Brian Paone

Author // Musician

Mentioning a favorite band in your novel gets you...

When I was writing "Yours Truly, 2095," I knew that my main character, Jeff Blue, had to have his love of music steeped in the 70s and early 80s, since he is from 1981. Throughout the book, he makes references to some pretty famous bands: Pink Floyd, Yes, The Who, Queen, Jethro Tull, Genesis, Rush, and The Beatles. But there was one band, that existed in the late 70s and early 80s, that released one of my favorite albums of all time. A little unknown band called Private Lightning. In my book, Jeff also has a special in his heart for Private Lightning's debut self-titled album. There is a half-page discussion about Private Lightning between Jeff and another character, where he is flabbergasted that, in the future, the band hadn't become one of the largest bands in the world. (Sadly, in real life, they only had 3 albums: "Private Lightning," "Blue Jay," and "The Basement Tapes" before breaking up, leaving so many people in the world to never have to chance to discover their music.)

"Yours Truly, 2095" was published in June, 2015. Word got out to the members of Private Lightning, that their album was discussed in length as part of my novel, and as one of my main character's favorite albums. Over the last few month, I have been in touch with THREE of the members of Private Lightning, because of their mention in the book. I have shared emails back and forth with violinist Patty Van Ness, bassist Steve Keith, and singer Adam Sherman. All three members have a copy of the book, and I have even received reviews of the book from 2 of the members. At first I was worried that there would be a cease and desist order on the book, or even worse, a lawsuit. But quite the contrary, they have been so friendly and receptive and APPRECIATIVE that their band became part of my novel, and now exist inside Jeff's world. Steve Keith has even emailed me some rare tracks as MP3s via email as a "thank you," which was amazing to hear some unreleased Private Lightning stuff from 30 years ago. (I even sent a signed copy to the singer... what an odd turn of events. I would give anything to have HIS signature. Ha!)

I grew up listening to Private Lightning. That first album was part of the soundtrack to my childhood and pre-teen years. And all it took was putting them in one of my novels, to be able to connect with 3 members of the band in a personal fashion. So for all you authors out there, you never know. If you make one of your favorite bands part of your storyline, maybe you'll be bouncing emails back and forth with some of the bands members.

 

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