Today I’m thrilled to welcome author Amber Stockton for an author spotlight and more. Read through to the end to find out how you can enter her giveaway.
Is there a difference between a fiddle and a violin?
In Hometown Melodies, my story in the Smoky Mountain Christmas collection, Melody grew up playing music and using her bowed instrument to do a lot of fiddle playing with family and friends. As a violinist myself and someone who enjoys both classical and folk music, I often am asked if there is a difference between the violin (often named for classical music) and a fiddle (often named in folk-style music). Some have speculated about the different placement of the strings, or perhaps the construction of the instrument itself.
The surprising answer? No. There is no difference other than HOW the instrument is played.
A violin and a fiddle are the same four-stringed instrument played with a bow, strummed, or plucked with fingers. They are identical in appearance. The names of the strings are the same as well. The difference actually lies in the specifics. A violin IS a fiddle, but a fiddle isn’t necessarily a violin.
Have I confused you yet?
What this means is more easily understood when identifying a human as a mammal but then saying all mammals aren’t humans. It’s the same in classification of instruments. A violin is classified as a classical instrument used in that same style of music. A fiddle can be ANY bowed instrument (cello, banjo, viola, bass, etc.). It all comes down to the association with the style of music.
The “fiddle” is more of a colloquial or slang term used for the stringed instruments played in folk, Cajun, bluegrass, and country music.
My main character Melody learned classical music on the violin, but she also grew up “fiddling” around with her friends and having fun on that same instrument. In Hometown Melodies, she leaves her hometown to pursue a career with a traveling symphony, but when she returns home, it’s that “fiddling” around a campfire which reminds her of everything she’s missed since leaving.
One other little tidbit? The phrase “fit as a fiddle” actually doesn’t refer to the health of someone. It actually originated as being “suitable” or “fit for a purpose.” In regard to the violin, it’s a fiddle that’s suitable for classical-style music.
• What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest roadblock is actually one I’m facing right now, and one I’ve been facing for the past 3-4 years. It’s the juggling or balancing act of writing and also being a wife, mother, teacher, and small-business owner. My daughter (and to a slightly lesser extent my husband) demands a lot of my time due to mental processing styles, but I have to balance that with my son who doesn’t require as much effort. Most days, it takes so much mental, physical, emotional, and psychological energy out of me, there isn’t much left for creativity in writing. When I first began writing, I was single and writing 3 books each year. Lately, I can manage just 1. I’ve had to prioritize, and my family comes first. It’s only a season, though, and I know I’ll get back into the rhythm again soon. It’s why readers like you are so important to us authors. Your support means a lot, especially when real life intervenes.
• Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
There is always a small bit of me that ends up coming out in my characters, but it depends on the story as to how much. Sometimes, it’s a specific experience or a reaction to something that happens, and sometimes, it’s a habit or hobby the character has. Since I’m the one writing the story, it’s only natural my perspectives would greatly influence the characters, but as usual, once I get into the story, the characters take on a life of their own.
• If you couldn’t write for some reason, what would you do?
Not write? That’s like saying I couldn’t breathe. It would be a true travesty and a difficult reality to face for me! However, based upon my response to the first question, I’d have to say I’d spend time helping others in some way. In every job or career I’ve ever held, I have always thrived in providing assistance to others, whether it be answering a question they have, directing them to a resource they can utilize, or finding some way to benefit their life (e.g. writing books that speak to them and they love to read). I spent 11 years working in retail and helping customers, and in almost every situation, I find myself paying attention to details, so I can help answer questions others in that same situation might have. One of my top love languages is acts of service, so I love doing for others. If I couldn’t write, I would find another way to serve others.
READERS, Amber will be giving away a free electronic copy of “Smoky Mountain Christmas” to one lucky winner. All you have to do is answer this question below.
A question for readers to answer: What is the name of my newsletter available on my web site?
About Hometown Melodies (included in Smoky Mountain Christmas)
Claude Buchanan is turning 80. Ida Buchanan wants her husband to have an 80th birthday he’ll never forget. His one request is for all their children and grandchildren to be there for the party. They have four sons, and each one has a daughter—the heroines in each of the novellas. The cousins all share the last name of Buchanan. All four young women left Gatlinburg, Tennessee in the last few years—for reasons specific to each—and moved to another area or state. For that reason, they don’t want to return for the party. But because they love their grandparents, they do. Returning home forces each young woman to deal with what caused her to leave in the first place, and in each case, opens the door to true love. The birthday party takes place in Granddaddy and Granny Buchanan’s barn on Christmas Eve, and each of the four novellas end that same day, just prior to the party, which is featured in the epilogue accompanying the last book in the series.
I have been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, and today, I’ve honed those skills to become a best-selling author and speaker, and an advocate for literacy through Usborne Books. I live with my husband and author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, our two children, and our three dogs in Colorado. I have sold twenty-one (21) books so far and you can find me online on Facebook and GoodReads.
Thank you for visiting this stop along the Smoky Mountain Christmas blog tour (https://amberstockton.blogspot.com/2019/06/smoky-mountain-christmas-blog-tour.html) during our Christmas in July promotion. We will be doing random drawings at most of the stops to those who leave a comment and contact information, and at the very end, we’ll do a drawing for a grand prize. Sometimes, you only need to leave a comment, and sometimes there will be a question to answer that might send you to one of our web sites or looking deeper into the blog post to find the answer.
Mrs. Patrick Winslow.
Melody Buchanan stared down at the shimmering diamond winking back at her. Mrs. Melody Winslow. It rolled off the tongue rather nicely.
“So? How did he do it? Did he get down on one knee, have the romantic music, the perfect setting, everything planned out, the works?”
Lexi hadn’t even bothered to say hello. Just launched into the interrogation as she took the seat their server had pulled out for her and leaned forward with an eager expression. Melody smiled up at her best friend who’d just joined her at their favorite restaurant in Denver.
“Come on!” Lexi pressed. “I’m dying to know!”