575 pages, A5, Paperback, ISBN 0-9550053-0-2.
Winner of the Christian broadcasting council Gold Award for Best Christian Novel 2005
This is the story of how Bruce Winter saved the Universe! - or was it only the Galaxy? It would have been nice to have known which. How could an obscure, lonely musician turn out to be such a key player in the future of the human race?
A mixture of science fiction, music and romance, this glimpse of the future will have a wide appeal. A former clergyman with a PhD in Biblical Studies, the author currently gives fifty piano lessons a week. He is married with two children. This is his first novel.
You don't need an appreciation of music to enjoy the novel. Most of the music referred to is widely known, but there are one or two more obscure pieces. Here is the orchestral excerpt from Wagner's opera Siegfried that comes on page 220 (Jetzt lock ich ein liebes Gesell!) arranged for Horn and piano, as that is how Bruce imagined it. Here is the theme of the March From The Serenade which he played at a wedding, to give you an idea (page 257). And in case there's any lingering doubt, this was the Rachmaninov prelude played (page 537).
Originally, I thought the book was complete at the end of the first part, A Bomb in the Piano Stool. Then my brother-in-law asked, "but what happens next?" This led in time to parts two and three. When all three parts were first completed, I wanted to make them available in separate volumes, but this was economically unviable. Rather than merge them into a single whole, I have left the three parts separate, with a synopsis of the story so far at the beginning of parts two and three for readers who wish to take a break between parts.
The story is not over. I have written a sequel. Initial response is favourable - my sister-in-law and KG (see below) prefer it to The Piano Teacher, and LS (see below) was so thrilled with it he gave me a bottle of Champagne!. Now I've finished a further sequel, which concludes the series. I have found it intriguing to see the story unravel. I would recommend creative writing to anybody.
with my responses in italics where appropriate
1. I've just started the third part - I'm enjoying it. You write well and the story captures the reader's interest keeping them intrigued. (52 hours after receiving the book). JL
2. I'm enjoying it. The big computer can do anything! I find your replication fascinating. VC
3. I should have left The Piano Teacher with you until Wednesday as, having promised myself that I would read just part one and leave the rest to read on the boat, I find I have now read it all and the jobs are left undone! This shows how much I have enjoyed it. It is a great story, full of interest and very moving at times. Keep writing! KG (piano pupil aged 50+)
4. I read your book over the weekend and I enjoyed it very much... excellent. B
5. I have got to page 55 and I'm enjoying it. I read a few pages in bed last thing every night. AH Sweet Dreams.
6. My mum says she will be wanting some extra copies to give away as presents. RS
7. I'm blown away! It's lovely. It's really taking me out of myself. Is there a sequel? Do keep writing. BJ, laid up with leg in plaster.
8. I felt it was too heavy to take to France, but I've been reading it since we got back and I'm really enjoying it. AM Its weight is heavier than I anticipated. I like font size 12 rather than 10 for ease of reading, and I chose a better paper than I need, but this adds bulk to the book.
9. I'm averaging six pages a day; I wish I could find more time in the day to read it. I must give it to my son too; it's just the sort of thing he likes. DW
10. Just finished reading the book. Well done on creating a very entertaining story - I really enjoyed it. LW
11. My daughter enjoyed it; she might try it on her daughter, aged 10, as she enjoys that sort of thing and has a reading age of fifteen EH. Please let me know how your granddaughter gets on with it; feedback much appreciated.
12. I' m two thirds of the way through. I'm intrigued that you wear sandals, like I do, not that you are Bruce Winter, but I think of you in that way! Very interesting. RT It's not an autobiography, but part of me wishes it was!.
13. I'm enjoying it very much. It's just the sort of thing I like. [later] When can I see the sequel? AM
14. [phone call] My son gave me a copy for my birthday, and it's the best book I've read. I'm really thrilled with it. I thought the sponging bit was excellent. LS You called on my birthday as it happens; it's the best present I could have had. Many thanks.
15. Firstly may I congratulate you on such a great book. Bruce is a marvellous character. He is so warm that it shone through. The flying suits idea was very very novel. I never knew a piano teacher could get up to so much! I would give you 96/100 without hesitation for such an original and dynamic story. The four marks are lost on a single area, the only criticism I have; the e-mail format which is very confusing. As they are so dominant throughout the book, I could not really escape commenting on them. It was such a bold move to try something innovative on your first novel but for me it did not work. I often felt like I was jolted from one place to another. It disrupted the flow of Bruce's adventures. I found I had to omit them. MC Thanks. Yes, I can see what you mean. Sorry if you found the format confusing.
16. I enjoyed your book.
17. I enjoyed it very much. I wished I had been a teenager again... Some of the physics left me confused, but you really went wild with it. Thank you. I've just finished the sequel. Well, it could go on and on, really. You had good fun. B
18. I'm still reading it after three months (I only cover four pages a day). Wonderful imagination. A terrific achievement. I have no idea what a gee is. VDG
19. Well done with the piano tuner! I read it this summer during our annual holiday, and enjoyed it very much indeed. I hope novel-writing is a talent you will develop further. MA How kind of you to write and encourage me. I am most grateful.
20. I read the Piano Teacher on holiday, and on the flight back. It is the only time when flying that I have not noticed the process of landing until we hit the runway! CRP
21. I felt irritated by the way you gave away the source of my excitement at the beginning of part two, and also by the recapping of information from part one. I enjoyed the astronomical calculations and the idea of infinite acceleration. NH Maybe I would have done better to redraft it, omitting the recapitulation, but I felt that readers would not be troubled by it so I left it in place.
21. I've finished it. Very imaginative. Was I the inspiration for the character Chris who was into Am Dram? Sorry, afraid not! It would make a good film. You should send a copy to Steven Spielberg. CK Hmmm... maybe.
22. That was excellent. DW (A year after comment 9 above)
23. We have all really enjoyed your book, The Piano Teacher. I am not a sci fi fan, but it was cleverly done, very readable and a real treat. Philip (aged 13) enjoyed it too. CK