A former violinist, Erica Miner is now an author, poet and screenwriter. The violin has always been an inspiration and important part of her life and her works are proof of that. In this interview Erica talks about how she first became an author, about violin music, and her novels.
Tell us about your musical background and how you became an author.
I always wrote, from the time I was a kid. When I was seven I was placed in an after school special Creative Writing program and loved it. Then when I was nine I started studying the violin, so I kind of put writing on a back burner. My dad, though not a professional violinist, was my first violin teacher. There was always classical music in the house. My dad and mom listened to it nonstop. My mom especially loved the Saturday afternoon Met Opera broadcasts. Ironic, isn’t it, that I ended up there. But I’m getting ahead of myself. When I started high school, I first began journaling, and it was a huge part of my life even after I reached adulthood. Some of those journals eventually became fictionalized into my first novel, Travels With My Lovers, which is about a woman who is a violinist. In fact, everything I’ve written since the car accident that ended my musical career revolves around music in some way, whether novel or screenplay.
How has the violin inspired your work?
In addition to the above novel, I’ve written several screenplays with protagonists who are violinists, both male and female. I just can’t seem to get away from that. It’s a huge part of who I am, and as they say, ‘write what you know.’ The only problem with that is that sometimes my characters are too close to the real me. I have to work on that.
Do you write while listening to violin music?
I do, but I also listen to chamber, orchestra and opera. It all inspires me. There are times, though, that I need complete silence in order to do the kind of wordsmithing that will be most creatively effective for me. When I’m not listening to music on the radio or computer, I’ve always got something musical going on in my head – I can’t escape it!
Who is your favorite composer? Your favorite violin concerto and why?
Oh, what a question! Okay, you’ve got to take this in the right context; there is no simple answer to that one. But overall, I would say Brahms is my ‘true love’ composer. However, as far as my ‘desert island’ pieces, that would have to include of course some Mozart, as well as Mendelssohn, Schumann, Beethoven, Dvorak, Verdi and Puccini. I guess you can see where I’m going with this. As far as my favorite violin concerto, it’s a toss-up between Sibelius and Beethoven. The latter is just the most sublime, in my opinion, but also terribly difficult to perform ‘perfectly’ - a real challenge. The Sibelius is the most passionate, and the closest to my heart. Whenever I played for someone, tried out a violin, etc., it was always Sibelius that I would play first. By the same token, the Bach Solo Sonatas and Partitas, though not concerti, are on a par with anything I would list as ‘favorites.’ I just loved playing those.