Book Review: Body & Soul by Frank Conroy (1993)

Five stars. Amazing. Body & Soul by Frank Conroy

Five stars. Amazing. Body & Soul by Frank Conroy

Of course Conroy was an accomplished jazz pianist. There is no chance a non-musician could write such a vivid story about a musically gifted little boy and about music the way Conroy does. I studied music through to my last year of school; I sing, play piano and guitar. Body & Soul gave me so many ‘a-ha!’ moments; musical moments I did not think could be put into words: Continue reading

Ben Okri’s 10 Truths About Writing

My definition of writerly heaven? A dozen of us in a room with Booker Prize-winning author, Ben Okri. His 10 Truths About Writing changed my world. Maybe they’ll change yours too?

Caroline L. Barron with Ben Okri. Auckland May 2015. Copyright Caroline L. Barron 2015.

Caroline L. Barron with Ben Okri. Auckland May 2015. Copyright Caroline L. Barron 2015.

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Trams, Trumpets and Trenches: Historical Novel Research

Scroll down—my first poll! 

I’ve been writing my book since February. But I’d been researching for a year before that. You know how it goes—research is a great way to distract from getting actual words on a page. To tear myself away from such fascinating capillaries of (never ending) research and get my butt in the chair and actually write, was difficult at first. Looking back from the half-way point, I know now I researched too long and too deeply. But I have no regrets—I’ll know for next time, and some of the conversations I’ve had along the way have blown my mind.

People’s generousness and willingness to help is overwhelming: I’ve talked for hours to the 90-year-old Kiwi wife of a Connecticut trumpeter based in Auckland in 1944 (incredible); I’ve had help from experts on war, adoption, jazz, the recording industry, Hawaiian music, local history, dance, military uniforms and, most recently, experts on Auckland’s transport history.

Thanks Georgina White and Sean Millar

Thanks Georgina White and Sean Millar

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I could even consider myself a fledgling expert on the social and cultural implications of New Zealand’s hosting of between 15,000 and 45,000 United States servicemen at any one time during WW2, while New Zealand men were fighting overseas.

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