Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Lonesome When You Go

With the Smokefreerockquest in full swing around the country, a new novel is hitting the shops that focuses on the highs and lows of being a bass player in a competing school band.

Lonesome When You Go, is written by Saradha Koirala who has played  for a number of bands – ‘all with dubious names’, she says  – a passion that started 20 years ago with Rockquest ‘96 when she was asked to play bass for a Nayland College rock band.

‘I remember the regional heats being petrifying,’ says Koirala, ‘and the Nelson regional final as completely overwhelming but full of energy. It was a total high school highlight.’

In Lonesome When You Go, bass player Paige is in a band called Vox Pop that is aiming for the top: the national finals of a competition called Rockfest. As a bassist, Paige’s role is to keep a steady rhythm through all the rock and roll, but there are things going on that test this – her band mates are acting oddly, a friend has a secret that’s got too big for her, and there’s a double bass player who’s diverting Paige’s attention. Also the end of the year is looming, when everything will change for good.

Koirala says although she and Paige have a few things in common, they’re really not alike at all. ‘I wish I could have been as strong and as cool as Paige when I was in high school,’ she says, ‘and known myself the way she knows herself.’

Koirala says Paige is not motivated by a boy or into music just to impress somebody else, and she doesn’t change herself to try and fit in. She’s motivated instead by her love of playing rock music.  

Lonesome is a book about being passionate and determined as well as knowing what you want and being part of something that’s much greater than yourself.

Saradha Koirala has taught as an English teacher at a number of Wellington secondary schools, and has published two books of poetry. This is her first novel.

Lonesome When You Go is the fourth young adult release by Wellington’s Mākaro Press, all of the previous three have been shortlisted for children’s book awards, with Sylvie the Second by Kaeli Baker in both this year’s main awards and children’s choice awards.

Lonesome launches at Meow in Edward Street, Wellington, this Sunday, 10 July, 3 pm. Wellington High School rock band Vertigo – through to the regional finals of the Smokefreerockquest – will play.

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