapely hips that supported a firm round bottom that he watched with special interest. Matt thought he’d done pretty good in the past. He’d dated some of the most attractive women in Chowan County, but compared to his new neighbor’s remarkable beauty, they were downright plain.

Suddenly, she turned and shouted “Lipschitz!” and dropped into a deep lunge, her pose supported only by that lucky hoe. She said “Ow!” when her hip flexor gave a loud pop and opened her brown eyes to finally take note of the stranger in her outbuilding. She startled at the sight of Matt. He couldn’t blame her. There he was, this big, lumbering white guy trespassing on a rural property where a single woman lived all alone. Her hands slipped down the hoe’s handle, causing it to drop sideways on the floor. With that, she lost her balance and fell backward to the dirt floor on her bottom. The caramel skin between her high cheekbones and the v-neck of her tee shirt flushed to an unhealthy burgundy tone.

Matt walked over with one of his hands extended to help her up. “Sorry. I tried knocking at the house but …” She held up her index finger to hush him, yanked the small headphones out of her ears by their cord, and shoved them down the collar of her shirt.

“I’m sorry, what?” she asked in a smooth, husky voice.

Matt opened his mouth to speak, but found himself gaping. He’d for some reason expected her to sound high-pitched and raspy judging by the way she shrieked “Lipschitz!” Instead, she sounded like the personification of sex and well-aged whiskey. He must have been staring, because she stood without the aid of his rough hand and waited in front of him with her hands on her hips and one elegant eyebrow raised. When he wasn’t forthcoming with words, or anything else for that matter, she said “Yoo hoo,” and snapped her fingers in front of his face.


Do you have a guilty pleasure song you like to sing when no one’s listening? Tell me what it is in the comments!

My Nora, a Crimson Romance title, is available now at Amazon, iTunes, and ARe. Keep an eye peeled for the upcoming print version.

Check out Holley Trent online at her blog for news about new releases or to view her backlist, and chat with her on Twitter.

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