Member News: Book Launch — Back Story: A Novel

Marshall Welch photo

All authors put words to the page. Few, if any, also put music to the printed page. Local independent author, Marshall Welch, has done just that in his new novel, Back Story. He has imbedded QR codes within the narrative that can be scanned by the reader on their mobile devices to hear original songs that are part of his story. Local singer, Aimee Altamirano, gives voice to a major character in the novel. The musical collaboration between author and singer was conducted virtually during the Corona-virus lockdown. A curious “backstory” in and of itself is the fact that the author and vocalist have never actually been in the same room with each other. An example of the innovative inclusion of the songs within the novel is provided here.  

In the story, an old coffee table picture book of Santa Barbara plays an unexpected role in bringing together three souls for a disastrous Thanksgiving meal. Joey Michaels is a washed-up singer/songwriter and manager who is hanging on to his career and past as it spirals away. Laurel Burgess is a wry and insightful college intern who endears herself to Joey through a string of carefully planned outings designed to help him re-enter the world he struggles to understand. Gale Rivers, a bohemian waitress who has reinvented herself in Alaska, finally realizes her life-long dream to visit Santa Barbara only to have it become a nightmare. Their lives intersect during an impromptu Thanksgiving meal together that reveals secrets from the past and present that ultimately sends each of them running away in different directions to rebuild their lives. In the process, Joey captures the experience in songs that are eventually recorded and released by an up and coming singer, Bessie James, through the voice of Aimee Altamirano. Years later, two seemingly random radio broadcasts provide the balm to heal their wounds and the courage to carry on.

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