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perfect pitch

Author's note:

I got the idea for my novel Perfect Pitch when I listened to some audio tapes that my grandmother Albertine made in her eighties to describe her early life. The stories she told were rambling and hard to follow, but they gave hints about her life as a young woman, including dating my German grandfather, his dreams of playing the saxophone, her critiques of his band, and her love of playing the piano. All these elements made it into the story. She also claimed to have known the Cubs’ star center fielder, Hack Wilson, so I based the character Colby McCoy after him.

In addition, my great grandmother, Birdie Forgue, worked as a midwife from the 1920s through World War II, and this detail was too good to be ignored, so I researched midwifery to make the childbirth scenes accurate. Growing up, I heard many stories about the big house that she and Grandpa Forgue presided over when my dad was coming of age, so it became a natural setting for much of the story.

I set the novel in 1934 so it would coincide with the Chicago World’s Fair and the end of Prohibition. In the story, Albertine, Hendrik and his band play songs that were popular at the time. Most of them are jazz standards today, and I’ve enjoyed learning to play them on my guitar.

The real Albertine with my dad in 1927.
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