You’re right! Not my usual subject matter at all.
But my husband has just announced that he’s added an Annabel Austen page to his website, so I thought I’d better return the compliment.
We both scribble in this house. The difference is, he’s writing music while I’m creating murder mysteries. The Count of Monte Cristo is his first opera, and he has even made some spurious claim that I am in part responsible for it. According to him, I happened to mention on holiday a few years ago, when we were visiting the Château d’If just off Marseilles, that Alexandre Dumas had used the château as the scene of Dantès’ imprisonment in his book, The Count of Monte Cristo. Well, suffice it to say that I’d be very surprised if I did, but I may as well take the credit anyway.
Whatever the truth of the matter, the point is that my husband has been fascinated by the story ever since and has spent the last few years writing an opera based on the book. I believe that there are many films on the subject,and even a musical, but this is the first time some one has actually composed an opera. Now I have to confess that I’ve never heard the opera in full, although I hope that one day this will be rectified, but I am touched that it is dedicated to me, even if the actual wording could be interpreted as a slight backhanded compliment:
“The opera is dedicated to my wife and daughter, and to the horses which kept them occupied while I was writing it.”
By the way, there’s no evidence that my heroine Julie’s husband, Tom, is about to write an opera. So far as we know, Tom has never expressed even the slightest interest in music. But there is one thing we can safely say: if he does ever decide he’s going to be creative in some way, he is almost bound to dedicate his work to Julie.