Interview with Earl T. Roske
1. In the Tale of the Music Thief music is being stolen from the minds of everyone. This is an interesting concept. Where did the idea come from?
The idea for Tale Of The Music-Thief began with my personal admiration for those who can play instruments, compose, and sing well. I can’t do any of these things. But I am well aware of the power of music to effect our emotions. Songs can bring tears to our eyes and swell our breast with joy. Music in a movie can make the audience nervous or happy. I like a certain kind of music when I’m feeling down because it makes me feel better or just because it matches the mood. So with those thoughts I drifted to the thoughts of what life would be like without music. What if it all disappeared? I wanted to explore that, but I also wanted to write a fantasy so I could use some magic in the story. I wanted to write a story were magic was being industrialized. And the story slowly grew from there. It began as a novella but I started over because there was so much that needed to be said that hadn’t been said. The story grew and the characters evolved until I had what is now the Tale Of The Music-Thief.
2. You have some very interesting characters in the book. Who was your favorite character to write? why?
Allegra, the protagonist, is my favorite character in Tale Of The Music-Thief. Which makes sense, since I chose to center the story around her. But the highway men were a fun challenge because I had to give them different voices. Those voices evolved over several rewrites. And I could say Yib, the giant was fun to write, but so is Trevor because of the interaction he has with Allegra in the first part of the book.
So I have completely failed to answer the question. Allegra is the first favorite because of her role. But all the other characters in Tale Of The Music-Thief held my attention while I wrote them and I enjoyed the time spent with them, even the wharf-rat and the young girl with the mechanical hummingbird.
3. Everyone has a song they sing at the top of the lungs whenever they hear it. What song is this for your?
Oh, I don’t even have to hear it. I sing Yellow Submarine a lot. Mostly because I know the words and the tune. I sing it to my daughter after I sing I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly.
4. What song do you never want to hear again?
Wind Beneath My Wings. I’m a softy and a good Kodak moment commercial can bring a tear to my eye, but I think that song has been greatly abused over time. There are others but I don’t want to let them loose in my head.
5. What songs would be on the soundtrack to your life?
What I would like my soundtrack and life to be like would be lounge style music. Kind of cool and laidback. If you’ve ever seen the remake of Ocean’s Eleven, that kind of music and the group Supreme Beings Of Leisure, that’s the kind of soundtrack I would like for my life and for my life to fit.
6. Favorite book?
Just one!? That’s not fair. Patrick O’Brian’s Master And Commander. I like the whole series but I have read the first book three times as often as the whole series, which I’ve read three times. Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. (I just wanted to add that, too.)
7. Favorite food?
Pizza. A really good vegetarian pizza. I make my own - including the crust - but it’s nice to order a pizza from time to time and the more veggies the better. There’s a pizza that is a fusion of Indian and American flavors - I don’t know the name I just point to it on the menu - that I have once in a while. Too yummy.
8. Favorite movie?
My favorite movie has changed over the years. So, currently, my favorite movie is The Incredibles. It’s a great story about superheroes, it’s a great story about family and its ups and downs, it’s a great story about how we effect those in our lives, if only for a few minute.
9. Favorite summer activity?
I like sailing in the summer time, just can’t afford it these days. So now it’s watching sailboats come in and out of the Berkeley Marina. There’s a little shop just over the bridge and I buy a sandwich there and some fruit then I drive down to the end of the marina, near the yacht club, and sit there and watch the boats glide out and raise their sails before racing out across the water.
10. Favorite restaurant?
It’s a local restaurant. Sala Thai. The veggie pad thai or the red curry over white rice. I could eat there every week.