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  • Bonnie Randall

The Soundtrack of Within the Summit's Shadow

When Buffy Sainte-Marie said "Music has been my playmate, my lover, and my crying towel", it was like she stole the phrase from my heart. As a medium, music operates as a pacesetter for me; every piece of my fiction - no matter how short - has a soundtrack...or at very least a song that becomes its anthem. And, whether it is my own strange Confirmation Bias, or indeed some sort of ethereally symmetrical attunement to the creative process, when I write there are inevitably tracks whose resonance shock me for how aptly the lyrics and tone echo the atmosphere within the story.

Within The Summit's Shadow, a novel that's half ghost story, half love story, and all my character Andrew's story, has spawned the most reverent playlist to date, and is a reflection of so many deeply complex and emotional relationships at work in this novel; resentment, betrayal, malice, misguided loyalty...and love. Deep love. A Great Love.

The intensity between the characters in this novel is as palpable as The Dead Boy's pelting footfalls through the trees, enticing Elizabeth to follow him up the mountain past midnight. A dark anthem wended its way through the imagined black branches as I wrote this scene, a song as eerily deep as all the secrets The Dead Boy is keeping even as he longs for Elizabeth. This is their love song:

In turn, Andrew could just as easily take up his guitar and offer The Dead Boy the following lament. An apology? Perhaps. A confession? Likely. His truth? Definitely.

Andrew is the only character I've ever created who has evaded me, ignored me, and flat-out lied to me as I tried to coax forth his story. In fact,I had written an entire first draft of this novel before he 'fessed up and admitted that I had the identity of The Dead Boy all wrong.

Yet it was how difficult he was that made me love him and I, like Elizabeth, can now say to him: "Andrew, I know what it cost you to show me your scars." That, and if I were also able to assign him a song, the song that makes me think of him without fail, it would be this:

Although no matter what song I, his author, could give Andrew, none would stir him quite as much as this piece, the one his sister Shaynie, upon blackmailing Elizabeth to play at her wedding, said was "The sound of two people in love."

Here's to your Happy-Ever-After, Andrew. Thank you, my tortured cop and haunted stone-mason, for telling me the story of a lifetime.

Within The Summit's Shadow Paperback purchase link

Within The Summit's Shadow ebook purchase link


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