FRIEND FRIDAY: Guest Post – The Right Note #gayromance #FriendlyFriday

It’s great to have Anne Barwell visit with the launch of her latest book, Prelude to Love. She’s provided a fascinating guest post plus there’s a giveaway!

The Right Note

Thanks for hosting me today as part of my blog tour for Prelude to Love, a Dreamspun Desire novel from Dreamspinner Press.

I have a Rafflecopter running as part of the tour so be sure to enter.

Music plays a huge part in Prelude to Love.  Everything in this soundtrack is mentioned in the story.  I’ve always had a soft spot for Chopin, and I still have the sheet music for both the prelude and nocturne in this post, although it’s falling to bits now as the book was handed down to me by my father as he used to play piano too. Sadly I’m very out of practise so Joel is a much better pianist than I am now.

With it being set in New Zealand, I wanted to include some local talent, hence the inclusion of some songs by The Mutton Birds.  I had fun choosing the music for Joel’s concert, and have played and/or performed all of those pieces.  We have a local community orchestra for young people that I played in when I was at high school—that is still going strong—and I also taught choirs in several primary schools while I was still music teaching, so I’ve have also taken music from those repertoires.

Incidentally the title for this post was the original title for the book, but I changed it as there was already a book with a similar title.

Chopin’s “Prelude #17 in Ab Major. Opus 28” is the piece the book is named for.  Joel plays it for Marcus before they kiss for the first time, and he also performs it at the school concert.

“Don’t Fear the Reaper” is the first of the songs by The Mutton Birds. I listened to their Best of CD—“Flocked”—as I wrote Prelude to Love. It’s also on The Frighteners’ soundtrack.

“Dominion Road” is the second. Dominion Road is a street in Auckland.  Classic Kiwi Rock.

Radetzky March” is by Johann Strauss Jr. One of those pieces that you’ll know it when you hear it.  Fun to play too.

I’ve always loved Leroy Anderson. My dad introduced me to his music. The Syncopated Clock is one of my favourites.

Back to something New Zealand now with “Hine e Hine”, a Māori lullaby.

Moving forward in time a little with “Puttin’ On The Ritz” by Irving Berlin. This version is Robbie Williams, but I taught a choir this for Artsplash—the Wellington area combined school choir performance—one year.

Joel wanted to choose something familiar for the choir so they wouldn’t be so nervous.  “A Whole New World” fits this perfectly.

And another Chopin to finish off. This time a nocturne for a HEA—Eb Major Opus 9 #2.


Music speaks directly to the heart.

Two very different men face turning points in their lives after the collapse of long-term relationships….

Joel is a music teacher who knows it’s time to forget his ex and move on, while Marcus runs a lawn-mowing business and has come to Wellington to escape the reminders of a recent breakup. Although they’re opposites, when Joel and Marcus connect, their romance has the potential to hit all the right notes.

Too bad neither of them feels ready for new love.

With family and friends in common, dating is risky—things could get messy if it doesn’t work out. The sweet song of possibility draws them to each other, though, and they share a kiss following a Chopin prelude.  But it will take some practice and perseverance to find their perfect harmony….



Joel stood on the stage at the front of the orchestra. He looked up when the door opened, and smiled.

Several of the kids in the orchestra turned around to see what Joel was looking at. A couple of the girls sitting in the front row of violins glanced back at Joel and then again at Marcus, but didn’t say anything.

Joel cleared his throat. “Okay, let’s take that one from bar thirty. Everyone found that? It’s two bars before the first time bar, so we’re going to play from there and do the repeat. I’ll give you a bar for nothing.” He raised his baton. “One. Two. Three.”

The orchestra began playing one of the tunes Joel had been humming the week before.

Marcus found a seat at the front of the hall, next to a woman about his own age. She tapped her foot along with the music and kept her eyes on Joel more than the musicians did.

A few other adults sat around them, listening. One woman seemed absorbed in whatever was on her tablet, although she nodded in time with the music and looked up when the flutes began to play.

Probably parents come to pick up their kids.

Marcus suddenly felt the odd one out, although he didn’t regret coming. Joel had an intensity about him when he conducted that was missing when he gave piano lessons. Although he’d been focused on his students then too, this felt different. Conducting was something Joel clearly loved—it reminded Marcus of when Joel had played the prelude for him.

A trumpet blared, jarring Marcus from his thoughts.

Joel lowered his baton, and although most of the orchestra stopped, the kid playing the trumpet didn’t seem to notice.

“Quentin!” Joel called, and the kid suddenly stopped playing.

“Yes, Mr. Ashcroft?”

“I think you’re a couple of bars ahead of the rest of us,” Joel said. “You’re sounding great, but it doesn’t quite work if you come in at the wrong place.” He spoke softly, so it didn’t sound like a reprimand.

One of the boys playing clarinet grinned, and the girl next to him giggled.

“Everyone makes mistakes,” Joel said. “Next time it might be someone else coming in at the wrong place. Even me.”

The whole orchestra laughed.

“Now,” Joel said, “I think we can run this through from where we were before, but this time we’ll just keep going until the end of the piece. So play the second time bar instead of the first. Okay?”

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press


Barnes and Noble


Click here to enter the Rafflecopter

Blog Tour Details

You can find the list of sites taking part in the blog tour here:

About the Author

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand.  She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts other authors, reviews for the GLBTQ Historical Site “Our Story” and Top2Bottom Reviews, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes.

Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards.  She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.

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3 thoughts on “FRIEND FRIDAY: Guest Post – The Right Note #gayromance #FriendlyFriday

  1. Pingback: Prelude to Love – Sound track | Drops of Ink

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