Is there anything more exciting that a cover reveal? Short of the release day itself, I’m hard pressed to think of anything that makes a writer squeal with joy and dash to the nearest keyboard to share their new-found love. I’m so pleased to be hosting fellow author, Anne Barwell, today as she shares with us the cover for her upcoming novel, On Wings of Song.
Thanks, Sarah, for hosting my cover reveal for On Wings of Song 🙂
TL Bland has done a great job in capturing the story and essence of On Wings of Song. It’s not only a great cover, but fits perfectly as part my growing collecting of covers I have framed on my wall.
You can see more of TL Bland’s work at her website.
On Wings of Song releases on the 24th December, which is the centenary of the events at the beginning of the story—The 1914 Christmas Truce.
I’d had a story percolating in my mind for while that I wanted to write which was set during WWI. With the centenary of the Christmas Truce this year, it felt like the right time to tell it. I love stories set during both World Wars, and the time between them. The Truce also really brought home that men on both sides weren’t very different from each other. I also didn’t want this story to favour one side or the other. Instead it needed to be about two men—one German, one British—who each found a kindred spirit in the other, although they were fighting a war on opposite sides.
Music is a universal language, and Aiden’s singing unites both sides as one, for a brief poignant moment.
I’ve played for musical theatre—the modern equivalent of music hall—both as a rehearsal pianist and as a violinist in the band. One of the shows I played in had an ANZAC theme, and commemorated WWI and II. Another show celebrated the music played in music halls in the late nineteenth, and early twentieth century.
Once Aiden and Jochen meet, and also share their love for literature, all the pieces of the story come together On Wings of Song.
Six years after meeting British soldier Aiden Foster during the Christmas Truce of 1914, Jochen Weber still finds himself thinking about Aiden, their shared conversation about literature, and Aiden’s beautiful singing voice. A visit to London gives Jochen the opportunity to search for Aiden, but he’s shocked at what he finds.
The uniform button Jochen gave him is the only thing Aiden has left of the past he’s lost. The war and its aftermath ripped everything away from him, including his family and his music. When Jochen reappears in his life, Aiden enjoys their growing friendship but knows he has nothing to offer. Not anymore.
“I’ve seen it,” Aiden said quietly. “I wish to God I hadn’t.” He looked directly at Jochen. Jochen met Aiden’s gaze. He’d seen an echo of Conrad’s fire in Aiden when he’d talked about his music earlier that afternoon.
“Don’t die on the wire, Aiden.”
“I’ll try not to.” Aiden’s words were an empty promise. They both knew it, but what else was he going to say?
The red-haired man Aiden had spoken to about arranging the burials walked over to him. He too held a shovel, and he wiped perspiration from his brow despite the cold. “There’s going to be a combined service for the dead,” he told them. “In about ten minutes in no man’s land in front of the French trenches.”
As they made their way over, men were already beginning to gather, soldiers from opposite sides sitting together, conversation dwindling to a respectful silence. A British chaplain stood in front of them, a Bible in his hand, a German beside him. Jochen recognized him, although he didn’t know his name. The young man was only a few years older than Jochen and was studying for the ministry—would he ever get the chance to complete those studies?
Jochen and Aiden found somewhere to sit a few rows back from the front and joined the company of men. The German spoke first. “Vater unser, der du bist im Himmel. Geheiligt werde dein Name.”
The British chaplain repeated the words in English. “Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.”
They then spoke a few words each, some from the Bible, the rest from their hearts. Their congregation was silent apart from a few quiet “amens.” Jochen saw a couple of men wipe tears away. He was close to it himself.
Finally the chaplain bowed his head in prayer. When he’d finished, he spoke quietly to the man who had come to stand next to him. It was Captain Williams. He nodded and looked over the crowd, his gaze fixing on Aiden.
Aiden must have guessed what Williams wanted. He inclined his head in response and then stood. Jochen glanced between the two men, confused. What did Williams expect Aiden to do?
“Aiden?” Jochen asked softly.
Aiden smiled at him and began to sing. “O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining….” He lifted his head, his voice strong and clear, each note building on the last to create something truly beautiful, something angelic. Aiden’s eyes shone; his body swayed slightly in time with the music. He was the music.
His audience sat in awe. Jochen could feel the emotion rippling through the men around him, tangible, as though he could reach out and touch it. He felt something inside himself reach out, wanting to be a part of it, to be carried along the wave of pure music, to grab it and never let go.
Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.
In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.
She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth.
Oh, I am such a sucker for historical romances, particularly set in WW1 and WW2! I am looking forward to this release, Anne! What a lovely cover for what I am sure will be another awesome story from you!