For the last five years I’ve been writing and rewriting a book in which twin sisters, taking alternate chapters, tell their life story. They are child prodigies, musical geniuses, but rather than virtuosos, their instruments are the enigmatic black boxes and warm circuits of the recording studio.
There is a third voice, their bitter old brother. He is the main protagonist, but he’s almost a ghost.
I created playlists of music to listen to as I constructed each character: one sister always seeking out new sounds, forever stretching the possible, the other twin crafting these experiments into something intricate and more beautiful. One is an experimenter, the other is obsessed with craft.
Creativity, it seems to me, is the constant smashing of the old and familiar, and then remaking something new with these fragments. I wanted my book to be about creative children, and about creativity. How we battle against our own instincts to make something worthwhile.
Authors are forever compromising, trying to do things differently, yet always holding back, aware that something too idiosyncratic will frighten publishers and audiences away. My new book may be a little eccentric, but I hope it's not that quirky.
I’ve spent five years nurturing this trio of siblings, taking them from their father’s recording studio in Frankfurt, via their grandparents’ loft in the west of England to the improbable denouement in the deserts of Kazakhstan. Their musical odyssey is a search for authenticity, theirs and mine. It’s the book I’ve always wanted to write, I just hope I can find a publisher who believes in it too.