Uncial Press

The Uncial Letter

September 2020

Avery Easton muses on musical theatre.

"You built me palaces out of paragraphs. You built cathedrals." --Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton

We all need a way to escape. Be it sports, movies, travel, gaming, or television, everyone needs a way to step away from whatever is going on in their world and get away to a different one.

For me, it was musicals. I was eleven years old when I saw my first professional production. The revolving stage of Les Miserables introduced me to theatre magic and I was obsessed. I was lucky enough to grow up in a town with many community theatres, so the transition from observer to performer was an easy one.

I listened to original cast recordings like it was my job. And you bet your bottom dollar this little redhead ran around singing Annie. A voracious reader as well, I loved burrowing into other worlds and other lives. There hasn't been a time in my life when I didn't have a book wherever I went. My books and my musicals, they were my escape. The costumes and the stage magic fueled my own fantasies, which I would turn into stories of my own.

Did I fail Geometry because I was writing in the back of the class? Yes. Was it worth it? Also yes.

It wasn't popular to love theatre in the late nineties. Nor was it popular to have such an intense inner life. Privately, I created worlds in which I belonged. I kept reading my books, losing myself in writing stories, and hiding my CD collection when friends came over.

Bad break-up? Write. Fight with a friend? Write. Parents bugging you? Write. Cutie-you-haven't-spoken-to-but-is-probably-your-soulmate smiled at you? Write. I processed every emotion with words on the page. Unrequited loves were fulfilled, friendships mended, fantasies realized. This continued on throughout my adolescence and into college.

When I moved to Chicago, I realized that I wasn't the only one who felt like an outsider. Everyone has their way to escape the world, and it was here that I found my people: fellow performers and writers and directors and comedians. People who mark the Tonys in their calendars, sing showtunes in the shower, and want to talk about new musicals as much as I do.

I hadn't written much since beginning my "adult" life, but needed that escape again in early 2017. I started writing about loss and hope and a fantasy we've all had before. A Broadway star who falls in love, a fan trying to move on with a best friend she can't live without. It is an homage to the acceptance I felt performing with other weirdos like me. It is an homage to the romance of a musical, to the sweeping duets and the happy endings.

I filled Love Me A Little with references to the shows that allowed me to escape, from my childhood to right this minute (current rotation: Hadestown). You'll find lyrical references all over the book, from West Side Story to Next to Normal to Wicked to Guys and Dolls. Even the obscure A New Brain made its way in.

Love stories are necessary, and the escape they give us is essential. We need to feel that there is a safe place to go when the world is turned upside down (yes, that's another Hamilton reference). We need enemies turned into lovers, for hometown boyfriends to return, and for a small town girl to make her way in the big city. The villain rising from the stage floor. The villagers bursting into song. Those palaces built out of paragraphs.

We need love to triumph over all.

We need happily-ever-afters.

I hope you like mine.

~*~

Love Me a Little by Avery Easton

We can't resist a romance, especially one with memorable music in the background. Usually we have to rely on our imaginations to provide that musical background to the joy of tender love scenes, the heartbreak of unrequited love, the tears of love lost forever. To our great delight, we didn't have to do that with Avery Easton's poignant Love Me A Little. Easton provided a playlist to go with her story.

Evie O'Hara's world shattered a year ago. Hoping to help her reclaim her life, her best friend convinces her to go to New York with him, tempting her with tickets to a performance by her favorite stage and screen star--and every thinking woman's dream man--Ethan Carter. As usual, Ethan singles out one member of the audience to sing directly to: Evie. And for the first time in a year, Evie feels a stirring of hope; perhaps life has something to offer after all. But such a realization doesn't come without a price, and that price is perhaps more than Evie is willing--or able--to pay.

Love Me A Little has all of the elements of a great love story: tenderness, passion, heartbreak, humor, and hope. From the celebrity interview that opens the book right through to the last paragraph, the story is given extra flavor with hyperlinks to music that enriches the story--or if you choose to listen later, there is that playlist.

Love Me a Little

We'd like to remind you that we have a terrific selection of romances for you to choose from: contemporary, futuristic, western, Regency and fantasy. And if romance isn't your genre, take a look at our selection of science fiction, fantasy/quest, mystery and suspense titles, all at Uncial Press.

Be well, be happy, and be reading.

~*~

Jude & Star