Frequently, I’m asked how the idea came about for my debut novel, Welcome to Groove House. I’ve touched on that in several interviews, and I’ve shared the story with fans who’ve asked me on tour. So many people have asked since the novel’s release that I figured I’d blog a bit more detail here.
In 2003, while Y&T was on the Monsters of Rock tour with Whitesnake and Gary Moore in the UK, the guys were ecstatic to be touring in Great Britain again after having stayed away for so long. I looked up at Dave, Phil, Leonard, and John up there on the big stage again and the idea struck me like lightning. And as I watched David Coverdale—who had just crested fifty and looked fabulous, and was strutting around the stage and crooning as smoothly as ever—it struck me even harder. And a story about aging rock stars began percolating in my brain.
Different story elements came to me throughout the whole of that tour. Serendipitously, Timothy Drury (Whitesnake’s keyboardist at the time) had told me that he’d just inherited his grandmother’s house in Greece—and that solidified the story line I’d been considering for an Italian locale. My then-young nephew had been learning guitar and was constantly asking “Uncle Dave” guitar-related questions, which got me thinking about the Brayden character (who is not fashioned after my nephew, by the way). Each day of that tour, my imagination continued to conjure up more pieces to the story.
I began to seriously ponder the twilight years of aging rockers. You see, musicians don’t have 401(k) plans. Such is the plight of myriad musicians who’ve made a living (some, barely) at music but never struck gold: a lifelong career that offers no retirement. Contrary to popular belief, there are many more of those musicians than the wealthy ones, and too many artists still struggle financially.
As the story idea unfurled in my mind’s eye, I didn’t say a word about it to anyone for the entire tour; instead, I kept privately cultivating the concept, and scribbling notes as I constructed characters and scene ideas. While my husband is extremely supportive of everything I do, he often rolls his eyes at my endless flow of “creative ideas” (I don’t mean that in a bad way, it’s just that he’s heard a million of ’em), so I wanted to be certain that I wasn’t just hyping myself on something that was actually a dumb idea. But I knew in my gut that this was pretty cool—and when the excitement lingered day after day on tour, I knew I was onto something. In fact, so much so that I found it difficult to contain my little literary secret for the remainder of the tour . . . but, ultimately, my silence prevailed.
At the end of that UK tour, Dave and I stayed on to vacation in England before the next leg of the European tour. The minute we parted ways with band and crew, I was bursting with anticipation. And as soon as we were alone (and once Dave became acclimated to driving on the other side of the road), I shared my story idea with him. He listened intently as I unveiled my tale, with a glistening in his eyes and a huge smile. He loved it! In fact, he said, “That’s such a great story—you have to do it. This book must be written.”
And so, Welcome to Groove House was born.