Contact: Simone Jung
An Interview with
The Musician is your first novel that was originally written in English. What made you decide to do that for this novel?
When indigenous rights to their land were violently threatened, I decided to create a narrative in which a contemporary and extremely successful young musician only finds peace by valuing and tuning to the rain forest dwellers mind set. My wish was to share, by the means of a contemporary fable, the relevance of the Guarani ecological way of thinking.
Brazilian mythology plays a large part in The Musician. What drew you to these myths?
My father used to tell me that “when human madness harms the planet to catastrophic proportions, the indigenous people will take the lead, because they will be the only ones who can find the path under the stars”.
All along the years I spent listening to narratives from Brazilian indigenous authors, I realized their myths and legends focus on acceptance, inclusion and deep connection with Nature. Thomas is a sensitive artist whose heart is called by the forest without him knowing it. His inner call which will be sensed by beautiful Marlui will break the contemporary paradigm of early fame/untimely death.
In order to intertwine ancient myths with urban characters, I chose to tell the stories through the eyes of 5 different characters, whereas keeping the pace of life at risk thriller.
What kind of research went into writing this novel?
My father, Luiz, was a great admirer of indigenous traditions. As a boy he made friends with people from the Guarani village and their teachings deeply influenced him. As an adult, he traveled to the Xavantes nation yearly. I heard his tales, his experiences among them and inherited his views. For thirty years now I have been giving my contribution by curating indigenous authors and translating their tales. Some years ago, when Estas Tonne came to Brazil, he played at the village and spoke to their healer. I was fascinated by the Guarani approach to sound healing. The chapter 5 strings was inspired by an actual experience at the praying house.
This is your adult debut after a successful career writing childrens’ books. How did writing this novel differ from writing your others?
In Brazil I had been publishing both children’s books and YA novels. Lenora, my first gothic novel, had been inspired by Edgard Allan Poe’s works, yet it took place in Florianópolis, a tropical beach. When I first submitted The Musician to Koehler’s team I thought I had written another YA book, a thriller in a Brazilian scenario. However, maybe due to the choice for 5 different points of views, the retelling of Guarani myths and teachings in a contemporary scenario, editors thought the book should not be limited to a specific target reader. Although I love writing about and for the youth, I took it as a compliment in the sense that the narrative was considered all inclusive.
What do you hope your readers take away from Thomas, Marlui, and the other main characters?
Poetry, beauty and peace can only be seized if we have “eyes to see” them. As in the rainforest beauty derives from diversity. Each character is meant to share a totally new horizon in order to enlarge one's inner landscape. What is a happy ending after all? Sometimes questions are more meaningful than answers. Life is a constant riddle whose answers can move us towards surprising scenarios.