I've often collaborated with celebrities to write their New York Times best-selling autobiographies. My famous clients include Reba McEntire, Jason Aldean, Glen Campbell, Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Ronnie Milsap and others.
During the span, I also wrote novellas for Britney Spears and LeAnn Rimes. In doing so, I inherited a hunger to write a full-blown novel.
Titled Nashville: Music and Murder, the fiction will be released on February 7, 2017.
The story is set on Nashville's Music Row, a neighborhood of recording stars, their business offices and recording studios. Simply put, Music Row is to Nashville what Hollywood is to Los Angeles. Both are pockets of creativity rooted in commercialism.
During my research, I learned that eighty-seven novels are set in Hollywood. Only one is set on Music Row. It was a retail disaster.
I therefore embarked on writing the first best-selling novel ever set in Nashville's world-famous neighborhood. I wanted to write a mystery but my mind was clueless as to what I'd say. I wanted to become the John Grisham of Nashville.
I pondered the entire neurotic, psychotic, and other dramatic behavior I'd seen or heard during my twenty-eight years on Music Row. I settled on the subject of murder, as four people had been slain during less than three decades in the relatively small and quiet sector of Nashville. Each victim was slain literally within the shadows of music-making real estate.
I drew inspiration from the stalking of Tammy Wynette, a country music singer who was brutally beaten, kidnapped then killed by her fifth husband. (I wrote Ms. Wynette's posthumous biography with Jackie Daley, her daughter.) I drew additional inspiration from singer Loretta Lynn who was stalked by a crazed fan wearing a suit matching Loretta's band members', and walked on stage to assault her.
I brainstormed when I read that Taylor Swift’s Nashville home was violated three times by climbers conquering her security wall.
Maci Willis, my protagonist, was shot by a fan who'd rapidly scaled the front of her stage. There, he pulled the trigger before police and security men could overcome him. Maci and the shooter were taken to the same emergency room in separate ambulances. Upon their arrivals, they were placed on beds only a few feet from each other. The shooter sneaked out of his bed, yanked a pistol from a policeman's holster, and tried to shoot Maci again. Instead, he was killed by another cop, and the story could have ended there.
But the virtual scenario was repeated in another town.
Why? Why would two men want to kill a beloved songstress with iconic adulation? Why was Maci the target of attempted assassinations by other lurking men who didn't bother to attend her concerts?
I found that writing each chapter birthed ideas for the next. That process transpired through twenty-six chapters.
When I wrote non-fiction, my task was to place facts with facts in series of sentences. When I wrote fiction, there were no facts to entwine. I therefore had to "invent" them. All the while, I knew that one artificial detail in one chapter could negate another contrived fact elsewhere in the text.
Consequently, I had to "memorize" my flowing content so as not to contradict myself, and obliterate the storyline's credibility.
The task was often grueling, and always fulfilling.
Title: NASHVILLE: Music and Murder
Author: Tom Carter
Find out more on Amazon
About the Book:
Set against the backdrop of Nashville’s thriving country music industry, Nashville: Music and Murder introduces an unforgettable protagonist: country music’s reigning queen for over two decades, legendary vocalist Maci Willis.
When the novel opens, Maci Willis has taken the stage at Bridgestone area. Performing an unbelievable string of hits to legions of adoring fans, Maci is back for her fourth encore…until a gunshot rings out in a shocking attempt on her life. But who would want country music’s queen dead? And why?
Beloved to fans, but widely known offstage for extraordinary talent and unnecessary drama, Maci miraculously escapes with her life—a life that quickly begins to spiral out of control. Eager to do damage control for the scandalized starlet, Maci’s record label launches an extensive publicity tour in the wake of the shooting. But when an overzealous fan gets way too close for comfort and dies under dubious circumstances, Maci is forced to flee.
Out of the spotlight and on the run, Maci has to face the music. As her carefully-constructed façade crumbles, Maci realizes just how empty, hollow, and meaningless her life has become. But soon, Maci discovers a shocking truth: there’s something sinister behind the music, and beneath the glittery veneer of fame and fortune lurks an unseemly underbelly of greed, deceit, and deadly intentions. Could it be that Maci Willis is worth more dead than alive? Seems like someone is poised to make a killing in country music…
Will Maci finally come to see the light? Or will she even live to see the light of day?
About the Author:
Bestselling author Tom Carter is a longtime Nashville who lives with his wife, Janie, a few miles from Nashville’s legendary Music Row.
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