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The Author of the
"Novel That Sings"

Maria Veloso is a professional writer and songwriter based in Los Angeles, California.  She is widely acknowledged as the premier specialist of web copywriting, is the Director of Web Copywriting University, and the author of the popular  Web Copy That Sells: The Revolutionary Formula for Creating Killer Copy Every Time (published by AMACOM in 2004).  Midwinter Turns to Spring is her first novel.

This is her story:

In 1997, I began entertaining the idea of writing a novel with a music soundtrack.  I figured, "If a movie can come with a music soundtrack, why can't a novel?" 

Back then, the book-and-CD-combo idea was not new, by any means.  I had seen it done frequently in children's, as well as Christian books.  But the concept of combining a novel and music had not yet been attempted -- and I was up to the challenge.  It never occurred to me in those days that this was a patentable idea.  I just wanted a platform on which to give full expression to both my writing and songwriting abilities.

Therefore, I started composing the music and writing the lyrics of a few songs, intending to use them as the basis for developing a plot for the novel.  In October 1997, I actually sat down and began writing the manuscript, which I titled Midwinter Turns to Spring after one of my songs.  As I continued fleshing out the manuscript, I concurrently reworked the song lyrics to coincide with the novel's plot that was quickly materializing.  Curiously enough, as the songs continually evolved, I also  constantly recrafted the plot of the novel to suit the music. 

Therefore, if one were to ask me -- "Which came first -- the music or the novel?" -- my answer would be "Neither."  They both evolved simultaneously.

How My Boredom Gave Birth to An Idea

I've never been an avid reader of novels.  I've probably read no more than 50 novels in my lifetime -- and many of them were required reading in college.  My reading list usually consists of non-fiction and business books.  Like most people I know, I have a short attention span, get bored easily, and therefore, reach for reading material that does not require a month-long reading commitment like many novels do. 

Whenever friends recommended a novel to me, I would most likely say, "No, thanks.  I'll just wait until the movie comes out."  I always believed that if a novel were good enough, it would eventually be made into a movie -- and then I could experience it in 2 hours instead of engaging in tedious reading for a few weeks or even a month. 

It turns out that I'm not alone in my novel-reading boredom.  A recent survey conducted by the Census Bureau at the request of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) asked more than 17,000 American adults if they had read any novels, short stories, poetry or plays in their leisure time.  The survey's findings showed that only 46.7% did.  That was a decline rate of 14% since 1992.


Indeed, while 53.3% of Americans do not read novels and other literary works, 95% listen to at least one hour of radio each day, particularly music radio.  "It occurred to me that adding the element of music to prose would spark renewed interest in reading novels."

'And why not?' I surmised.

After all, music would intensify the emotional involvement of the reader much like a film score intensifies the emotional appeal of a movie.  But I was convinced that the key to the success of this platform was to make sure the songs are woven intricately into -- and form a significant part of -- the novelís plot.  And that's what I set out to do with Midwinter Turns to Spring.

Today, ten years after I first conceived the idea of writing a novel with its own music soundtrack, Midwinter Turns to Spring has finally reached fruition -- and I have a patent pending on the novel-with-music-soundtrack publishing model. 

I deliberately kept Midwinter Turns to Spring to a length that anyone can read in 3- 4 nights or a single weekend -- and ensured that the extra dimension of music would enable the reader to understand and enjoy the novel's subtle nuances.

This, then begs the question ...

When Will It Be Made into a Movie?

Because of Midwinter Turns to Spring's obvious cinematic potential -- and the fact that it already has its own music soundtrack -- people often ask me if a feature film is in its future.  At the moment, I'm working with an agent to sell the film rights to a Hollywood producer  -- and I've already begun writing the screenplay.   

A percentage of the net proceeds from Midwinter Turns to Spring and its companion music CD is donated to non-profit organizations dedicated to world hunger relief and poverty reduction.


 
 

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Midwinter Turns to Spring
by Maria Veloso
Copyright © 2005 Maria Veloso