One of my readers has described my book Make a Joyful Noise as “quaint”.

I have been thinking more about what drove me to write this “quaint” novel, prompted in part by a recent interview with author Julia Hughes in which she asked me who or what was the inspiration for my writing.


Musicians’ behaviour has always fascinated me and I have explored this in the novel, sending various characters up when I feel they deserve it. Musicians have quite a challenge as they need to develop a very thick skin to survive, along with a strong sense of self worth that can easily lead to a seeming arrogance, and yet at the same time they have to function sensitively, thoughtfully and as part of a team when they perform. People can get this the wrong way round and be terribly sensitive to their own needs and feelings, but not be able to function in a group as they lack empathy. This can lead to some fairly spectacular personality clashes and misunderstandings, not to mention musical punch ups, and has been a rich source of humour for me. The anti-hero Tristan Proudfoot in my novel is an extreme example of a man sensitive to his own feelings and needs before everyone else’s.

This reminds me of something I heard an adjudicator say at a festival once.

“No one likes a show off – except on the stage!”

Please everyone, don’t forget to notice when you leave the stage.

Oh and before I go, just a word about the characters in my novel, to set the record straight. Many readers have told me that they recognise characters in the novel as various musical “types” and have certainly met people just like them (good, so it seems realistic!). Others have told me they know exactly who the characters are (for example Tristan is apparently “definitely” Simon Rattle– he isn’t by the way! Nothing like.). Make a Joyful Noise is a work of fiction. That means it is all made up.

Actually, I think I like “quaint” as a description of my novel, Make a Joyful Noise. It seems to fit.


Author: Jenny Worstall

I am a musician, teacher and writer, and live in London with my family. I enjoy playing the piano and gossiping with my friends (essential research for my writing). My books reflect my love of music and a tendency not to take life too seriously.

6 thoughts on “Quaint”

  1. Hi Jenny – you certainly have some lovely reviews, and it’s obvious “Make A Joyful Noise” has struck a chord! I fell in love with the story – and I only know a handful of musicians! But your characters rang true – they were all so believable and I really enjoyed your insights into human weakness and strengths.

    Congratulations on your first post, look forward to reading many more:)

  2. Great first post, Jenny! Being around musicians all the time I see a lot of this and you’re so right! There’s a fine line between being confident and self-assured and being arrogant and full of self importance and often people aren’t even aware that they’ve crossed it. In these cases a ‘gentle’ reminder works wonders.

    1. Thank you so much, Denise. I think it affects the quality of performance too; if someone is thinking how great they are rather than how fantastic the music is and how much they want to communicate this to the audience, the whole experience is diminished for everyone. Now I’m off to have a look around your site…

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