Welcome to Author Wednesday. Today I’m very pleased to introduce Denise Kahn, an amazing woman and author. She was raised in a home filled with music; she’s traveled the world; and she’s a polyglot as she speaks five languages fluently. She’s held jobs with airlines and in the music industry. She incorporates all these loves and experiences into her novels. She’s written three novels so far: Split Second Lifetime, Peace of Music, and Obsession of the Heart. Peace of Music and Obsession of the Heart are part of a trilogy. They can be read as stand alones. She is currently working on the third book of this series. Welcome, Denise. I have so many questions for you, it’s hard to know where to start. So I’ll start with a very basic question about your writing, and we’ll go from there. What messages or themes do you try to convey to your readers?
Spreading the power of music through words, as well as writing a good story that is both entertaining and informative.
Does this mean you incorporate this message/theme into all of your novels?
It seems that in everything I write music always finds its way into the pages. I have always been in awe of this beautiful gift that is music, and have continuously tried to portray its magnificence and its incomparable power. Music is probably the only thing nations have not gone to war over. As in politics, nations might not agree with one another, but people of all countries still respect that other nation’s music. How wonderful would it be to solve the world’s problems with music! In all of my novels music is the ‘glue’ that keeps everything together.
That’s a very astute observation and so true. Music is a commonality we share with people of all races, religions, and cultures. With this in mind, how much of a role does setting play in your novels?
I lived overseas half of my life, in several countries in Europe, and traveled extensively. Then I worked for the airline industry and did even more traveling. I am sure that is why my settings are mainly in other countries, and from there characters of different nationalities unfold.
If you could invite two other authors over to your house for dinner, who would you choose?
Jules Verne and James Michener. I grew up reading their books, and we share a passion for travel and adventure. Can you picture how much fun we would have between the poulet au champagne and the coconut ice cream! But, as they are both deceased we would have to have this dinner in the ‘next life’. However, contemporary authors would be P.C. Zick and Roz Morris, as I believe we have the same writing interests. Of course, I would cook something amazing (love to cook), having thoroughly researched their favorite foods.
I like just about every type of food, Denise, and would be honored to sit at your table since I so admire your sense of description in your work. So since you write about music, do you listen to music while writing?
I like all music, well maybe Rap not so much, especially since you have to listen to the words so carefully. It defeats the purpose of ‘zoning out’ which is what happens when I’m writing. I get so focused that fireworks could be going off, and I wouldn’t hear them. But my favorite kind of music is Spanish/South American (classical guitar/contemporary), but again, I love all music, from opera to traditional folk songs from different nations. Something is always playing in the background. I couldn’t imagine a world without music. Something would definitely be missing.
I agree on all counts. I’m listening to New Age instrumental right now. I do love Latin rhythms, too, but when I’m writing I try not to listen to music with lyrics. If a movie was made about your success as a writer, who would play you?
Meryl Streep because of her flawless accents (and who wouldn’t want to be played by the Great Meryl!?) I am a linguist by trade and speak several languages, five of which are fluent, and all of them are with native accents. By the time I was four I spoke four languages fluently, thanks to my dad, brilliant man that he was. He knew the secret: Expose your children to foreign languages at the earliest age possible. They are like sponges and completely void of inhibitions. I continue his legacy. I always tell parents to speak their mother tongue to their child, especially if they are not from the same country. If both parents are then I suggest the children watch cartoons, films and listen to songs from Spain or France, or whichever language they decide.
Good advice. Thanks for stopping by today, Denise. You’ve given me a thrill today because I can officially slip the word polyglot into this post.
About Denise Kahn: My very first memory of life was the sound of my mother’s glorious voice singing to me, most likely a Brahms lullaby, and I’m convinced that is why music always has a delicious way of creeping into my writing and becomes one of the most important elements.
I spent twenty years in Europe because of my father, who was with the U.S. Diplomatic Corps, and my mother who was an opera singer. I worked mainly as a simultaneous interpreter and translator as I am a linguist and speak several languages. I also worked in the airline and music industries.
I am a proud mother of a gallant Marine who served in Iraq, and among the members of our household you will find Louie the cat, so named because of his clawing love of Louis XV and XVI furniture, and surely thinks he must have been a fearless Marine in one of his former lives.