Music as Inspiration for Writing


Book Summary:

In CADENZA, the final book of “The Music We Made” series, the young tenor Brian Martin finds himself on the cusp of superstardom and marriage, until he is compelled to leave behind his distinguished musical family, and his fiancé, in London, to visit the U.S. to see where his famous late grandmother, Maggie Crawford, the only other opera singer in the family, grew up. His journey takes him to Marshall, Minnesota, and Maggie’s hometown high school, where he meets the music teacher, Laura Jones, who helps him with his family history in more ways than he could have imagined.

Lisa Kirazian’s Cadenza and 

“The Music We Made” series

It’s an honor to write this guest post — and to be RRBC’s Spotlight Author for February!

Music inspired me to write “The Music We Made” series – made up of the books BravuraAppassionato and the newly-released Cadenza. They were inspired by my experience as a violinist, my love of music instilled in me by my parents from a young age, and my desire to write something that was a love letter to music and musicians so that others could peek into their fascinating world.

There were three main ways music played a large role in writing Cadenza and the entire series:

1. Music is a character in the overall story. Music occupies the heart and soul of most of the main characters – they are professional instrumental musicians, singers, composers, conductors, advocates, or teachers. As a result, specific pieces figure into the story as well – that they audition with, or perform, create, or teach to others. Each book has a list of pieces at the end that played a role in the book, in case readers want to explore the music on their own.

2. My research explored the great musicians of the 20th century. In getting approved to conduct research at the British Library in London in the mid-1990s, and again in the early 2000s, I was able to pour over concert posters, flyers, programs and recordings of the 1950s to the present, specifically as they related to the characters, opera houses, clubs, concert halls, orchestras and festivals I wanted to portray in the books. In addition, I loosely based the Royal School of Music on an existing music school in London and was thrilled to research it when I was there as well.

3. I listened to music as I wrote it. This was two-fold: when writing those scenes that involved a character performing a piece, I would play that piece in the background while writing. Or when there was a scene that created a certain mood but did not directly involve music, I would select other pieces to play that captured the same mood, while I wrote. Many people love to listen to music to get writing ideas, and my process definitely benefitted from this practice.

I encourage you to incorporate music into your writing routine and forms of inspiration, no matter what your subject matter. Onward!


Author Bio

Lisa Kirazian writes fiction, plays, screenplays, and also directs for stage and screen. Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Performing Arts Magazine, San Diego Union Tribune and many other publications. She is in demand as a speaker and has been a guest on KPBS Public Radio and at various conferences. Lisa is a graduate of Stanford University.

Several of her screenplays have placed in major competitions and festivals. Twelve of her stage plays have been produced across the U.S. and have won numerous awards, including a few publications. She also directed and wrote the adapted screenplay of the short film, “Reflection Day.”

Her novels include BRAVURA, APPASSIONATO, and now CADENZA, the three books of “The Music We Made” series, following three generations in the Driscoll family of musicians and inspired by her experience as a violinist. The series is also being developed for television. 

Lisa lives in San Diego with her husband and two daughters and is involved in the Armenian community locally, nationally and abroad.

Twitter: @kirazian and @TheMusicWeMade

Facebook: @TheMusicWeMade

Website: https://www.lisakirazian.com

Blog: https://lisakirazian.wordpress.com/
Instagram: @lisakirazian

Cadenza on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08QDLVSKL/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_0RSS8DZMN3R1SYCXG1TQ


  1. patgarcia

    Hi Lisa, Hi Joy,

    Lisa, I love how you talk about music being interwoven in your story. I weave music in my stories also because music is a very big part of me.

    Joy, thank you for hosting Lisa.

    I wish you both success in all you undertake to do.

    Shalom aleichem

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Shirley Harris-Slaughter

    Lisa, I’m thinking about your question. I am able to tune out sounds when reading but not so much with writing. Not unless thoughts are pouring out. Peace and quiet works for me. Soothing sounds work as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lisa Kirazian

      That is very interesting, Shirley. I’m glad you have a process that works for you. I think it does depend on what is going on in the scene too – sometimes I need it to be quiet also to help me concentrate. And at other times the music helps me set the mood. Thanks so much for sharing and for your support!


  3. Shirley Harris-Slaughter

    So Lisa, getting inspiration would apply to music you are listening to from a device? I would think it would be a distraction. Your interpretation of music leaves something to think about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lisa Kirazian

      Thanks for writing, Shirley! Hmm. Back in the old days it was a record player, then it moved on to other devices, in the background. I don’t think of it as a distraction because it takes me emotionally to where I need to be to write the scene(s). But everyone is different. Does music figure into your writing process? Would love your thoughts. Thanks again!


  4. RaveReviewsbyNJ

    Lisa, I love the cover of CADENZA! I’m so ready to dig into this!

    Joy, thanks for hosting Lisa today! Her interview yesterday was amazing, but, she wasn’t the star at all – Mom and Dad were just so cute and stole the show for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. yvettemcalleiro

    My nephew plays several instruments, and I love listening to him play. I tried learning the piano and guitar, but it never stuck. I find it so beautiful when one can create such emotion from an instrument. Do you still play the violin, Lisa? Thanks for hosting, Joy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lisa Kirazian

      Thank you so much for hosting today, Joy! I so appreciate your support! And thank you again for reading my work. I just reviewed “Vagaries of Life and Girl Talk” and it was fabulous. Thank you so much again.



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