Christina Aubergh is the pianist in my upcoming novel. Here is how I describe her in the book.

She was young, 25 years of age. She had been playing the piano since she was four years old. At sixteen she had won the Amadeus Competition in Lazise, Italy. When eighteen, she had finished runner up in the World Music Competition. And at the age of 21, she had won the Van Clyburn International Piano Competition which guaranteed her success as a solo piano artist.

She had a tall and slim figure, standing six feet without shoes on. She had a pale complexion with dark brown hair. She was well endowed which stood out on her tall, slender frame. The feature was something she learned early on that distracted men. Her thin face with high cheekbones and a long, aquiline nose gave her a regal look. Her brown eyes were large, like a doe’s and very expressive. They caught you and held you in their gaze. Even with all her obvious beauty, she was a shy person, maybe because of it. And there were many fans, some bordering on being frightening with their insistence on their love for, and devotion to her.

She was born in St. Polten, Austria, only a half hour drive from Vienna. Her mother was a pianist who played in the local orchestra and gave lessons. She started Christina early and when she was eight, drove her to Vienna to get more advanced training. She had seen the potential in her daughter. When she turned fourteen, her mother managed to enroll Christina in the Prayner Conservatory of Music and Dramatic Arts, a well-known and well-respected conservatory of the many in Vienna.

Still young and early in her career, Christina had realized that she needed a hideaway. Somewhere to go in between performances. A place of beauty, but secluded so she could get away from the crowds and distraction.

With the help of her assistant, she found a large cottage in Provence, France. The climate was a constant delight as was the sunlight. Christina understood why so many artists had moved there to paint. She never got tired of the special quality of the light. Only the winters were sometimes a challenge, with the invasive mistral blowing, sometimes for days on end.

So many of the buildings in Provence were made of stone, there being many quarries in the region. Her house was not unique in this respect. She had invested a large sum of money to upgrade the steam heat which augmented the large stone fireplace and she had set up a special music room to house her Steinway grand. It took some creative effort and coordination between the locals and the Steinway technicians to arrive at a solution that would keep her precious instrument safe from the ravages of variations in temperature and humidity.

The completion of the process, which took over a year, was satisfying to Christina. It allowed her the refuge she needed as she pursued her concert career.

Look for the finished novel in late January (I hope!). For more updates, sign up for my reader list here, (scroll to the bottom of the page) or visit my Facebook page.

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