Brendan Slocumb was born in Yuba City, California, and was raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He was the concertmaster for the University Symphony Orchestra at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and served as the principal violist. The Violin Conspiracy is his first novel. Brendan was recently featured in the the May 2022 issue of Welcome Home, and he graciously answered a few questions!
1. Why did you become a writer?
I’ve always written – songs, short stories, recommendation letters for my students. Don’t tell anybody, but I have a few novels – finished and unfinished – stuffed under my mattress that I hope will never see the light of day. As a musician, I’m accustomed to physically practicing a piece of music for hours on end. So, during the pandemic, when I had more time to dedicate to writing, I decided to really make a go of it. Once I came up with the idea for The Violin Conspiracy, I wrote 1500-3000 words every day, and had a first draft knocked out in about two months. It was a wild ride!
2. What inspired your current book?
As a musician, I’ve always wanted to have a top-of-the-line instrument – and the very top is, of course, a Stradivarius. These are the Rolls Royces of the music world. I imagined that just holding one would awaken something in me, allow me to tap into the mystique, maybe even make me a better player. In the summer of 2019, I started thinking what life would be like if I discovered that my violin was actually a Strad. Owning that kind of instrument would come with serious life-changing implications: it’s incredibly valuable, so what kind of security precautions would I have to take? Would people begin to take notice of my own talent just because of my priceless instrument? These kinds of thoughts got me going, and pretty soon I’d envisioned a poor kid from North Carolina, a musical prodigy who discovers that his family’s old fiddle is actually a life-changing Strad. And then it gets stolen – and he’s the only one who can get it back.
3. What is next for you?
I’ve finished my next novel, which I’m calling ‘The Composer’s Last Score.’ It’s about a music historian and computer linguist who discovers that America’s greatest 20th Century composer was a fraud, a thief and a killer – and the composer’s family will stop at nothing to silence him.