Jamie Logan made his first appearance in my first novel, How I Grew Up, as a high school senior playing the role of Billy Bigelow in his high school’s production of Carousel. He’s handsome, talented, and a super nice guy, and despite having a long-time sweetheart he has a romance of sorts with his leading lady, Melanie Stewart. Something that often happens in high school productions.
Two books later, and Jamie and Sarah’s marriage has failed, mainly because Sarah wanted to be a bride but not a wife. Jamie, who has an unusually fine tenor voice, has been taking lessons with his former high school music director (that’s quite a story in itself) and is encouraged by that teacher and his parents to go back to college and pursue a career. You Are My Song follows Jamie’s journey as he aspires for a career in opera. Self-doubt, family crises and even a hate crime are stumbling blocks he has to deal with along the way, as well as the rivalry and politics he didn’t expect. Jamie just wants to do what he loves: sing.
Equally important to Jamie is having a family, and he and his wife (and who she is may surprise you. It did me!) have two children, Laura and Niall, both musically gifted in very different ways. Jamie’s Children, to be released July 15, is their story. Each of them has life challenges they strive to overcome in order to be the artists and the people they want to be.
Here’s a brief excerpt from You Are My Song. The Kindle edition of this book will be on sale this coming weekend, July 2-4, for ninety-nine cents. While Jamie’s Children is a standalone book (as is You Are My Song), it’s fun to meet characters in one book and get acquainted with them again in a sequel. The year is 1958.
The final piece for his audition was an aria from Puccini’s opera Tosca, “E lucevan le stelle” (“The stars were shining”). Ed had a portable record player in his studio and he had brought a recording of the opera. He played the recording of the aria for Jamie, first explaining to him a little about the opera and what was happening in the story when the aria was performed.
It was a defining moment for Jamie. Hearing this aria sung with orchestra by the great tenor Giuseppe di Stefano transported him. He thought it was the most beautiful thing he had ever heard in his life. Ed saw the look on Jamie's face and knew Jamie had stepped beyond the limits he had set for himself and had caught a glimpse of an entirely new world.
When the aria ended and Ed turned off the record player, he turned to Jamie, intensely interested in hearing what his student would say.
“I want to do that,” Jamie said immediately, his eyes shining. “I want to sing that aria with an orchestra, standing on a stage. I want to sing opera.”
Ed put the record back in the album sleeve and handed it to Jamie. “Why don’t you take this home with you and listen to the whole opera when you have a chance? The aria I assigned you is wonderful, but the entire opera is full of the same kind of music. Puccini was one of the greatest of all opera composers.”
Jamie took the album eagerly. “Thank you so much, Ed. I’ll sure do that. I can’t wait to hear it. See you next week!”
Ed watched Jamie leave. His whole demeanor had changed since he had walked into Ed’s studio two weeks earlier. His head was high, he walked with purpose. The uncertainty Ed had seen was gone. Hearing di Stefano sing inspired Jamie as nothing else could have; Ed had made a good choice with both the singer and the aria.
Jamie’s entire world had changed in two short weeks. He had a goal. He had a purpose. He no longer felt like a failure. His marriage had been a mistake, but his whole life lay ahead of him.
A life in music.
You Are My Song on sale July 2-4, Kindle edition, $0.99