Author and fly-fishing enthusiast Gency Brown used her experience as a performing musician to help craft her debut novel A Right Fine Life (The Wild Rose Press, January 2024), the story of a young man striving to succeed in the music industry. Look for Gency on her website at GencyBrown.com, and on Facebook, Instagram, and her Amazon author page.
What do you want readers to know about the story you tell in A Right Fine Life, and what do you hope they take away from it?
I wanted to write about a boy next-door type making it in a tough world but sticking to his standards. It can be done. It takes tenacity, patience, and a passion for what you’re doing.
Who is your main character in the book? What are his flaws and strengths?
My main character is Randy Walters, a young man with a dream. He just may be too nice a guy for Nashville.
What is the main setting of the book, and why is it the best place for the story to play out?
The main setting is Nashville, Tennessee. As Music City, USA it is the center of the business that each young hopeful heads to for a career in country music.
Have you ever been to Nashville? If so, how did that experience affect the story you wrote?
Yes, I have been to Nashville three times and driven through on I-40 many times without stopping. My first time was with my dad in the early 1970s when the Opry was still held at the old Ryman Auditorium. We took a couple of tours of the city including stars’ homes. In writing the book, I was able to use my thrill at being in such a historic place and meeting country stars I idolized. The next time I visited Nashville was on a bus tour of the Smoky Mountains and the area with my aunt. The Opry had moved to the new facility by then, so I’ve been to both. My third time was in October 2023 and boy had things changed by then. Luckily, the time setting for the book utilized my memories of earlier visits instead of the glitz and glamour and very loud music coming from clubs. Good thing, since the book had already gone to print.
What sparked the story idea, and how did the book come together after that?
I wanted to present the life of a music star that wasn’t riddled with alcohol or drugs but would show the human side. It took two years to research and write and one to edit.
When did you know you had taken the manuscript as far as it could go, that it was ready for publishing?
Probably not until the publisher, The Wild Rose Press, sent me the contract. Every time I read it, I find something to change.
You published two short stories in 2022: “Sister” and “Ladies of the Quilt.” After writing short pieces, what challenges did you face writing your first novel?
My main challenge was knowing when to stop. After the word count limitations of short stories, I felt free and had to make sure everything I wrote moved the story forward.
What was your favorite part of putting this project together?
When I was putting the words on the page, the words flowed. Sometimes I had to get out of bed to put down an idea that couldn’t wait.
How has the creativity and discipline you use as a musician helped you in your writing journey?
Music is very structured. In its look on the page and the rules that create harmony. If you play this note, you have to play this one next. In writing, you make a statement or create a scene early on, it affects another twenty pages later. I can improvise, but in the end the words have to harmonize.
What writing projects are you working on now?
I am in the middle of another novel about a woman striking out to follow a passion for writing while looking for answers to questions in her life.
Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
I am appreciative of the learning opportunities and friendships that come to me through SouthWest Writers.
KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kat has a speculative fiction blog at klwagoner.com and writes about memoir at ThisNewMountain.com.