I’m thrilled to welcome back to the Spotlight, author Sara Zarr to talk about her brand new YA novel, The Lucy Variations! This amazing novel is on sale starting today – but stay tuned to see how you can win a free copy!
Sixteen year old Lucy Beck-Moreau had it all and threw it away, at least that’s what her grandfather and parents think. A well-known and loved concert pianist, Lucy quit. Her gifted 10-year-old brother is now the focus, following her former path. His new piano teacher, Will, somehow sparks Lucy into thinking about her former love, and she wonders what it might be like to play again, without living under the heavy expectations and demands of her grandfather. Can Lucy find her own way, rediscover the joy, without being bogged down again by others’ expectations? And can she do it without hurting the ones she cares about the most?
A story about finding joy on one’s own terms, Sara Zarr delves into the emotions of a character searching for herself and making mistakes along the way.
Spotlight on Sara Zarr:
I’m a huge fan of your work and am so happy to read a new novel by you! How did The Lucy Variations come about? What was the initial spark for the story and for Lucy?
This book has been with me a long time, and it’s hard now to go back and identify that first spark. I know that I wanted a character in a family that was strongly identified by one thing, and see this character reject in some way the family’s identifying characteristic. I also knew I wanted to write about a teen girl in a life-changing relationship with an adult male mentor figure. Eventually these different interests came together (through some really different permutations along the way) into Lucy’s story.
Lucy is a gifted pianist who loves music. How much research did you have to do for this novel? Do you play the piano or any other instruments?
I didn’t play piano. I played clarinet, though nowhere near the level of Lucy’s skill or dedication. But music was a huge presence in my childhood, particularly classical music. My parents met in music school and both played and sang and led choirs and groups. So I already had a lot of familiarity with that kind of music and how passionate a person or a family could be about it. I did a little bit of research into the technical details, and at one point observed a master class–talented young pianists getting critiqued by a prestigious performer and conductor. That helped give the story some more texture.
Lucy talks about her loves – particularly music. What are your Loves?
It’s probably not surprising that a lot of Lucy’s loves are my loves. Her love list of music is basically straight from my own tastes. I love music. I love making meaningful connections with people. I try to love the world the best I can.
Win a copy of The Lucy Variations! Just follow these rules to enter the drawing:
1. Comment on this post, and for fun, tell me if you play any musical instruments! I don’t really play any, anymore, but I used to play the piano, clarinet, guitar, and accordion (yes, true). My husband recently bought me a keyboard and I’ve been slowly picking my way through my old piano music. Thank goodness it has headphones!
2. Leave your comment and email address by midnight EST Saturday, May 11th. The lucky winner will be drawn at random and announced here on Tuesday, May 14th.
3. Entrants must have a U.S. or Canada mailing address.
Thanks for stopping by! Good luck and happy reading!