Monday, January 26, 2009

"The tuning fork fell to the floor ..."

Thus begins—or rather continues—one of the many riveting sexual upheavals in Nikki Magennis’s eroto-rockin’ masterpiece, The New Rakes, which is now available on both sides of the pond!

I like to think of Nikki’s special brand of literary magic as the left brain and the right brain locking together in an orgasmic embrace. Her style and her imagery show an extraordinary blend of precision and sensuality—everything is crisp and heady at the same time, fluid yet grounded.

In The New Rakes, Nikki has crafted a gripping, richly emotional tale that overflows with heartfelt sexuality of the most intense kind, while also offering a seriously meaty, psychologically complex, and literarily nuanced narrative. And it fuckin’ rocks, dudes.

Through the miracle of premeditated, cooperative, intensely planned and heavily publicized blogging, I just happen to have Nikki here with me today. She’s promised to reveal the juicy details of her passionate relationship with rock ‘n’ roll—and, if we’re good, she’ll show us a movie, too!

Take it, Nikki: onetwothreeFOURRRRRRRRRR!

Sheena is a Punk Rocker
(but Nikki is only pretending)

by Nikki Magennis

Okay, I have a confession to make. I wrote a book about music, but I do not get music. Nick Cave makes me weak at the knees. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy makes me stupid with lust. But I don’t understand what a key is or why we need one to make a song.

Of course I love most what I can’t have.

Music draws out the tangles. It distils vague, sticky feelings into something wondrous and amazing. It’s a peculiar kind of alchemy, without which I’d be lost.

That is why I’m in awe of musicians. And why I crush on those who can actually make music. Naturally, I ended up writing a novel full of rock stars having intensely hot, dirty sex.

Mike, the cool as Cristal pianist, Tam the rough guitarist – Kara the sweet-and-dark singer. I can hear all their songs in my head still. The music was a huge part of the writing process, and while most of it was imaginary, I did try to method-write a little.

The next song was the one she loved the best, the one she needed to really feel in her bones before she could sing it.

With a talented muso friend, I wrote a song. Snatches of it can be found in the book, but the whole thing is actually arranged and ready to record.

It turns out trying to organise musicians is like trying to herd cats. I found a singer, drummer, guitarist and bass player, but never in the same room. In the end, I made a band out of paper dolls and a soundtrack from Garageband loops.

Buried deep in my hard drive are unaccompanied, howling-godawful versions of songs from the book that will never, ever see the light of day. I sung them when no-one else was in the house, secret songs just between me and the characters.

I like to think of them as
grace notes in the book’s melody – unseen parts of the story that make it a richer experience.

I learned a lot from writing this novel but the deeper mysteries about music and wanting, and why certain songs turn me on so much remain unanswered. I suppose they’ll always be just out of reach – endlessly fascinating, thrilling with promise, and tantalising enough to keep me reaching for the high notes.

Kara stood, half naked and abandoned, lost, while Mike bent over the keyboard. Had he forgotten her? Was he having second thoughts? Her skin tightened at the thought. She considered picking up her skirt and leaving. As she started to bend down, though, Mike’s voice stopped her.

‘I wouldn’t do that if I were you.’

He didn’t stop playing, not for a moment. The notes still tumbled from the piano, deep and light at the same time. Kara watched his hands, the tendons long and taut as he stroked the keys. She searched his face. Expression had marked him; laughter lines curved deep at either side of his mouth and his forehead was scored with a slight frown. His face was scarred with stories, but to Kara his expression was unknowable.

At last, the piano fell silent. An echo vibrated in the air between them.

‘Touch yourself,’ he said, barely whispering.

Thank you, Nikki, Kara, & co.! And now, readers, it's your turn to sit in with the New Rakes: Nikki has a copy of the book to give away to one lucky commenter!
On the stove for tomorrow: Soup. [Adv.]


Neve Black said...

Hi Jeremy and Nikki!

First and foremost, let me offer a huge CONGRATULATIONS to NIKKI!

I think the story sounds (no pun) like a lot of fun. Torn between two rockers...there are much worse things Kara could do, huh? Musicians are a breed of their own, much like crazy writers, I think. :-)

I'm looking forward to reading The New Rakes!

Thank you Jeremy. :-)

Nikki Magennis said...

Hi Neve! Thank you!

I'd like to say on behalf of the band, we're just so happy to be here!

Jeremy - you're the best support I could possibly wish for, thank you so much.

And here's directions to the secret - after party for those who'd like to read more.

Actually that isn't the after party scene. It's the piano lesson. Still, who's counting, right?!

Nikki Magennis said...

I just looked at your sidebar, Jeremy. Bloody hell! That's a lot of stories!

Do you think there's a way all the really prolific & hard working people could maybe just have a wee break for ten minutes and let me catch up?

; )

Janine Ashbless said...

Hi to two of my fave bloggers!

I love people who can articulate things that I struggle with and distil vague, sticky feelings into something wondrous and amazing. So I adore Nikki!

And, like Nikki, I don't get music. I cannot understand what a key is. I love many songs, but I've no intellectual grasp of it at all. I can't clap a rhythm. I can't tell you if one note is higher than another (though I can tell you if one is flat). I've listened to musos talk and it is literally like another language.

I could just never have written a book like this, so I think you've done something amazing. Congrats Nikki!

P.S. And I particularly like: Kara watched his hands, the tendons long and taut as he stroked the keys.

Donna said...

Ah, Nikki, I've been truly enchanted by your short stories--your rich, sensual prose gets me off even before I reach the actual sex, so the idea of a whole novel is unbearably tantalizing.

I know what you mean about being jealous of musicians. All artists want to touch and move our audience, but musicians seem to have a direct route to the "bones" and the emotions that wordsmiths don't enjoy. We have to flirt and beckon, while the musicians just get to saunter in and grab them in the crotch, lol. But yearning is the source of much of human creativity, so vive la difference!

Finally, I just LOVE your trailer--it's funny, cool, and naughty, but not too naughty for wide distribution.

I raise my glass to your accomplishments, Nikki (I nicked a bottle from Shanna's yesterday, would you like some?)

Nikki Magennis said...

Aw, thank you so much Janine! Today I feel like a confused puppy on speed and like I'm not articubulating anhything very well!

Anyway, (stick to the subject, Magennis) I just tried to focus on what it is I love about music - the intensity and flow and emotional impact, and left the nuts and bolts mechanics of the music to the reader's imagination. See - cheating!

Also, if you get a chance, have a play around on Garageband - actually making music, even in a bastardised mucho-simplified way, helped me to make a dent on my vast musical ignorance.

You certainly have a fine, very sophisticated rhythm and flow in your writing, Janine, so you can't be as sound-blind as you think you are.

Nikki Magennis said...

'saunter in and grab them in the crotch'

Oh, so true!! Dev'lish sexy bastards!

I would love a glass of wine, Donna. It's early, but fuckit. I am supposed to be rock and roll today!

Cheers, and thanks so much for your lovely comments!

(Jeremy. I sense I'm about to get drunk on your blog. Don't worry, though, I won't trash the dressing room.)

Shanna Germain said...

God damn, I love this book. And I wish I had mad movie skills too!

I don't 'get' music either. I mean, it moves me. Somewhere deep in side, it vibrates me and makes my body rise and my heart beat shimmy, but I don't 'get' it. Can't sing a lick, beat a drum or strum a harp.

But I can listen and shake and boogaloo.

Craig Sorensen said...

I daresay you get music better than you know, Nikki.

Music is mysterious by nature. One can master music in a given form (classical, jazz, rock) because there is a form laid out to master, but music unto itself is the wind and the sea and birds and the tumbling of rocks. It cannot be mastered. It can only be embraced.

I loved reading "The New Rakes" and I was drawn in to the settings. You represented the artistry, the soul of the musician well.

I feel you embraced the musical theme with mastery.

Kirsten Monroe said...

Hi Nikki,

I haven't read The New Rakes yet, but I am SO looking forward to it.

Congrats on your incredible accomplishment.

Music truly is so powerful. I don't think you have to get it to "get it" because it is as much a part of us as our blood. Babies respond to music while still in the womb (I played lots of Jimi Hendrix for my boys). I read that scientists believe music and dancing preceded language and that they have discovered flutes made from animal bones by Neanderthals in Eastern Europe more than 50,000 years ago.

Rock on!!

Jeremy Edwards said...

I read that scientists believe music and dancing preceded language and that they have discovered flutes made from animal bones by Neanderthals in Eastern Europe more than 50,000 years ago.

Now that's what I call "early music"!

Nikki Magennis said...

Shanna - you mean like this?.

: )

Ohohoh, tho, when you come to Scotland I'll take you to see the invisible harp! Yes! It's brilliant!

Nikki Magennis said...

'music unto itself is the wind and the sea and birds and the tumbling of rocks. It cannot be mastered. It can only be embraced.'

Wow. I love that! thank you Craig, and it means a lot to me that you thought the book rang true.

'the soul of the muso' - yep, that's what I was mostly going for. Only sometimes something a little bit further down and more sort of pink coloured ...

Jesus, Jeremy, will you take this wine off me now?!

Jeremy Edwards said...

Jesus, Jeremy, will you take this wine off me now?!

Au contraire ... I was about to refill your glass. (You were having the pink champagne, yes?)

Nikki Magennis said...

Oh god, did I open the special fizz already??!

Hey Kirsten, thanks and that's fascinating about the flutes.

I was at a conference about arts and education once and one lecturer gave a fascinating speech about music and how it affects the brain.

Unfortunately the pink wine is affecting *my* brain so I can't quite remember what he said ...

... Something about how it helps forge connections - neural pathways. If a child learns music it concurrently helps them learn mathematics (among other things).

I think music can be sort of a conduit or conductor - maybe that's why it helps me to make sense of those vague, sticky feelings.

Kirsten Monroe said...

Someone just told me the other day that sprinters who play the piano have better fast-twitch muscle reaction times. I wonder what screaming guitars does for muscles.

spamword: kintipy -- sounds like fun to me!

Nikki Magennis said...

For the fast-twitch muscles? Yes, screaming guitarists seem to keep them vibrating pretty nicely!

Jeremy Edwards said...

We've had the invisible Harp at our house, too: one minute there was a glass full of lager in front of me; the next ... POOF!

Nikki Magennis said...

Hehehe! Look, here's a sweet girl who's obviously not as booze-fixated as we are.

Erobintica said...

Oh, I am sooooo late! *tries to find a bottle of something that isn't already emptied* ah! Sip sip, guzzle guzzle.

Nikki - I loved that trailer- Paper dolls! (I still have my paper dolls from when I was ... younger - and come to think of it, mine did nasty things too). Can't wait to read the book.

And Jeremy, thanks for hosting this shindig - is there any more of that bubbly around?

Shanna Germain said...

Ohhhh, god yes! Just like that!

Invisible harp?!?!?!

-wants. bad-

Jeremy Edwards said...

You're in luck, Erobintica! Another case of champers has just been delivered. I told them it was all on Mike's expense account—that's right, isn't it, Nikki?

Nikki Magennis said...

~ Yes. The dressing room might be a bit of a mess but the rider's fucking stupendous. Endless bubbles and invisifizz all round!

Erobintica said...

Ah, thanks Jeremy! A toast to Nikki!

and Mike's expense account ;-)

I embedded that video (I love that term) so I can watch it over and over.

kristina lloyd said...

Love that trailer! The book sounds wonderful.

Nikki, am thinking there's a parallel between the way you're talking about music and what's essential about shagging - ie it's not about keys, treble clefs or cock into cunt at a 52 degree angle, it's about the ineffable ooooooh, what it does to us that we can only ever catch at.

And you're fabulous at catching the mystery and sexiness of sex so on those grounds, I'm sure you've done a damn fine job on the music!

(Umm, is there any mfm in the book? Just, ya know, curious ...)

Oooh, champers! Cheers Jeremy! Does Harp lager still exist? I haven't seen that for years. (Harp stays sharp till the bottom of the glass.)

Spam word: kiess!


Jeremy Edwards said...

Does Harp lager still exist? I haven't seen that for years.

That's 'cause it's invisible.

I'd never thought about what a nice word "embedded" is! I like "rider," too. And "invisifizz."

Nikki Magennis said...

Hi KL,

Thanks so much! God, I'm overflowing with delight today! And ineffable oooohs.

As for mfm, no, it's not really my biggest bag. I enjoy reading it but haven't really been drawn to write it.

There's ffm, fm, mf, fumbled muffs and fe fi fo fum ... rubber.

I did mean to do a handy list of sexual acronyms for the book but never got round to it. Add a little spanking, bondage and various kinds of fucking and that's the recipe, I think!

Emerald said...

I love what you said about music, Nikki. A fascinating commentary! And how cool that you wrote a song!!

I also love music, and I do feel like I relate to what you said about it and why you wanted to write a novel about it and particularly it in conjunction with sex. :) And this interview quite makes me want to read it even more! (Thus I guess it was, at least in one way, an effective interview, lol! ;))

Kristina said
am thinking there's a parallel between the way you're talking about music and what's essential about shagging - ie it's not about keys, treble clefs or cock into cunt at a 52 degree angle, it's about the ineffable ooooooh, what it does to us that we can only ever catch at.

Indeed, I would agree and add that such seems to me to be the essence of life -- in other words, that it is based on energy and consciousness as much as if not more than the actual technical or physical aspects. The degree of consciousness provides the foundation for experience.

Lol @ "confused puppy on speed" and "invisifizz."

On that note, thanks very much Jeremy and Nikki for this delightful interlude on The New Rakes!

EllaRegina said...

Most excellent!

Loved the trailer, too!

I hope you rake it in! ;-)

Jeremy Edwards said...

Thanks again for rockin' the roof off Socks to Fedora, Nikki! And thanks to everyone for crowding into the dressing room!

I'll choose a random winner on Saturday, and phone Kara in the studio with the lucky name.

Nikki Magennis said...

I'm busy eating soup now, but I just wanted to say thanks again to Jeremy and everyone who visited! Me and the band really do have a proper rock and roll hangover! xxx

Cassie Exline said...

I know I'm late to the party, but had to tell you how great your book sounds. Wow! Sorry, I'll use my indoor voice. Don't want to kill the buzz. Congrats, Nikki!