Cary Redding is a walking contradiction. On the
surface he’s a renowned cellist, sought after by conductors the world over.
Underneath, he’s a troubled man flirting with addictions to alcohol and
anonymous sex. The reason for the discord? Cary knows he’s a liar, a cheat.
He’s the melody thief.
Cary manages his double life just fine until he gets mugged on a
deserted Milan street. Things look grim until handsome lawyer Antonio Bianchi
steps in and saves his life. When Antonio offers something foreign to Cary—romance—Cary
doesn’t know what to do. But then things get even more complicated. For one
thing, Antonio has a six-year-old son. For another, Cary has to confess about
his alter ego and hope Antonio forgives him.
Just when Cary thinks he’s figured it all out, past and present collide and he is forced to choose between the family he wanted as a boy and the one he has come to love as a man.
Character Interview: Cary Redding has an interesting story to tell.
Cary Redding is one of the main characters in my new
Dreamspinner Press release, “The Melody Thief.”
American, twenty-nine years old, he’s a classical cellist who lives in
Milan and performs all over the world.
Cary is the “melody thief.”
1. What is Cary like? Cary Redding is a man leading
a double life. On the outside, he’s a
renowned classical cellist, sought out by conductors the world over. On the inside, he’s addicted to anonymous sex
and flirts with alcohol addiction. He’d
be the last one to admit it, but he’s lost, lonely, and harboring the ghosts of
a difficult childhood. That’s why he’s
the “melody thief.”
2. What does Cary do best? What
is the perfect location for this action? Cary is an amazing natural
musician. He literally grew up with his
cello and his music—it’s the only thing positive in his life. He was one of the few child prodigies who has
been found success as an adult. He’s
most at home on the stage, playing his cello.
It’s a place where he finds peace and comfort.
3. What drives Cary to do the
things he does? Cary is an addictive
personality. The same way he throws
himself into his music to forget, he also relies upon back-alley encounters,
cigarettes and booze to help dull the pain of his childhood. Underneath it all, though, Cary is a good
man. He knows there’s more to life than
what he’s been living, but he doesn’t know how to find it. It takes the love of a good man for him to
realize that he deserves more than what he has, and that he’s worthy of being
4. You are introduced to Cary. Is
he happy to meet you? Cary wouldn’t be particularly
happy to meet me, because I’d be just another of his fans. Not that he minds that there are people who
love his music, but he doesn’t feel as though he deserves the kind of adulation
he receives from his public. He’d shake
my hand, look me in the eye, and tell me he’s happy to meet me. But it’s all an act: he knows it’s what people expect from him, so
he is polite.
5. What is Cary’s favorite
guilty pleasure? Aside from the sex and booze,
Cary adores listening to any music.
Including 80s pop and cheesy 1950s love songs. He’d never admit it, though, if you called
him on it!
6. How would Cary describe himself? Cary would say he’s got
boy-next-door good looks—nothing all that exciting. In fact, that’s generally how he’d describe
himself: average. Average intelligence, average looks, average
musician. But he’s none of those
things. He just can’t see himself as
others see him.
7. What is Cary’s weakness? Cary would never admit it,
but he’s very sensitive to criticism. He
grew up with a domineering stage mother and he never felt as though he was good
enough. He worries that people won’t
like him and that they’ll see through him as the pretender he really is. He wants to please people, even if it means
that he sacrifices something that’s important to him.
8. Where does Cary go to regroup/unwind? Cary spends his down-time in
bars. And not the nice ones: the seedy, hole in the wall places that
recede into obscurity when the sun comes up.
He goes to drink and to find sex (his substitute for real companionship).
9. What does Cary live for? The only thing Cary lives for
is his music. It’s the only positive
thing in his life, and he struggles to cling to it even when the rest of his
world is crashing down around him.
10. What will Cary kill for? At the beginning of “The
Melody Thief?” Probably nothing. Other than his brother, perhaps, who lives a
world away in the United States, there’s no one and nothing that Cary would
care enough about that he’d risk everything for. But Cary does eventually find two people who
he would do anything for: Antonio
Bianchi and his five year old son, Massimo.
A Few Questions for Cary
1. If you could have one super
power in your existence, what would it be? Super hearing. Definitely.
So you can listen in to what people are saying about you behind your
back. Or maybe the conductor singing under his breath, or the percussionist
tuning the tympani during a performance.
Or the bassoon. You can never
hear them with all the noise the trumpets make.
2. A biography has been written
about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less? “And this Guy’s Interesting
3. If money were not an object,
where would you most like to live? On one of those Greek
islands, right on the water. Because
there’s nothing like the color of the Mediterranean. You know, that turquoise blue that looks like
4. I can never practice long
enough because there’s always something new I can learn about a piece of
5. The next time I perform
I will do better. I’m never happy
with the last performance, I want to play better the next time. I want to do the music justice.
HE SCREWED up his face,
trying to ignore the bright lights at the edge of the stage, which burned his
eyes and left multicolored imprints on his retinas. Cary Redding was barely
fifteen years old, but he sat straight-backed, schooling his expression to reveal
only calm resolve. Unlike some of the well-known performers he had watched on
video, he did not move his body in time to the music, nor did he bend and sway.
The cello became a physical extension of his body, and he had no need to move
anything more than his fingers on the fingerboard and his bow over the strings.
When he played, he was
transported to a place where it didn’t matter that his face had begun to break
out or that he seemed to grow out of his shoes every other month. When he
played, he forgot his fear that he was different—that he was far
more interested in Jerry Gabriel than in Jerry’s sister Martha. When he played,
he felt the kind of warmth he had horsing around with his brother in the
backyard, chasing after a football.
For the past three years,
he had studied the Elgar Cello Concerto, a soulful, intensely passionate
composition, and one he adored. His cello teacher had explained that it had
been composed at the end of World War I, and the music reflected the composer’s
grief and disillusionment. At the time, Cary hadn’t been really sure what that
meant, but he felt the music deep within his soul, in a place he hid from
everyone. In that music, he could express what he could not express any other
way, and somehow nobody ever seemed to understand that although the music was
Elgar’s, the sadness and the melancholy were his own.
At times he was terrified
the audience would discover his secret: that he was unworthy of the music. But
then his fingers would follow their well-worn path across the fingerboard, and
his bow would move of its own accord. The music would rise and fall and engulf
him entirely, and the audience would be on their feet to acknowledge the
gangly, awkward teenager who had just moved them to tears.
Tonight was no exception.
The Tulsa Performing Arts Center was packed with pillars of the community come
to hear the young soloist the Chicago Sun-Times had proclaimed
“one of the brightest new talents in classical music.” Cries of “bravo”
punctuated the applause, and a shy little girl in a white dress with white
tights and white shoes climbed the steps to the stage with her mother’s
encouragement and handed him a single red rose.
He stood with his cello at
his side and bowed as he had been taught not long after he learned to walk. The
accompanist bowed as well, smiling at him with the same awed expression he had
seen from pianists and conductors alike.
In that moment, he felt
like a thief. A liar. The worst kind of cheat.
The Melody Thief
A Blue Notes Novel, Book 2
Available in E-book & Print