Monday, June 30, 2008

Henry Harrier and Carl Jung

Henry is a major fan of Carl Jung. In fact I read a lot of Jung when writing the book. Particulary his emphasis on archtypes and cues to bring back memories, sometimes unwanted ones. Then on page 10, two men arrive to present Henry with what Holmes would describe as "a pretty problem."

Sunday, June 29, 2008

An earlier version found

My wife and my father-in-law Orlando Cole were cleaning out some stuff at his apartment and found an earlier version of the story. I don't know when it was written, but it had to be before 2000.

It began: "The scarecrow felt a cold wind of anticipation. Though the evening was warm, he pulled his blanked up around him. This particular night, he felt a foreboding. Evil was very near, and before the night as over, someone would do the devil's bidding."

At some point I must have thought that was good. Anyway, now it reads: "Later, the homeless kid Ben told us how Ian Kearney fell from the Kearney Music School's balcony." You can read the rest of it in this blog.

Kind of better, I think.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Viola jokes

Will is a violist, as am I. On page 9, Henry tells the one about how Julliard had raised the entrance requirements for violists--to get in the violist has to be able to hold the viola unaccompanied. Ha, ha. So Will has to sit there and hear his ilk maligned. And Henry says he's "not entirely untalented" meaning he has at least some. It's Henry's way of paying him a compliment. Rather unartfully, however.

Now, there are a ton of viola jokes. Maybe I'll include a few the next posts. The viola used to be played in orchestra by the least accompished violinists. There has remained an image of the viola player as not quite up to stuff. This is absolutely not true. There are a ton of violists out there today who play as well as violinist. Many prominent violinists play viola as well. The best example to my mind is Pincas Zucherman, who's bright sound on the violin causes him to sound terrific on the viola. Still, Henry tells one because he likes to be the center of attention. And jokes will do that to you.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Moon and Sixpence

To digress from the Kearney book, on vacation I read three novels: Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, Ian McEwan's Atonement, and w. Somerset Maugham's Moon and Sixpence. All were amazing and taught me a lot about writing, but it's the third one that I found most striking. The way he constructed a portrait of the painter from the testimony of others filtered through a trustworthy narrator I found absolutely compelling and caused me to rethink the novel I'm working on now, Hell's Half Acre. I'll get back to the Kearney School tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Henry establishing his dominance over Will

Henry establishes his dominance over Will at the beginning of the story. First, he prevailed upon Will to, against his better judgment, stay with him when in Philadelphia. Then Henry upstages will be opening the door to his apartment before Will can open it with the keys. Could this be foreshadowing their relationship in days to come? It seems like Sherlock and Smiley upstaged just everybody else in their stories.

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Monday, June 9, 2008

Henry's apartment building

Henry lives in a plush apartment building near Rittenhouse Square. Orlando Cole, my father-in-law lives in a high rise retirement center, where he's lived for over 20 years. He's currently 99, an in his 80's when I started this book. I kind of plushed up the place for the book Orlando's apartment building is very nice, don't get me wrong. I just took a little liberty with it.

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Sunday, June 8, 2008

The character of Will

Will is Henry's Watson. I said in previous post, I love the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. Watson provides a record of Holmes's exploits and serves as his scribe, sidekick, alter ego, accomplice, and at times a target for Holmes's intellectual gymnastics. Well I wanted to include a Watson-esque character and in the early drafts he was only that: a thing for Homes to bounce stuff off of. But, it occurred to me that the story might be more interesting if Will had an agenda of his own. I also needed a reason for him and Henry to hook up. In the first Holmes story, Doyle lays that foundation.

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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Rittenhouse Square

I put the Kearney School just a little off Rittenhouse Square at an address which was a vacant lot when I started the book and still is. It seemed to me that the square evoked a sense of history and wealth against which the themes of the mystery would resonate well.

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Below is an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on Rittenhouse Square:

Rittenhouse Square is one of the five original open-space parks planned by William Penn and his surveyor Thomas Holme during the late 17th century in central Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Its boundaries are 18th Street to the East, Walnut St. to the north, Rittenhouse Square West to the west (between 19th and 20th streets), and Rittenhouse Square South to the south (between Locust and Spruce streets).

Originally called Southwest Square, Rittenhouse Square was renamed in 1825 after David Rittenhouse, a descendant of the first paper-maker in Philadelphia, the German immigrant William Rittenhouse.[citation needed] William Rittenhouse's original paper-mill site is known as Rittenhousetown, located in the rural setting of Fairmount Park along Paper Mill Run. David Rittenhouse was a clockmaker and friend of the American Revolution, as well as a noted astronomer; a lunar crater is named after him.

In the early nineteenth century, as the city grew steadily from the Delaware River to the Schuylkill River, it became obvious that Rittenhouse Square would become a highly desirable address. James Harper, a merchant and brick manufacturer who had recently retired from the United States Congress, was the first person to build on the square, buying most of the north frontage, erecting a stately townhouse for himself at 1811 Walnut Street (c. 1840). Having thus set the patrician residential tone that would subsequently define the Square, he divided the rest of the land into generously proportioned building lots and sold them. Sold after the congressman's death, the Harper house became the home of the exclusive Rittenhouse Club, which added the present facade in c. 1901.

Today, the tree-filled park is surrounded with trendy shops, fine restaurants, luxury apartments and two hotels, including a five-star. Its green grasses and benches are popular lunch-time destinations for workers in Philadelphia's Center City neighborhood, while its lion and goat statues are popular gathering spots for small children and their parents. The park is also a gathering spot for some of the more unfortunate residents of Philadelphia; many homeless citizens reside in the park and bathe in the fountains.

The beauty of the Park is due largely to the efforts of Friends of Rittenhouse Square, a public-private partnership with the Fairmount Park Commission. Landscaping, lighting, restoration of fountains and fencing—even the installation and stocking of doggie-bag dispensers—are all projects of the Friends of Rittenhouse Square.

More broadly, the name Rittenhouse Square is used informally to designate the neighborhood surrounding the square itself, at its greatest extent encompassing most of the southwest quarter of Center City, from Market Street in the north to South Street in the south, and from Broad Street on the east to the Schuylkill River on the west. This area of the city, particularly the blocks to the south of the square, contain some of the most expensive residential real estate in Philadelphia. The residents of the area vary widely in age.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Opening

At the outset, a man falls from the balcony of the Kearney Music School. The victim appears to have been pushed. Was he? If he was, who pushed him? And was it the fall that caused his death or was he dead before he hit the ground? And what was he doing on the balcony anyway? He seemed to be looking for someone. Who was that and how was it related? Was it related? Questions, questions, questions.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Ben, the homeless kid.

Ben, the homeless kid, is an important character because he's present at the crime and gives Henry crucial information about the killer. Ben's not based on any specific person. I constructed him as a statement of what can happen to fragile creative people when too much pressure is placed upon their egos. Sometimes harsh treatment by teachers can yield horrible results. I suppose I was thinking in part of the character David, in David Lean's film, David and Lisa, though David's psychosis was brought on by harsh parenting rather than harsh teaching, but there's a parallel. There was a pretty popular film a few years ago by now about a pianist who cracked under the pressures of preparing for performance Rachmaninov's 3rd Piano Concerto. Sometimes harsh pressure can bring a positive result. I've been told that the parents of Nicolo Paganini, the great 19th century Italian virtuoso violinist and composer, used to lock him in his room and not let him out until he'd practiced for 8 hours. The Paganini story may be some sort of music's world the equivalent of an urban myth, I don't know. In Paganini's case the result came out well. Anyway, the character Ben had been a talented teenager when he came to Kearney but cracked under the pressure of harsh teaching. We don't know what role his parents played in all this but we can assume that they pressured him to stay. They either did not know how extreme his teacher was or if they did, they thought that such methodological extremism was necessary. The teacher on which that model was based was a real teacher who taught at the Curtis Institute many years ago. And Ben will talk to Henry and to no one else because Henry is very solicitous of him.


Ian Kearney, the director of the Kearney Music School, an elite musical training school in Philadelphia, dies after a fall from a balcony during a recital. World-famous cellist, Henry Harrier, recently forced from the faculty, returns to investigate Ian's death when his prized former student is arrested. Henry shows through his brilliant and single-minded pursuit of the truth that, as usual, they have it all wrong. This Sherlock Holmes-type mystery leads the reader through the world of classical music and lays bare the conflicts which dominate the lives of talented adolescents when placed under the pressure of studying for a demanding, stressful, and often elusive career as a classical music performer. Henry Harrier is part John Le Carre's George Smiley, part Arthur Conan Doyle's Holmes, and part Orlando Cole the beloved teacher, renowned chamber musician, and until his own retirement, the premier cellist of the Curtis Institute.

Author Profile:

Tim was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, on January 30, 1946. In 1951 he moved with his family to Schenectady, New York, where he lived through high school. He attended Baldwin-Wallace College, Berea, Ohio, from 1964 to 1968. He graduated in 1968 with a B.A. in history and philosophy. He received his Ph. D. in history in U.S. history in 1980 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison after spending 2.5 years in the U. S. Army. Most of his army service was completed in Wuerzburg, Germany, from 1969-1971. In 1972 he returned to Madison to complete his doctoral study. His dissertation, Those Who Moved; Internal Migrants in American 1607-1840, combined the statistical analysis of genealogical and biographical data with the study of traditional literary diaries, letters, and journals.

Tim was a market and survey research consultant from 1983 to 2000 and a smoking cessation researcher from 2000 to 2003. His consulting practice focused primarily on conducting community health needs assessment. He authored hundreds of market research reports and published a number of his assessments in Community Health Needs Assessment published by McGraw Hill in 1996 and in a revised volume published in 1999. In 2000 he joined the staff of the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he conducted smoking cessation research. He published several articles in peer-reviewed journals and spoke at national smoking cessation conferences.

In 2003 he moved to Philadelphia and earned his real estate license. He now practices real estate, works on publishing his novels, and studies and teaches entrepreneurship.Tim has written a dozen novel-length stories, a volume of short stories, and about a 3-foot stack of pages poetry. He is currently working on earning his 4th million in real estate sales, publishing his novels, and working on an entrepreneurish handbook as a support for his students.

Tim is a trained violist and an experienced string quartet player. He is an avid listener to classical music and regularly attends classical music concerts. He has two grown children by his first wife and a stepdaughter with his second wife. He likes to cook, read, write, entertain, develop relationships, and help other people. Formerly Tim used to travel frequently. He doesn't so much anymore. Now he regards the combination of real estate practice, writing and publishing, and the teaching and studying of entrepreneurship as enough of a trip.