Teresa Frohock learned to escape to other worlds through the fiction collection of her local library. Although Teresa has been reading fantasy and science fiction since she was twelve, her fascination with the grotesque extends back into childhood. Whenever she went to a carnival, she was the first one at the tent that housed the freak-show. She wanted to see the two-headed (chicken, snake, fetus, fill-in-the-blank) and was always disappointed when it wasn't alive—it seemed like such a rip-off.
Teresa was raised in North Carolina, lived in Virginia and South Carolina before returning to
the Piedmont, where she currently resides with her husband and daughter. Teresa has long been
accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying.
Miserere: An Autumn Tale is her debut novel.
My very first record player (yeah, I’m that old, get over it) was a little portable 45 rpm player.
I played Elton John, Diana Ross and the Supremes, and Don McLean’s American Pie until
I memorized the lyrics to all the songs, much to my parents’ despair. (NOTE: While I have
sustained a love of music throughout my life, I am utterly and completely talentless when it
comes to singing or playing a musical instrument.)
By the time I was ten or eleven, I graduated to a combo LP/radio stereo with DUAL
SPEAKERS. This was a big deal in the 70s, because this new stereo could play LPs.
Yeah. I’m that old. Get over it.
Music carried me away. I could imagine any story to the songs. I spent my childhood feeling
numb and afraid, but the music carried me over to a realm where I was powerful. Here are my
five favorite artists:
1. Janis Joplin
I adored Janis Joplin for her voice, her power, her sexuality, for her ability to shoot the world the finger and be herself. She embodied a tough woman; one that ran with wolves, not as an outlier, but as the leader of the pack. Janis took that powerhouse voice of hers, jumped on the stage and she sang the blues with Big Brother and the Holding Company roaring behind her like a hurricane.
Janis was my goddess. Off-stage, she may have been an insecure young woman lost in a haze
of drugs, but when she sang, all that fell away and she became a woman in full control of her
power. Janis sang the blues with such emotion, she tore a piece of my heart every time I heard
Then one day, the pack dragged her down, because even wolf goddesses die, and she died hard,
did our Janis, died like she lived. I love her still.
2. Rolling Stones
“Jumping Jack Flash” makes a brief appearance in Miserere and “Jumping Jack Flash” will be back in Dolorosa. “Sympathy for the Devil” inspired my imagination and I wore the grooves white on the vinyl playing those songs. The Rolling Stones turned me on to Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Sonny Boy Williamson, Buddy Holly, Etta James, Billie Holiday, Ry Cooder, and the blues, the blues, the blues. The Stones put an edge on the blues, put an edge all their own. Which leads me to …
I remember the first time I heard the opening bars of “Dream On,” I had shiver go through me. My ear was pressed to grandmother’s ancient radio and I was listening to the local AM radio station WLOE. I listened to that radio every day until I found out the name of that band. Aerosmith’s first album was just raw energy but it was Get Your Wings that hooked me good. It was another spin on the blues but Aerosmith didn’t have the Stones’ polish in those early days. I loved them all the more for it. Their renditions of “Train Kept A’Rollin” and “Walkin’ the Dog” remain two of my favorites. I loved seeing them return to those blues roots with Honkin’ on Bobo and though it’s more polished than their early works, I consider it one of their finest albums.
4. Fleetwood Mac
I adored “Gold Dust Woman” and “Tango in the Night”, my two favorite Fleetwood Mac songs. Fleetwood Mac’s music ran the gamut from playful to magical. Where Janis taught me to be tough, Stevie Nicks said I could be gentle too. I named my daughter Rhiannon. If that doesn’t say it all, nothing does. Rock on—ancient queen …
5. Loreena McKennitt & Dead Can Dance
Yeah, I know, that’s two and it’s cheating.
Get over it.
I love McKennitt’s ethereal voice and her enchanting music. “The Mystic’s Dream” was
Lucian’s song while I wrote Miserere. However, McKennitt’s music lacked the power I needed
for The Garden. These are a rough bunch of guys—I didn’t need harps, I needed drums and the
kind of music that roiled up from guts. I tried everything from Nine Inch Nails to male choral
arrangements trying to find just the right mood music for writing this novel. My friend Vaughn
Roycroft suggested Dead Can Dance. I sampled a few tunes and found the music raw and
thunderous, which is just perfect for The Garden.
Although the blues will always remain as my favorite, I’ll listen to almost any kind of music
nowadays. I appreciate John allowing me to share my favorite artists with you.