Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Guest Post by Kate Lord Brown, Author of Silent Music

Please join me in welcoming Kate Lord Brown to Let Them Read Books! Kate is celebrating the release of her newest novel, Silent Music, and I'm so happy to have her here today with a guest post about the various mediums she used when researching her story. Read on, and then head over to Amazon and snag yourself a FREE ebook copy of Silent Music before August 29th!

Three marriages, two weddings, one affair which threatens them all. Is it ever too late for happily ever after?

A woman in 1960s New York struggles to place duty before passion, when her son's wedding plans throw the limitation of her marriage and apparently perfect life into the spotlight. 

1939 HONG KONG. Ballet dancer Tess is seventeen. She is unsure about marrying naval officer Kit, but she is pregnant and feels she has no choice but to go ahead with the marriage. 

1961 MANHATTAN. Ballet teacher Tess leads a seemingly idyllic, gilded Upper East life with her husband in their penthouse overlooking Central Park. But Kit asks for a divorce the night before their son announces his marriage. Just as her son's life is beginning, it feels like her youthful dreams and potential have come to nothing. Kit tells Tess they must pretend everything is normal until after Bobby's wedding. But can Tess play the part of a lifetime - that of a good wife?

"Jam packed with all the complexities that come with falling in and out of love." Netgalley

"A woman in the 60’s finding her feet in a world that wants to keep her in a neat little box. A timely read about how women have been pushing against those tight boundaries for generations" Netgalley

"A beautifully written tale about a repressed wife who longs to follow her dreams. Achingly sad at times but wonderfully joyous at others. Twists and turns throughout the whole story kept me hooked until the very last page." Netgalley

Researching Silent Music

by Kate Lord Brown

For each new book, I start a secret Pinterest board to corral all my research - there are about ten of them, hidden away on my profile at the moment. This is the latest public board for my most recent novel, Silent Music: My background is in the visual arts, so I tend to think and write cinematically. I'm known for writing epic twin-timeline historical fiction, and in the early days when you have all these glittering ideas and characters clamouring for attention, spread over a century, it really helps to start pinning down some visual anchors. Before writing each day, scrolling through the images gathered so far helps you key into your story. 

With twin-timeline stories you are always looking for ways to let the stories echo one another, so that the narratives talk to one another over the years. Perhaps writers are magpies. Alongside all the textual research needed for historical fiction, I find amassing a lot of visual material allows you to make unexpected connections. In the olden days (as my children say), before the advent of Pinterest, I used to cut and paste scrapbooks and storylines. It's a lot easier now!

I love that you can also clip video and music links. Every novel has a soundtrack, too. Not surprisingly from the title, music is at the heart of this book - here's the playlist for Die Schritte zu deinem Herzen, the German edition coming out in November.

At the heart of this story I wanted to explore the 'silent music' we all carry within ourselves - our hidden thoughts, desires, dreams. The external music for the story sweeps between favourite ballet pieces and early rock & roll, following the protagonist, dancer Tess, and her journey as her only son leaves home in 1961. 

The starting point for the story was a photograph I found of a little girl with her dogs in the 1930s. The novel begins in wartime Hong Kong and follows Tess to New York. I read widely for this book - from the wartime diaries of westerners held in Hong Kong, to early settlers in Cape Cod, ballet annuals from 1961 and Harrods mail order catalogues for expats in the 1930s. 

It was immensely moving researching the suffering of people in occupied Hong Kong during WW2, and I wanted to counter that sadness with the explosion of pop culture in 60s America. I grew up listening to my parent's LPs, and a favourite was 'Peppermint Rock'. It was great fun writing in the Peppermint Lounge scene. Perhaps that's one of the most wonderful things about writing - it allows you to time travel, and through your characters experience many lifetimes.

About the Author:

KATE LORD BROWN grew up in a wild and beautiful part of Devon, England, and was first published while at school. After studying philosophy at Durham University and art history at the Courtauld Institute, she worked as an art consultant, curating collections for palaces and embassies in Europe and the Middle East. Kate won the BBC International Radio Playwriting Competition, Middle East region, in 2014; was a finalist in ITV's The People's Author competition; and has an MA in creative writing. The Perfume Garden was shortlisted for the UK Romantic Novel of the Year. She lives in the UK and Middle East with her family, and is working on her next novel.

Visit Kate's website and find her on Twitter and Instagram as @katelordbrown


  1. Thanks so much for having me as a guest, Jenny!

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