I was tagged for this interview by Susan Segal, a marvelous novelist and short story writer. Susan and I met at the MacDowell Colony, where she brought the room to tears at a reading from her heartwarming novel Aria, which has remained one of my favorite books. I’m thrilled Susan is completing her short story collection All I Want and can’t wait to read it. I am honored to be included as part of The Next Big Thing.

What is your working title of your book?

Play for Me or

Where did the idea for the book come from?

The idea was sparked by a conversation with my sister, who was worried about how empty her nest would be when her twin daughters left home for college. She'd put childrearing and her career first, so it had been a long time since she'd focused on her own desires. In contrast, I was discovering a newfound passion for the classical guitar. I was also fascinated at the time with the dynamics of several friends' marriages that fell apart in midlife because one partner was looking for an illusive “something more.”

What genre does your book fall under?

My novel has been called “upmarket commercial/literary” – I’m not 100% sure what that means.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I'd love Robin Wright for my heroine Lily, or perhaps Diane Lane. Ethan Hawke would be wonderful as the neurotic/seductive guitarist JJ, while Kate Beckinsale or Rooney Mara could play prima donna singer Blaise.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Lily Moore risks her marriage and comfortable life in New York City to join musicians on tour when their music ignites in her a long-buried capacity for passion, authenticity, and creativity.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It is represented by my agent.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first draft was very very quick, because I did something I've never done before - I decided to finish a complete draft without allowing myself to go back over each previous day's work. So I completed the entire novel in about four months. Then, of course, I revised and reworked it over the course of several years.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I’d compare this with Julia Glass’s The Whole World Over, because the wife in that book leaves home to try something new, as my character does. I’d also compare it with a very different book, Arthur Phillip’s The Song Is You, because he deals so beautifully with an obsession with a musician.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

In a sense it's the power of music that inspired this story – what Proust has called “a dangerous intoxication.” I wanted to explore both what creates passions that border on obsession and also why, exactly, music has such power to move us.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

For the past 10 years or so I have been doing music reviews and interviews with musicians, and I find their world and creative process endlessly fascinating.
Why do some get to be known or popular while others remain in obscurity, no matter how talented? What keeps them going? I wanted to explore some of that as well.

I look forward next week to reading about Deborah Batterman’s new novel Dancing into the Sun. Her fine short story collection Shoes Hair Nails and collection of linked essays Because My Name Is Mother show her to be an author of both wisdom and humor. I also look forward to reading about Susan Kleinman’s novel All Afternoon, set in the late 1970s. Susan has a deft touch in evoking setting, character, and the interplay of the two.
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Published on March 12, 2013 18:12 • 642 views • Tags: empty-nest, music-fandom, second-chances, strong-female-character
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message 1: by Deborah (new)

Deborah There's very little more gratifying to a writer than being singled out by a writer she admires. Thank you, Celine. I love the premise of 'Stargazer Lily.' Not to mention the title.

message 2: by Susan (new)

Susan Segal Thank you for your kind words, Celine! I can't wait to read Stargazer Lily. Layla was such a lovely novel I can't wait to see what's next!

message 3: by Elisabeth (new)

Elisabeth Kinsey Stargazer Lily looks great! Also, your book, Deborah. I need to read that next! :)

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Celine Keating
I was tagged for this interview by the marvelous novelist and short story writer Susan Segal. Susan and I met at the MacDowell Colony, where she brought the room to tears when reading us an excerpt of ...more
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