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First Drafts: Heart, Soul, and Twang

I love TV but don’t watch much of it, because I don’t have a ton of free time, and what little I have I’d rather spend immersed within the pages of a book. But when I land on a show that hooks me, I’m a goner. I’ll watch every season that’s out. This is what happened to me the summer I discovered Nashville.

Nashville had it all—the unending drama, the spine-tingling romance, the Tennessean accent, and songs that—in spite of revolving around trucks and booze—were surprisingly addictive. Plus it was about a city I’d always longed to visit but had never traveled to.

The twang of guitar strings and the lilting Southern accent became so ingrained in me that I ended up dreaming of Nashville that fall, but instead of Rayna Jaymes, my dream was about a woman called Mona Stone, and she was hosting a singing contest in which I was competing. My youngest child unfortunately woke me up before I could find out if I’d won.

As I padded out to the kitchen to simultaneously prep a milk bottle and a strong cup of coffee, I thought about my dream, then thought about it some more as the morning progressed. That afternoon, I came across an article about a girl who suffered from a disease called lipodystrophy. It shocked me so much that I researched it extensively. I think I read every blog post, internet diary entry, and medical case study I could find on it.

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After I was done perusing the internet, I thought: What happens to the people who have extraordinary talent (I was still thinking about my singing contest) but out-of-the-ordinary looks? This question laid down the foundations for the book that eventually became Not Another Love Song.

Although the disease was eventually removed from my story because it wasn’t something personal to me, and thus could be mis-received, I will forever be grateful for having learned about it. Firstly, because it made me aware of a rare condition I had no knowledge of, one that I pray will be cured one day, and secondly, because it gave birth to a girl called Nevada. Although Nev no longer suffers from lipodystrophy in the final draft of this book, the disease shaped her personality and her struggle.

The music scene in Not Another Love Song is no longer as harsh as it was in the original version, but it still encompasses all the heart, soul, and twang I’d initially poured inside.

Not Another Love Song goes on sale July 7! Don't forget to add it to your Goodreads shelf!

Author spotlight

Olivia Wildenstein

USA TODAY bestselling author Olivia Wildenstein grew up in New York City, the daughter of a French father with a …

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