How far would you go for your closest friends? What if it meant putting your own life and future on the line?
That’s the premise of the novel, Noteworthy Tribute, by Mark and Josiah Bradley – a father and son writing team. The novel follows a large group of friends all on the path to make a name for themselves in both life and the music world. But as anyone who has ever known anything about music knows, making a name for yourself is far from easy.
Cory and Evan are two young men who’s lives are entrenched in their own musical worlds. Cory, having just lost his best friend in a drug-deal gone wrong, is debating hanging up his guitar and moving on altogether. Evan, feeling misunderstood and uncertain of his direction, is still hoping to strike it big though is uncertain of how exactly he’s going to go about doing so. After a chance meeting on a pier and a few jam-sessions later, the boys find themselves the best of friends and making the best music of their young lives. With great success though, comes the lowest of low, and they must figure out how to overcome whatever is thrown at them in order to still come out on top.
Having put my toe into the music world a time or two myself, the premise of this book really resonated with me personally. But what I quickly learned was that this was more than just a simple story about some friends wanting to get famous through their music. Relationships, staying out of trouble, family deaths – these are just a few of the things that are thrown their way and each carries a meaningful and lasting message for the reader. If you’re looking for surface-level, this novel isn’t it. But if you’re looking to immerse yourself into a world that feels so real, you catch your heart racing, this is the perfect book for you.
A fascinating, fast-paced, and truly heartwarming read, Noteworthy Tribute is truly a magnificent tribute to the hard work that goes into chasing after your dreams. I assure you, you’ll be recommending this book for years to come.
After reading Noteworthy Tribute, I had the opportunity to ask a few questions of Mark + Josiah Bradley. Check out what they had to say on their inspirations and writing styles.
What would you say was your inspiration for writing Noteworthy Tribute?
Mark: The inspiration to write Noteworthy Tribute came to me during one of my very first visits to Virginia Beach. I was driving on I-64 coming through the tunnel, when you exit the tunnel water surrounds you on all sides as you rise from beneath sea-level. The view was amazing to me having grown-up in Illinois surrounded by wheat, corn and soybean fields. My mind exploded with ideas.
Josiah: Granted, my dad had been writing Noteworthy Tribute several years prior to inviting me on as a co-author, my inspiration would be the opportunity to put my choice memories to good use to create memorable characters and situations. Memories such as my favorite concert experiences, [creating] a podcast and web series with other friends, and examining opposites between me and said friends shaped a lot of the themes in this story and the direction it went. Art imitating life in a brand new way which taught me lessons about specific things from the past were certainly my overall inspiration.
What, if anything, did you learned about yourself through writing Noteworthy Tribute?
Mark: After writing, I realized that my young adult years were heavily influenced by interaction between my friends’ parents. As a young adult it was at best bothersome at the time, now I see how much I secretly valued it. It was the ‘village’ component. It still goes on to this day when friends from back home send me pictures of them with their/my mother.
Josiah: I sort of re-learned how important important the family unit is. It doesn’t have to be by blood, close friends count. I speak for Dad and I when I say that we wanted that aspect of the book to be as convincing as possible. I’m introverted and enjoy being in my own head and having alone time, but I was reminded how valuable loved ones are and [how much I need that unit in my life], be it big or small, its quality over quantity.
What does your writing routine look like + is there anything that you do to motivate yourself when you don’t feel motivated to write?
Mark: As a person, who like everyone else, wears MANY hats…I adopted a ‘stolen moments’ methodology. My goal was to simplify the logistics of writing as much as possible so that I could be ready at a moment’s notice to write. The logistics included a netbook or recorder to capture thoughts in any setting. Walter Mosley’s This Year You Write Your Novel was a great influence. He writes that whatever you are doing that day, your character is also doing it…if you go to the dentist then your character goes to the dentist. My interpretation is that writing becomes more of a lifestyle than a separate box where I do things. This leads to my motivators, I’ve been blessed by God with a great imagination. When I write, I’m capturing the things that have been shown to me – I’m learning not to force myself to write when nothing has been shown to me.
Josiah: I enjoy writing prompts online, specifically twitter where I follow @i_Author and you have to write the opening line to a story once a day with only a picture to prompt you and 140 characters. So you have to trim the fat and get to the point based on how the pictures makes you feel. I also note things in my phone like the Memo app and just write what comes to me, like something/someone that caught my eye, something I think makes a great title/scenario or a piece of dialogue. I try to record everything in the moment and then rest the ole noggin. Sometimes I even talk it out in my room so I hear myself get the ideas out since talking is faster than writing.
What advice would you offer to other writers working on crafting their own stories for readers?
Mark: Couple of things…One is that writing reminds me of music. I’ve heard many really good musicians happily playing for an audience of one. It’s what they are, it’s what they do. Is being a story teller who you are? If so, tell your story! Now, regarding one’s craft, Miles Davis once said, “It’s not the note you play that’s the wrong note – it’s the note you play afterwards that makes it right or wrong.” What I take from this is that there are similarities in writing; the words that follow one another either continue building in a particular direction or take a turn, moving things in a different direction; and is that different direction the way you intended the story to travel?
Lastly, write as if an immense responsibility has been given to you. It’s okay to write to please yourself, but if you can, ascend to write to honor the one who has given you the responsibility and I’m not referring to our beloved readers. As you write from this perspective, more of whatever you need will find its way to you; but be flexible because when the “it” arrives, it may not look like what you were expecting.
Josiah: Care about what you’re writing. If you lose interest don’t sweat it, move on to a new topic or story. Make sure sure that your soul is in the story and if it is, it will fuel the narrative, even if its not about you. If you do that then all of the technical things will take care of themselves like spelling, grammar, words and ideas flowing together. Be excited about it, and then of course share it. Also, be creative when you decide to publish and share because the DIY movement is remarkable right now, just look at us, we not only self-published but found Megan Johnson, one of maybe many reviewers, with her own substantial following willing to collaborate – for FREE. You have to be versatile.
I was provided with a free copy of this book in order to conduct this review.