Ashley Rescot is a professional violinist, educator, writer, and Fulbright scholar. An aficionado of music, pedagogy, family, faith, and language, she writes about her life as a musician. In addition to violin, Ashley developed a passion for French, especially French music. She spent a year abroad in Paris, France as a Fulbright scholar where she taught English and collaborated with local musicians. As a veteran performer and pedagogue, she strives to pass on her love of music and language to the next generation.
In this interview, Ashley talks about her new novel, A Change in Tune, the first book in her Strings of Sisterhood Series.
FF: What inspired the story in your book?
As the oldest of five sisters, I have always considered our family the modern-day equivalent of Little Women. We are the best of friends, and our mutual love of music has kept us close over the years.
Although my story is fictional, many of the fun sister interactions were inspired by real life. However, the sister rivalry in the book was largely added for dramatic effect. All five of us did compete in our Youth Symphony Concerto Competition, each winning the chance to perform our solo with the orchestra. Fortunately, none of us had to compete against each other!
FF: Which character surprised you the most?
Although the second sister, Adrienne, begins as an antagonist, she endeared herself to me as the story progressed. Although I am the oldest sister in my family, in the end, she is the one I identify with the most.
Stay tuned for the second book in the series, where she takes the lead!
FF: What were your biggest challenges or surprises as you were writing this novel?
At first, I struggled to find the balance between Victoria’s musical journey and her relationship with cellist Jerry Chang. Fortunately, my developmental editor suggested I write several chapters from Jerry’s point of view, which I believe added a lot more warmth to the narrative. His struggle with the desire to pursue music as a passion instead of choosing a “more practical” job is one many musicians face.
FF: Why do you think storytelling is such a powerful way to share truth?
When my students are grown up, they may not remember the technical aspects of the craft, but they will remember the stories. Narratives possess the ability to resonate with people in ways that touch their core. Even Jesus used parables in his teaching, so that his listeners would remember his words.
Musicians, authors, and artists alike all grapple with the human condition, and it is our joy to share these truths with others through stories, whether we express them through notes or words.
FF: What do you want readers to take away after reading your book?
I hope that my readers will enjoy a sense of family and belonging at the end of the story. Family means the world to me, and I would like to see its importance grow in our society.
I also hope that readers deepen their love of music and develop a greater appreciation for classical music. Definitely check out my musical playlist (link in website.) It really heightens the reading experience and brings the sounds of the ficitonal Belton Music School to life.
For readers who want a deeper dive into this world of music fiction, please join my weekly music fiction book club by subscribing to my website.
FF: What are the biggest challenges for you as an author writing in your specific genre?
Although I am classifying this book as a contemporary romance, my goal is to create a new genre of music fiction. As a lifelong musician and and private violin teacher, I am passionate about sharing the world of music with others, whether students, colleagues, or fellow music aficionados. I hope this story can resonate with readers of all ages who enjoy a mutual love of music.
It is certainly a challenge to be the pioneer of a new genre, but someone reminded me that science fiction began with a scientist, so it follows that music fiction should begin with musicians.
FF: How has your faith or world view impacted the way you tell stories?
My parents are strong Christians whose faith has played a pivotal role in my life and the lives of my sisters. They are closely depicted by the characters of the Pearson parents throughout the story.
Growing up, at Christmas I particularly enjoyed listening to my dad read Luke 2 and my mother singing ‘O Holy Night.’ Both of my parents really emphasized the true meaning of the season, the birth of Christ. As a result, these moments play a pivotal role in the Christmas scenes of my story, as well as Victoria’s narrative arc.
I even enjoyed the privilege of recording the beloved Christmas carol with my family for a music video in 2020, which you can view on my YouTube channel!
Violinist Victoria Pearson dreams of attending Johann Conservatory of Music in New York City for graduate school. As the oldest of five sisters, she hopes to escape her Midwestern college town and hectic family situation to fulfill her passion in life—music. But when she decides to participate in Belton University’s Concerto competition to bolster her chances of acceptance, Victoria finds herself competing against her sister Adrienne and lifelong cellist friend Jerry Chang. This sets in motion a rivalry that questions the roles of sisterhood, friendship, and maybe love.
Victoria wants to maintain the rigors required of a professional classical musician without losing her family and friends, not to mention her sanity, in the process. The demands of her large family might hinder her ability to achieve her dreams. What sacrifices will she make to reach her goals, and are they worth the cost?
A new, twenty-first-century generation of little women takes the stage in A Change in Tune.
A Change in Tune
Strings of Sisterhood Series #1
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
Release Date: September 15, 2021
Buy A Change in Tune from Amazon HERE!