Skip to main content

Interview with author Rena Fruchter

The Orchestra Murders banner

Today, I'd like to welcome Rena Fruchter, author of the new crime fiction novel The Orchestra Murders.

Q. Thank you for stopping by! Can you tell me who or what inspired you to become an author?

A. I was born writing.  I was writing stories as a small child. Music and literature have always been important parts of my life and career. As a child pianist and child writer, it was a natural progression for me to begin writing about music.  I began interviewing musicians when I was in my teens, and was the youngest music critic at the Boston Herald. I spent many years as a music critic and music columnist, writing for several newspapers in New Jersey, including the Home News. For twelve years, I wrote a music column for the New York Times.


Can you tell me a little about The Orchestra Murders?

A. The Orchestra Masters--A Cynthia Masters Mystery is a 'murder mystery' surrounding the exciting, high-profile, and cut-throat world of classical music.  Of course, cut-throat is not always meant as literally as it is in my book. The musical world includes many extreme characters.  Some of them inspired the characters in my book.  It's a story that was rolling around and developing in my mind for years before I began writing.  The story is set both in Philadelphia and London, two cities I know very well.  I was born and raised in Philadelphia, and lived and studied in London.

In this book, Sir Gregory Langhorne, a famous British conductor,  conductor of the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, and his celebrity violinist son Jonathan Langhorne were close--until a series of murders in the Philadelphia Symphony raised questions about how the brilliant Langhornes might have been involved in these crimes.

Q. That sounds very interesting! How did you come up with the idea for this book?

A. In developing the theme of this book, I drew upon my background as a professional musician, and my connections to both London and Philadelphia. The book was 'brewing' for a long time before the story was ready to tell. I liked the idea of a brilliant female detective, and Cynthia Masters was born. I knew from midway through the book that Cynthia Masters would have to come back for another couple of books. She has a lot more to do.

What are you working on now?

A. I am thinking about the next book in the Cynthia Masters series. I have several themes I'm considering, but haven't made a decision yet. I should mention that writing books is only part of what I'm doing.  I'm also a pianist, and artistic director of Music For All Seasons, an organization that provides the healing power of live music for those confined in all types of institutions. Through Music For All Seasons, we run the Voices of Valor program, in which veterans are assisted with the process of reintegration to civilian life through songwriting.  

That sounds like a great program! When it comes to writing, what are your strategies for making characters seem real so the reader connects with them?

A. For me, it's important that not only the major characters, but the minor ones as well, jump off the page as real people whom we care about.  It has always been important to me that my readers identify with my characters.

Part of it has to do with giving the characters enough detail so that they are believable as people. We need to feel and experience their thoughts and their struggles. We need to understand their flaws, as well as their good qualities. They need to breathe and share their emotions with us.

Q. What sorts of relationships and experiences do you most like to explore in your writing?

A. I like to look at difficult and challenging people and relationships.  Who needs one-dimensional characters?  People are complex.  Unfortunately, people who are ‘nice’ and straightforward don’t make the most interesting characters in a book! There's a lot going on inside most people, and only a small portion of it is evident on the outside.  The beauty of creating a work of fiction is that it can enable us to see inside the minds and actions of complex characters. I love exploring extreme personalities, looking at what makes people do the things they do.

Q. What genres and authors do you most enjoy reading?

A. I have a wide range of authors and styles I enjoy reading, from books like Patricia Hester’s Whispers from the Ashes to Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants to some of the traditional crime fiction and popular authors including James Paterson, as well as Michael Crichton and John Grisham.

Q. What do you enjoy doing when you're not reading?

A. I enjoy playing the piano and preparing for concerts. I enjoy running Music For All Seasons, and attending programs the organization provides.  I enjoy going to concerts and to the theater.  I would say “long walks on the beach,” which sounds like a cliché, but would be somewhat true.  My husband, Brian Dallow, and I own a summer home in Nova Scotia, where we do spend summers on the beach. It’s also a very peaceful place where I can spend a lot of time writing and playing the piano, contrasting with the rest of the year when life tend to be very busy.

That sounds wonderful! Thank you so much for visiting today.

You can connect with Rene Fruchter on her website, Facebook, Twitter.

Read more interviews, guest posts and reviews of The Orchestra Murders on the Pump Up Your Book tour.


Popular posts from this blog

Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Mundie Moms are hosting the Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop in honor of Independence Day in the United States, and I've decided to participate.

To stick with the theme of Independence Day, I'm doing what I did last year for this hop:

I'm giving away a book of your choice that is written by an author from the United States.
It can be any genre as long as the author is from the United States. You choose the book (up to $15), and I'll order it and have it mailed to you from Book Depository.

The contest ends on Thursday, July 5th at midnight Eastern Time. The winner will be notified by e-mail. If they do not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

Happy 4th of July! I hope you have a safe and fun holiday!

Enter here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now check out all of the other giveaways you can enter at the links below!

Leap into Books Giveaway Hop!

This week, I'm participating in the Leap into Books Giveaway Hop hosted by I'm a Reader, Not a Writer.

I'm giving away a book of your choice 
up to $10 from Book Depository.
It's that simple. Just visit  Book Depository and choose any book that is selling for $10 or less.

This giveaway is open to international entries as long as Book Depository ships to your address (click here to check). The contest ends on Monday, March 5, 2012, at midnight Eastern Time. The winner will be picked using and notified by e-mail. If they do not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn. To enter, just leave a comment telling me what book you want to win.

Check out all the other participants in the giveaway hop!

Getting back to blogging

It seems that blogging has dropped to the bottom of my list for the past year, and was pretty low for the year or two prior to that. I love to read, and am continuing to do so, but as my regular readers know I haven't been around much. My last blog post was almost a year ago!!

There are many things that have taken me away from blogging. Work has been much more challenging and interesting these past few years, but that means I really don't want to get back on the computer when I get home at night - or on the weekends.

Family life has been more busy with kids having multiple activities in the evenings, leaving little time to just hang out and write about the books that I read.

I will admit to a bit of a Facebook addiction, which means way too much time spent scrolling through my newsfeed instead of doing something more productive. This is one of the things I'm working on and hoping that this will free up some time for getting back to the blog.

Overall, life is good. Work is …