One of the questions that I get asked more than any other is, “What inspired you to write this book?” It’s a great question, since most things that we create in life don’t come about with no inspiration. And, such was the case with A Song for Somme.
At the beginning of 2017, I was going through a pretty difficult situation that started to take a toll on me both emotionally and physically. The one writer that really encouraged me through that season was C.S. Lewis. I have always been fascinated with Lewis’s work, but in that particular season of life, I really resonated with his writing. As I read his work, I became fascinated with the life of C.S. Lewis and began to do a lot of research about his conversion from atheism to Christianity. What could make a man go from believing in no God to living a life that revolved around God? Especially after having served in World War I, where Lewis witnessed atrocities that we could have never imagined, there had to be a journey that led him to such a drastic change of belief. And, what did that journey look like? So, my research began.
In a season where I was battling my own faith, I turned to writing to help answer the daunting question: Why is there so much suffering in our world? And, the more I studied, researched, and explored these questions with God, the more I came to discover the same answers that Lewis found for himself to be true. It completely changed my life as God gave me a fresh understanding of suffering, justice, and love. I knew, without a doubt, that I had to write a book that centered around these questions that we all face at one time or another. And, so, the beginning manuscript of A Song for Somme was born.
When I first started writing about my main character, Lloyd Fox, I knew that I wanted his life to reflect the life of C.S. Lewis, which is why his name starts with an L. Little fun fact there. And, I also knew that I had to bring into the story a character who personified J.R.R. Tolkien, writer behind the well known Lord of the Rings and Hobbit series, but also a dear friend of C.S. Lewis, whose friendship made the greatest impact on his own faith. Thus, as you read along, you will be introduced to a man by the name of Thomas (T for Tolkien, ha!).
As for the rest of the story, I wanted music to be the central driving force of the story, especially since I believe that music has the power to change lives. And, yes, that is a quote from the book.
Having grown up around musicians and playing the violin and piano for many years, I have truly been fascinated with the impact that music can make on a person. I still remember the first Symphony that I ever went to, the beauty of all the instruments working together to create a masterpiece that made you feel emotions that you didn’t even know existed. Thus, I knew that I wanted to share my love for classical music in this book, as well as educating the reader about the impact that the war had made on both music and culture. I love history and stories that make you want to do more research after you’ve finished reading them. So, I thought what better way to do this than to make Lloyd an emerging classical pianist in a time when jazz music was revolutionizing the music scene? The framework of the story was set.
Out of all the books I have written, A Song for Somme is my favourite. If I ever write another book, I have a feeling that it will still be my favourite. It has a lot more to do with just the story, but has everything to do with the fact that writing this book has given me an opportunity to share with both believers and unbelievers the change that can happen in our lives if we open ourselves up to a God who loves us more than we can ever imagine. I wrote this book in such a way that both believers and unbelievers could read it and find a glimmer of hope in its pages. It by no means is a Christian book, but it does intertwine faith into the story. I’ve had such a range of readers get ahold of this book, and it was when an atheist shared with me that they appreciated so much how I didn’t shove God down the reader’s throat, but instead gently invited the reader to experience God’s love, that I realized it was completely worth it. Every hour of research, every word written, and every loss hour of sleep was worth it to be able to hear those words and be reminded why I do what I do. I have an entire other post on why I write, but at the end of the day, I write to bring hope into other’s peoples lives, because it is the gift of writing that has done that for me time and time again.
Well, there you go. A little bit of the inspiration behind the story. I hope you enjoyed this read. As always, thank you, the reader, for your amazing support and encouraging me, the writer, to never stop writing. To read more about A Song for Somme, check out a sample of Chapter 1 here.