Today I am so excited to host both a Q&A with Heather Dixon Wallwork, author of The Enchanted Sonata, a beautiful Nutcracker Retelling. I reviewed it earlier this week and knew I had to just find out more about this musical book! Without further ado let’s get to the questions. Make sure you read to the end so that you can ever to win a copy for yourself!
Music has power in The Enchanted Sonata. I absolutely adore the idea that music has the power to charm hearts and change our reality. If you had magical music, what would your piece of music do?
I love this question! If I could pick any kind of magical music to have, it would be music that could heal. I’d play the song in hospital lobbies and put the hospital out of business lol.
What’s interesting is that (I believe) music already has this power. I read a biography of a guy who spent several years in a Russian war camp. When finally was released and came home, he was bitter and angry. He would walk the streets at night until the early morning with no direction. Pretty severe PTSD. He was cajoled into going to an organ concert, where he heard Mendelssohn’s Organ Sonata. There was something about the piece that touched him deeply, and he sobbed and sobbed in his concert seat. From that moment forward, something changed in his soul, and he was able to heal and move forward with his life.
Lili here, this story is just absolutely fascinating! I love this because I am so in love with music myself. There’s nothing like a song that takes you back in time.
I love the integration of “The Nutcracker” within The Enchanted Sonata. I had never actually heard the story before your book. So it figures I’d be the last one. Why were you inspired by this story? And have you seen the new film? If so, do you have thoughts?
Oh my word! If you haven’t seen the Nutcracker Ballet, you should totally take the chance! It has such beautiful music and dancing. (And costumes. I could stare at the costumes all day lol.) The only problem is that it’s a little light on story–Clara gets the magical nutcracker at a family party, there is a rat battle, and that’s mostly the end, even though it’s only halfway through. So “The Enchanted Sonata” began with me thinking of ways to fill in those holes. What happened after Clara was taken to the nutcracker’s magical world? Did Clara and the Nutcracker fall in love? Who was the rat king? And so on.
I haven’t seen the new film yet (it’s on my list!) but I hear the music and visuals are just lovely.
I recently just started listening to the music to get me in the Christmas mood, so it’s perfect! I’ll add watching the ballet to my list! I love that The Enchanted Sonata just delves deeper into the story and that we get more of a sense of the story.
If you had to pick five tracks for a soundtrack for this book, what songs would it be? You can pick either music that would go along with the book, or five songs from your own writing soundtrack.
Oh, I have a HUGE playlist on this book! I would listen to it over and over when I’d write on the train. Here are my favorites:
“Dance With Me” by Dario Marianelli (from “Anna Karenina”)
“Once Upon a December”, the piano arrangement by Emile Pandolfi
“Piano Concerto No. 2” by Rachmaninoff
“Mahoney’s Debut” by Alexandre Desplat
And, of course, everything Tchaikovsky from the Nutcracker Ballet!
As Clara reads the story of the Nutcracker she is pulled into the book. If you could get sucked into a magical fiction world, which would you pick?
Oh man, tough question. There are so many great stories out there! I’m a huge fan of the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, and visiting Ank-Morpork would be a real treat. It would be funny to see groups of vampires on street corners, singing Temperance songs and drinking cocoa, watching golems deliver the mail, hear the city guard bantering with each other, and of course, meeting the impeccable Lord Vetinari.
Music is such a large part of this story, what is your persona history with music? Are you a budding pianist?
I love love double love the piano, but don’t practice as much as I should! Lol, story of my life. When I was a kid, my mom would drag us out of bed at 5:00 AM and sit with us at the piano, helping us learn our songs. Eventually I became good enough that I taught piano lessons during college. I was (and probably never will be) as good as my oldest sister, Katie. You could put any piece of music in front of her, and she’d sightread it. Two years ago, Katie passed away from cancer (I’m getting teary-eyed typing this) but I still think of her whenever I hear piano music. I dedicated the book to her…she loved music so much.
Thank you so much, Lili, for the chance to be interviewed! It is an honor.
Thank you for answering my questions! It not only made me emotional (especially that last answer), but it made me appreciate The Enchanted Sonata even more!
You can win 1 copy of The Enchanted Sonata as long as you’re in the US or Canada!
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What ballet/musical performance would you love to see?
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