By Jessica Duchen

Odette, Swan Lake’s enchanted swan princess, is still trying to break her spell

Monday, 22 October 2018

How 'Kate' changed my life


Dear supporters and patrons,

It's all real – Odette is preparing for take-off. You'll have had some updates from the office recently, explaining that the book is in design and editorial, and I thought you might enjoy some insights into what that means for me in particular.

Part of 'editorial', for instance, means reading the whole manuscript aloud to myself and the cat, twice. I nearly lost my voice, but it's worth it: if you speak every word aloud, you don't risk of skipping lines or paragraphs through, um, sheer carelessness. But then...

Eureka! I discovered, just in time for the second and final round of edits, that now my computer has the facility to read aloud for me.

Honest, guv. It has, somewhere in the inner sanctum of its workings, a nice, English female voice called Kate, who sounds straight out of the RSC and can be set to read any highlighted words aloud at the touch of a special combination of buttons. Kate has changed my life. She's helped the brushing up of the manuscript's 72,000 words and I hope it will pay off when you read the book for yourself. 

For example, Kate has helped me...

-- catch repetitions;

-- sense when sentences are still too long, too short or too meh;

-- keep the flow going (I like musical flow in writing, can't imagine why...);

-- spot a couple of little inconsistencies that I really, truly, should have caught first time around;

-- save my voice! 


I also have news - non-Kate this time - about the novel's musical connections.

Those of you who signed up for the Playlist level will receive a link in a few weeks' time to our private playlist on Spotify, which will provide you with tracks to complement your reading: illustrations to the goings-on on the page, featuring works by Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Liszt, Gershwin, Glenn Miller, Elvis Presley and hopefully some Shakespeare speeches if I can find them.

I am particularly happy to include some pieces by Chopin played by the wonderful American pianist Marjan Kiepura, a beloved friend and supporter of my work ever since my first book about Erich Wolfgang Korngold - in the world premiere of whose opera Das Wunder der Heliane Marjan's father, the great Polish tenor Jan Kiepura, took the star lead. 

Now, too, there's the prospect of an ODETTE concert, which will take wing in April thanks to the enthusiasm of my wonderful, stalwart pianist colleague Viv McLean and the brilliant young British violinist Fenella Humphreys, winner of a BBC Music Magazine Award this year, who finds those Tchaikovsky Swan Lake solos just a tad irresistible. If you've enjoyed the other novel-concerts I've presented with Viv and co, you'll love this one! The first performances will be in London, at Music at Mansfield Street and then St Mary's Perivale, we are looking into bookings for the 2019-20 season, and we're open to offers if you would like to book us for your concert series, club or music society (we've even done golf clubs, where Ghost Variations went over very well!). Just drop me a line anytime via my public Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jessicawordsmusic

Huge thanks for reading and have a great week!

Love and best wishes,







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