I am fortunate enough to get to participate in a events and book festivals where I could meet with readers and sell my book. The events are a lot of fun, and I never notice how I tired I am until I’ve just ridden the adrenaline high all the way home at the end of the day. I pull my car into the garage and say “Screw it, I’ll clean out the car when tomorrow. I am too tired now.”

Events are not tiring when I am at them and talking to people. I stand up and greet everyone who stops by my table. “What do you like to read?” Before the event I like to go check out the tables of the other authors. If I don’t have what my visitor is looking for, I will point them in the direction of someone who does. Why push my book on someone who would rather read historical fiction, for example? I explain to the other authors that I am doing that and tell them what mine is about with the hope that they’ll return the favor.

But I do get asked, many times over the course of these events, what my book is about. My elevator pitch is well rehearsed. “Beside the Music is the story of a normal couple who has an 80s metal band move into their house while they record their comeback album, and what this does to their marriage.” I often get a chuckle or a smirk in response. Then I’ll add in a few more details to the story. “Then you throw in a run for public office, a snooty meddling mother in law, and risk of losing a job and then it starts getting real.”

Sometimes the conversation ends there. They buy the book from me, or they politely decline. But other times the conversation continues. “So, how does the metal band end up living there?” OK, well, let me tell you all about it.

Brenda Dunkirk LOVED the Aussie band Hydra when she was a teenager. She especially swooned over the enigmatic bassist, Keith Kutter. But then she went off to college and forgot about her high school heart throbs, you know, like so many of us do. Years later she checks out Keith Kutter’s memoir from the library, and reads it while on vacation. After the trip she is so moved by his story she writes a letter to him. An actual letter. Not a tweet, or a comment on a blog, or a post on a Facebook thread. An actual handwritten letter.

What she doesn’t know is that the band is struggling. They are past their prime, and they are spending like they are still at the top of the charts. They are out of money and have to make a decision: join the real world or make a go at a comeback. They decide to pull a publicity stunt, to meet some of their American fans. Because Brenda wrote a letter, surely she’s a die-hard fan, right?

She and her husband Tim meet Keith Kutter at a fancy restaurant in Newport, RI. The next day Keith and his bodyguard turn up unannounced at Brenda and Tim’s house with engine trouble on a rented motorcycle. Tim is a mechanic, and while he is helping them fix the bike Keith hears the wind chimes on the back porch ring out a rhythm that inspires him to write a song. He demands Brenda’s guitar and composes a brand new song while standing in the pouring rain. Brenda drives him to a basement recording studio that belongs to their friend Del and composes and records the brand new song right before her eyes.

A few days later, Keith is still at Del’s house, the band manager Erik calls and asks if Brenda and Tim are willing to host the band while they record the rest of the album at Del’s studio. Brenda convinces Tim to allow the band to move in, against his better judgement. Tim is not fond of long term house guests, and he is running for state senate, and fears for his prospects at winning the election.

To find out how the rest of the story goes, Beside the Music is available for purchase here.

BJ Knapp is the author of Beside the Music, available for purchase here. Please sign up for the Backstage with BJ Knapp mailing list to get updates on events, signings, dog pictures and so much more.

BJ Knapp is the author of Beside the Music, available for purchase here. Please sign up for the Backstage with BJ Knapp mailing list to get updates on events, signings, dog pictures and so much more.