I was in the seventh-grade when I initially came up with the idea that would eventually transform into Lost in the Music. The premise was the same. The setting, however; was the early 1960s during the civil rights era in Alabama. I didn't have a typewriter at the time, so I wrote the entire novel in longhand. I started writing in November 1987 and finished it March 24th of 1988. Some of my earliest readers of the longhand manuscript are still my most loyal readers to this day; readers like Latasha Bryant-Hill and Lisa Witt-O'Bannon. It was an incredible feeling to have them say to me just how much they enjoyed reading it. It gave me the confidence to keep writing and creating. If I could get my classmates engaged into my stories, imagine what I could do with total strangers. I was on to something. It was thirty years later in 2017 while cleaning out my garage that I spotted the manuscript and decided to revisit. I still used the same premise, and same setting. From September 2017 to December 25, 2017, I worked tirelessly on it until I made the mistake trying to format the document and somehow hit the select button and erased my entire document. I thought I had a backup saved, but I didn't. That had to be one of the saddest Christmases on record. I stayed in bed the entire day. I didn't want to eat, I didn't want to interact my family--it was like a death. It wasn't until the summer of 2020--against the midst of the pandemic, George Floyd protests around the world, and the uncertainty of the outcome of the presidential election--that I decided to revisit and revamp my novel. My character's name changed from Maydean to Madeline. The setting changed from the 1960s civil rights era in Alabama to the late 1980s in Los Angeles. I didn't want to write about typical portrayals of Black life in Los Angeles--poor, drug and gang-infested neighborhoods, and gansta rap. I wanted to write about an upscale Black family that lived in an upscale neighborhood--whose seventeen-year-old relative, a piano prodigy, a classically trained concert pianist from Houston, Texas who comes to spend the summer with them--before she heads East to Juilliard. My classical music tastes only extended to the more popular composers, like Beethoven and Mozart. To encapsulate the essence of a pianist who performs classical music I listened to a variety of classical composers with varied styles from distinct periods in history. I watched videos on concert pianists like the legendary Andre Watts and studied their styles and mannerisms. Madeline's character was going to be refined, cultured, a red rose in a sea of black. I wrote Madeline and the other characters with the dreams of one day seeing them come to life on the screen.
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