Interview with Brian Kaufman, Author of A Shadow Melody

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What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write A Shadow Melody?

Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights was an influence, as was some pastoral poetry I’d been reading. But the story originated from childhood events. My father was a NASA scientist. Among other projects, he studied electromagnetic field theory, experimenting with odd Styrofoam shapes wrapped in copper wire. I helped wrap the shapes, feeding out wire while he fashioned tight, perfect rows. That stuck in my memory.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of A Shadow Melody, what would they be?

My novel takes place in 1920, and the music from that era has too much bounce. Maybe Kansas’s “Portrait (He Knew),” if I had to choose a modern song.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

I read a lot of different genres, and that’s reflected in my writing. No use sitting still. I think you can learn a lot by reading outside of your usual genres.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

John Gardner’s “Mickelsson’s Ghosts”/Phillip Fracassi’s “Behold the Void”/Robert Crais’s “Racing the Light”/Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

The proposal. I really liked seeing my protagonists happy.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

My writing habits are work-oriented. Nothing unusual. The quirk is in the pages.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Philosophically, I’m stuck midway between existentialism and nihilism. I would probably make a solid noir character.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

The devices attributed to Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla in the book were real. Oddly, you can order electronic parts online to build Tesla’s device, and I did so.


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