Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sarah McNeal's Inspiration for 'The Violin'

Karen: Sarah McNeal is a multi-published author of heartfelt romance and historical time travels. Let's join Sarah as she takes us back to the 1920s and to John, the young man who inspired her to write The Violin

Behind The Scenes:  My Inspiration for The Violin by Sarah McNeal

Of all the books and short stories I have ever written, The Violin is the one book inspired by my own family.  I heard marvelous and exciting stories about my Uncle John from my dad from my earliest memory.  I sensed from Pop’s far away gaze and the way his voice wavered when he spoke of John that he idealized his brother and missed him even many years after John’s death.

John was the wild child, eager for adventure and the excitement that the 1920’s presented.  It was a time of great change and John wanted to experience all of it.  My grandfather and grandmother were practical teachers and insisted that all three of their sons go to college and earn a degree.  Not an easy accomplishment in a time when most people were either very poor or very rich.  John  had a talent for music and played the mandolin and violin.  In fact, I inherited his violin and still play it.  He managed to get a job with a traveling opera show out of New York City as a roadie and also played his violin.  He rode his Indian motorcycle all over the United States and Canada with the opera and, although he wasn’t the best of letter writers, he was a great photographer and sent home pictures from all the places he went.  In the fall and winter, he attended college and graduated with a degree in civil engineering just before his twenty-first birthday.

According to my dad, John was quite the ladies’ man with heart-stopping looks and easy charm.  Sadly, he never had the chance to work as a civil engineer, marry some sweet girl or have a family.  John went fly-fishing with some of his friends along Roaring Creek on a sunny May morning.  His friends moved forward around the bend in the river and after some time noticed that John hadn’t joined them.  When they went back to look for him, they found him face down in the water.  He had drowned.  The newspaper clippings I found in my grandfather’s trunk declared it an accident but none of the papers said what happened.  I offered an explanation for his death in The Violin, but in truth, no one really knew the cause.

After my dad died, I was determined to write John’s story but I wanted to give him a life filled with all the wonderful things he missed.  I wrote The Violin and dedicated it to my dad who loved and missed John until the day he died.  I used real places including the description of my grandfather’s house, the graveyard next to it and the picnic grounds and church just up the hill.  Pop told me so much about the things young people did for entertainment and what everyday life was like in 1927 that I almost felt as if I had been there.  I also learned some wonderful nuggets of information from an elderly woman who knew my father and his brother John when she was growing up.  I loved her stories and they gave me a good female perspective of those days like the flour sacks women used to make dresses and other clothing and accessories. I learned about the first Indian motorcycles from a male nurse who was a motorcycle enthusiast that worked with me in the ER.  Genevieve is completely fictional, but I hope I made her the perfect woman for John.  From a lonely existence in the twenty-first century, Genevieve travels through time to find her one true love.

By Sarah McNeal
Publishing by Rebecca Vickery
Revised edition published December 4, 2011

Loneliness...Mystery...A step through time
Genevieve dreams of him almost every night and has for most of her lonely life. Intrigued, she buys his violin and finds the remnants of his life and the mystery of his death in 1927 revealed within its case. Intrigued, she makes a decision, one that will change her life forever.
Is there a way to change the past and save this man who haunts her heart?

Genevieve began to loosen her grip a little as she grew calmer. A little burn of fear still scorched her stomach, though. "Does this thing have brakes?" she called out the question.

"You'll be glad to know there's two. I have one in my right hand and the other is located under my right foot. You couldn't be any safer." His voice rose above the engine noise. "Isn't this the greatest?" He was obviously enjoying himself.

Genevieve wasn't so sure it was the greatest thing, riding wildly down a dirt road on a motorcycle. In her real life, she would never take such a crazy chance. But there is one thing that makes this dangerous and impulsive antic worthwhile. She got to hold John close to her until she could hear his heartbeat and the vibration of his voice through his jacket on her cheek. The time she spent with John was worth all the heartache that would come later.

BUY LINKS: (Available in E-Book and Paperback)
Rebecca Vickery Publishing
Create Space :
Also available at Barns and Noble and all other online bookstores.

Where you can find me:
Sarah’s Provocative Ponderings: (first Thursday of every month)
My Amazon Author’s Page:


Nancy Jardine said... Best Blogger Tips

Sounds like a lovely read, Sarah! Best wishes.

India-Jean Louwe said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Sarah,
This is a beautiful story especially after reading the history behind it. You were very fortunate to have had grown up around heart warming stories.

Sarah J. McNeal said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you, Nancy. The Violin was written from my heart and I hope it touches the hearts of those who read it.
Thank you so much for dropping by today.

Sarah J. McNeal said... Best Blogger Tips

India-Jean (love your name), thank you so much for your kind comment and thank you for taking the time to drop by.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips


I'm so pleased to have you here today. You're a talented lady and I enjoy your stories.

I love how you came up with your story. What a wonderful touching tribute.

Mae Clair said... Best Blogger Tips

I so love time-travel stories and the history you've shared behind this one makes it especially touching. What a wonderful tribute! This definitely sounds like a book I could lose myself in! Wishing you much success. It's going on my list!

Destiny Blaine said... Best Blogger Tips

*Waving hello to Sarah and Karen* Great blog, Karen. I love your 'angel' greeter. He's very handsome. ;) Sarah, what a wonderful tribute to your uncle. Thank you for sharing your story today. You're a talented lady!


Sarah J. McNeal said... Best Blogger Tips

Karen I consider it an honor to be on your blog.
Thank you for all those lovely compliments. You are such a tresure.

Sarah J. McNeal said... Best Blogger Tips

Mae, how sweet of you to come by and comment.
I wish my dad could have had the opportunity to read The Violin and see himself and his brother in it. I wonder what he would have said.
Thank you so much for coming by and leaving such a sweet comment.

Sarah J. McNeal said... Best Blogger Tips

Destiny, thank you so much for very kind comment. I'm so glad you could come by.

Cheryl Pierson said... Best Blogger Tips

I am going to buy this story. I don't have much time to read anymore, but this is one that has intrigued me since I first met you. I love the idea of taking real history and changing it--I'm a huge "alternate history" fan. I love that John got his HEA after all--I did that with my story ONE MAGIC NIGHT about a family member of mine who had a sad life--I got the chance to fix all that when I wrote his story "according to Cheryl." I know this story is going to do very well--I just love the premise of it, especially knowing how your uncle's life was cut so short too soon.

James L. Hatch said... Best Blogger Tips

Touching introduction. Loved it, as usual.

Sarah Simas said... Best Blogger Tips

What a wonderful muse for the story! I truly enjoyed reading this post. I think it's sweet that you've given your Uncle his HEA. Such a tragic tale deserves a happy ending.

Sarah J. McNeal said... Best Blogger Tips

Hey Cheryl. I totally agree about "straightening out" real family members' lives and making them better. I often thought of John. I couldn't ignore him--I played his violin. I wanted so badly to give him the life I felt he deserved...according to my idea of how it should be.
One Magic Night was a wonderful story. How did I forget that it was about a real family member?
Any way, if you do buy THE VIOLIN, I hope you feel John's spirit in it. Thank you so much for coming by.

Sarah J. McNeal said... Best Blogger Tips

I really do appreciate that you came by today and that you liked in introduction, James. Thank you so much.

Sarah J. McNeal said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm glad you agree, Sarah that John deserved a HEA. Thank you so much for coming by today and leaving a comment.

Jenny Twist said... Best Blogger Tips

Such a lovely post, Sarah. I DID enjoy it.. Really want to read the book

Sarah J. McNeal said... Best Blogger Tips

Jenny, thank you so much for taking the time to drop by and thank you for your kind comment.