Q. You’re primarily a musician, and A Tenor Surrenders is your first full-length book. What made you decide to start writing it?
A. I love finding new ways to express myself creatively, and I have always enjoyed reading and writing. I have journals upon journals of poems, rants, and short stories, but I never intended to share them with an audience. One night, as I was finishing one of my favorite novels before bed, I realized that a good story can affect you just as much as any musical performance. I thought to myself, why not? I jumped out of bed and wrote the first four pages of Tenor. It was so much fun that I couldn’t stop, and after ten more chapters or so, voilà! I had written my first book, and Rayna Bradbury was born.
Q. Why did you choose to write an erotic romance?
A. I have always been an entertainer, and I especially love making people laugh. My friends and family sometimes suggest that I should become a stand-up comedian. The romance genre has always interested me because it is so entertaining. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. And sex is funny! It’s also heartbreaking sometimes, and it’s always comforting to read about a character going through the ups and downs we all go through in our love lives. Laughter is what gets us through the storm, though. To quote Truvy in Steel Magnolias, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” Furthermore, from the famous Ouiser Boudreaux, “A dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste.”
Q. You are an opera singer. What’s your favorite opera?
A. It is the same opera as that of the mysterious Maestro from Tenor—Der Rosenkavalier, by Richard Strauss. The story tells the tale of Maria Therese’s young lover, Octavian, finding his true love, the young and vibrant Sophie. The audience is torn between the gut-wrenching choice Maria has to make in letting Octavian go, and the exhilaration of the new love blossoming between Octavian and Sophie. The final trio makes my heart break every time.
Q. How did you choose your pseudonym? Why a throwback to Mr. Bradbury and not, say, Pavarotti?
A. All creative arts have their own unique effect on the human spirit. Ray Bradbury’s books have always represented for me the insanely magical elements in everyday life. When I read Fahrenheit 451 in middle school, I didn’t get it, because I couldn’t imagine a world without books. Now that I am slightly older and am inundated daily with media that seeks to scare me and bring me down, I realize just how precious fantasy is. And you don’t have to travel anywhere or turn on the TV to get lost in it. It’s right there, in your brain.
Q. Are your characters based on real people?
A. Absolutely. Throughout my musical career I have met so many fascinating, incredibly talented people, and I could write a full-length novel about each and every one of them. The Maestro in Tenor is based on my artistic mentor from university, minus, of course, the bloodsucking. There are so many broken souls in music, and I believe that’s what allows them to make such beautiful art. Furthermore, if you are under the impression that all opera singers are large and in charge, google Roberto Alagna, or Rodney Gilfry. Holy Moly. Just wait until you listen to their YouTube clips. Trust me, you will melt.
Q. Do you recommend listening to the pieces that are mentioned in A Tenor Surrenders?
A. Another resounding “absolutely!” Listen to them while you are reading! Mahler’s second symphony is one of the most powerful works of art I have ever experienced. And the duet from Don Carlo, Dio che nell’alma, turns me into a helpless pile of goo every time. In a sexy way.
Q. Do opera and erotica really go together?
A. To answer, I turn to Robert Burns, a famous Scottish poet from the 18th Century. ““Opera is where a guy gets stabbed in the back, and instead of dying, he sings.” In my own words—“Paranormal erotica is where a guy gets his blood sucked out from his jugular, and instead of dying, he has sex.” And finally, words of wisdom from Jack Handy of Saturday Night Live—“I’d like to see a nude opera, because when they hit those high notes, I bet you can really see it in those genitals.” I couldn’t agree more.
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