Video: Writing historical debut novel not enough for Latina writer; she had to compose a ‘book score’ too

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LatinaLista — Author Roma Calatayud-Stocks loves history, music and writing. It’s a combination that yielded an award-winning, and unusual, debut novel in 2012 for the Minneapolis native — a historical story with its own musical score, composed by Calatayud-Stocks.

A Song in My Heart, the first in a planned trilogy series, is about a woman named Alejandra Stanford.

Alejandra is born into a privileged bicultural family in Minneapolis of 1902. Growing up, she and her artistic family intimately experience the intermingling of American, Mexican, and European cultural influences, as well as formidable national events that challenge their lives; yet, Alejandra finds music is the perfect expression of her own artistic inclinations, emotions, and ambitions. As a young pianist and budding composer, she is inspired by legendary composers and resolves to become a symphonic conductor despite the obstacles.

Though most authors wait until the movie of their book is made before having their story put to music — and letting someone else do it at that — Calatayud-Stocks worked for over several years researching and composing a compilation that she felt fit her storyline.

The final composition includes 14 vocal and instrumental pieces featuring classical, jazz and Latin music — the exact elements that help propel her story along a timeline described by the book reviewer, GoodReads, as one of the “most historically accurate historical fiction books.”

In the featured book trailer video, it’s not the images in the trailer that make it stand out but rather the music. Calatayud-Stocks’ composition for her novel is highlighted in the trailer which gives readers a chance to get a ‘feel’ for the book before they even read it.

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