Seventeen-year-old Sacha McLeod isn’t looking for someone to rock her world. But when she hears the boy in the music store play the guitar, the music thrills her and she falls hard for Dylan and his sound.
Sacha finds herself spending less time with her violin and more time with this guy. Her plans for her violin-virtuoso future—and her self-confidence—are shattered when she screws up the audition for a summer music program. Failure isn’t something she’s had to face before, so when Dylan asks her to spend her vacation with him in the city, she lies to her parents, pretends she won a place in the summer school, and secretly moves in with Dylan.
She’s expecting romance, music, and passion, but when she finds herself playing second fiddle to Dylan’s newly acquired drug habit, she realizes despite what the songs say, sometimes love isn’t all you need.
Targeted Age Group:: 16+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I saw a documentary about a musician friend of mine, and there was one line in an interview that sparked this story. Interestingly, when I went back and re-watched the documentary after writing the book, I couldn't figure out exactly which line was the one that made this story spring to mind, almost fully formed, with a beginning, middle and end. A lot of my own experiences went into this book, which is probably the most personal of all the books I've written to date.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The characters in this book are a mixture of myself, people I know and people I've admired from afar. The main character, Sacha, is someone I've had hanging around in my head for years, just waiting for a story she could be a part of. When the plot for this book came to me, I realized this was the story she was waiting for.
I pick up a yellow package and test its weight. Steel-wrapped, perlon core. I’ve never tried a wound E-string before. Feels good, but really, until it’s strung, tuned, and played, I’m not going to know. I like the weight of the wrapped string, the solidity of it in my palm. I’m comparing the bulk of this string with one of my usual brand when a noise makes me jump. No, not a noise. It’s a wall of noise. A huge tsunami of sound that washes over me and carries me away with it. It wails and shrieks and croons and moans all at the same time. I’ve never heard anything like it. My stomach leaps with something that could be fear or excitement. I can’t tell which. I just know my heartbeat has grown so fast and strong my ribs groan.
As if drawn by a magnet, I’m outside the string room, cutting through the jumbled spaces, the sound growing louder and louder. It reaches into my soul and tears off a piece, carrying it away. What is this music? Can I even call it music?
I stumble into the store’s main room on trembling legs. In the corner, someone is playing an electric guitar. Although playing doesn’t seem like the right word for the way his hands move across the instrument. He’s caressing it. Teasing it. Berating it into creating this otherworldly sound that pummels the walls and assaults my senses. Feedback cackles through the amp and he seems to encourage it, pushing the neck of his instrument closer and closer before tearing it away. Every note burrows into the marrow of my bones, each one digging deeper and deeper until I can’t separate my body from the music swirling around it.
As abruptly as it started, the sound stops. I stagger backward as if the weight of the noise was keeping me upright. I’m still clutching the packages of strings, the paper envelopes growing damp in my palm. My heart raps a staccato rhythm against my ribs and I realize I’m holding my breath.
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