Guest Post: The Inspirations Behind A Thousand Perfect Notes by CG Drews

Today, I have the amazing CG Drews on my blog, author of A Thousand Perfect Notes. I reviewed this book here: A Thousand Perfect Notes Review.  

Read on to find out the inspirations behind Paper Fury's debut novel...

If you’re a writer, absolutely nothing is safe from being sneakily used as inspiration. I love this, truly love it. Anywhere I go, whatever I do, I’ll be subconsciously gleaning ideas, putting them in my pockets or scrawling them on sticky-notes for later use.

One of my favourite questions to ask is always: “What if?” It opens a thousand doors when you attach those two words to any circumstance. What if I wrote about a pianist? What if he loved and hated music? What if… And on it goes until a story idea is taking shape.

A Thousand Perfect Notes came to life from such a wildly tangled and vast array of inspiration! I wanted to write about music and self-worth, friendship and sibling bonds, and also a goodly amount of delicious cakes. Right now I’m going to unravel 3 of the key inspirations behind this story and go a little deeper behind why I wrote them.

  • Music is the lifeblood of A Thousand Perfect Notes as it’s about Beck, a boy forced to play the piano to live up to his mother’s legacy. I’m also a pianist, although I promise I had a wonderful time learning in high school! (I also had a super lovely teacher unlike poor Beck. Sorry Beck!) I started off partially self-taught and wholly in love with creating music, but as I got older and started to take lessons, prep for exams, and do performances…music became a huge source of anxiety for me. This definitely influenced how I told Beck’s story. He loves composing and daydreaming about music – but the brutal expectations for perfection that his terrifying mother heaps on him end up destroying his love for the piano altogether.

  • There are also some retelling storylines slipped in. I was originally slightly inspired by the idea of a genderbent Cinderella – and while the story outgrew that origin, you can still see hints! (A terrible mother/step mother + a fairy-godmother/uncle here to offer help + a prince/princess Charming who’s inviting him to a party/ball!) I also threaded the tale with some nods to a specific classical composer’s life. Saying his name is a bit of a spoiler, but you’ll know who it is when you read my book! This particular historical composer was rumoured to have been forced to play piano at all hours by his parent, and so that’s reflected in Beck’s experience.

  • Lastly I wanted to write about contrasts. You’ll see these all through the story, with Beck being a withdrawn and quiet teen, lost in his own head and scared to make friends. He’s pulled toward August, a girl from school who defies social normalities, is passionate about animals and learning, and is the kind of friend who’ll sit next you during a tough time and just be there. There’s also the contrast of being passionate about music vs obsessed with it. And another contrast of gently blossoming friendships built on acceptance vs a dark home life where violence is frequent. One of Beck’s most fierce promises to himself is to love his 5-year-old little sister so much to make up for the sin of hating his mother. You can definitely summarise this as a “bittersweet” story for all these reasons.

I’m so pleased I had the chance to write this story, to talk about intensely dark topics and also softly heartfelt topics. It’s a book about self-worth, taking quiet risks, and it’s a book about characters who don’t have to be alone.

Check out the other stops on the A Thousand Perfect Notes blog tour here:

1 comment

  1. I am so, so tempted to google that classical composer's name, but my curiosity is only outweighed by my need to not be spoiled, so I'll restrain myself. I love the idea of a genderbent Cinderella!