I am so delighted to introduce you to today’s author, Mary Ann Marlowe. Mary Ann works by day as a computer programmer/DBA. She spent ten years as a university-level French professor, and her resume includes stints as an au pair in Calais, a hotel intern in Paris, a German tutor, a college radio disc jockey, and a webmaster for several online musician fandoms. She has lived in twelve states and three countries and loves to travel. She now lives in central Virginia where she is hard at work on her second novel.
Mary Ann, please tell us your story behind the story …
If my relationship with music were on Facebook, the status would be “complicated.” To the outside world, music and I may seem to have it all together, but if you dig a little, you’ll discover a lot of dysfunction lurking under the surface.
My favorite musician and I have a healthy relationship. Although I’m an ardent fan, I don’t consider myself weird about him. He plays huge venues. I show up, watch the show, then go home. I love him, but he doesn’t know I exist. This is normal, right?
On the other extreme, I’m married to a bass player who occasionally drags me to his gigs where I feign enthusiasm while hiding my desire to be home in bed reading a good book in my PJs. (Please don’t tell him this.) I think this is also probably normal. Familiarity breeds boredom, after all.
Here’s where I confess my crazy. Over the years, as I’ve sought out midlist artists in smaller venues, I’ve crossed into the weird middle ground between distant fan and familiar friend. It started innocently enough: I built a fan site. (You’re probably cringing already.) I swear, even then, my motives were pure. I only wanted to share the love with other fans. Then I started meeting these online friends at shows, hanging around until the venues closed, and getting to know musicians who stayed to talk with us after. Over time, lines blurred and friendships formed—although not always reciprocated to the same degree I’m sure.
Thus began an era of me supporting musicians in a hands-on, possibly unhealthy way. On the mortifying end of the spectrum, I’ve created way more fan sites than any adult should admit. I’ve helped lead street teams. I’ve been that fan who brought baked goods to the band. I’ve been asked, “Haven’t you been to enough shows?”
But on the cooler side, these musicians recognize me and smile when they see me in the audience. They sometimes put me on the guest list if I ask. One artist emailed back and forth with me as his songs went from demos to fully produced tracks on his CD. I can’t express how awesome it was to be a part of that process.
Being a giant dork has had other perks. Because of my web experience, I ended up working directly with Atlantic Records to moderate a couple of their fan sites and discuss marketing strategies with managers. Because of my baking, I befriended the entire band—and their family members. One time a bass player picked up a bottle of novelty wine named for a musician and brought it to me several cities later. Another time a musician’s mom fetched me from the airport before a show and took me to a barbecue in her backyard.
But for every cool story, I can match it with an embarrassing anecdote I’d like to bury alongside radioactive waste.
When I started writing Some Kind of Magic, I didn’t intend to tap into those experiences as much as I did, but as soon as I dropped my MC, Eden, into a small club, her world became something so familiar to me, I automatically knew everyone she’d encounter. While Eden herself is, for the most part, the cool, collected music fan I wish I could claim to be, she confronts many much more invested fans—fans who run websites, fans who bring cookies to the band, fans who hang around after the show hoping to meet the artists. I know these people because they’re all me. So, although I poke fun at that aspect of fandom, I do so knowing that I’m poking fun at myself.
Mary Ann has kindly offered to give away two e-books to two lucky readers. All you need to do is leave a comment below telling us about your biggest music star crush – present day or past. Get your comments in by Sunday 12 March, 2017 to be in the draw. Good luck!
UPDATE: And the lucky winners picked out of a hat are Diane Curran and Pamela DuMond. Congratulations!
You can buy Mary Ann’s book here:
Penguin Random House Audio: http://bit.ly/2feO8ey
And you can find out more about Mary Ann here: http://www.maryannmarlowe.com