Where did Chopin in Kentucky come from?
When I first started writing the book, I thought it was going to be a memoir. But then Chopin showed up, and became my friend. I grew up listening to his music, wondering what he would have made of modern times. His music got me through some difficult chapters, and I wanted to see what would happen if I took the classical art he represents and mixed it up with 1970's folk art and the pop culture of the day. I also wanted to ask, why NOT Chopin in Kentucky? Because art is for everyone, everywhere.
Did Chopin ever visit Kentucky?
No, he lived from 1810 to 1849. While the Kentucky cities of Louisville and Lexington were already in existence, at that time, most of Kentucky was still rural then, and Chopin suffered from consumption (what we now know to be TB). His delicate health limited his travels, and he never came to the United States.
How much research did you do on the life of Chopin?
Part of the reason it took me many years to write this novel is because I read so many books about Chopin and his primary partner and benefactor, novelist George Sand. I read everything I could to understand him, his music, and his attitude toward life, art, religion, and other people. I wanted him to be as realistic as possible.
Where did Misty and the Elvis impersonation idea come from?
I remember when Elvis died, how deeply it impacted the adults around me. I thought Elvis would be a perfect counterpoint to Chopin, because they have many things in common and yet, in some ways, are antithetical to each other. Misty's pragmatic, upbeat personality is based on that of a dear childhood friend, but Misty's character had a story of her own to tell. The Elvis impersonation was a surprise to me, too!
Is there a sequel?
I hadn't intended there to be, but Marie Higginbottom has other ideas. The story will have its way, always. I, the humble servant, have scribed several chapters for Marie Higginbottom and her next adventure, Lost and Found at the Canary Cafe.