The list of people who contributed to this book is long so I’ve placed it here not because it’s not important enough to be in the printed book but because it’s too important to condense into the space available in back matter.
Thanks to my agent Stephen Fraser and to Jennifer DiChiara of the Jennifer DiChiara Literary Agency for their guidance and enthusiasm and for minding the details of the business, so that I can mind the details of the story.
I am grateful to my critique group who are willing to come back to a story as many times as it takes to get it right: Cheryl Coupe, Michael Gettle-Gilmartin, Lyra Knierem, Cliff Lehman, Barbara Liles, and Nora Ericson. Here we are at what I hope is the first of many annual beach retreats.
Heather Vogel Frederick has been a dear friend and generous mentor for almost a decade, and her help on this project at several key moments was extraordinarily valuable.
I continue to be amazed by the dedication of the team at Random House. Their willingness to be attentive to all the little details that make up a book is inspiring. Thanks to book designer, Heather Palisi, and art director, Ellice Lee for a beautiful cover.
My long-suffering and diligent copyeditors, and proofreaders made sense of my prose and tackled not just one extra language but four. Chelsea Eberly, my editor’s assistant, shepherded me through my week at the grammar and punctuation spa with patience and enthusiasm. There is not enough chocolate in the world to thank all of you properly!
Thanks to my publicist, Casey Lloyd and to Tracy Learner and the hardworking team in the school and library department. Now and then I’ve needed to ask a bookseller for a favor about ordering my book for an event and I get this “you’ve got to be kidding me” look. But then they say, “Oh wait a minute, this is Random House, never mind. It will probably work out fine.” And it always does. I’m guessing you work pretty hard to maintain that reputation.
Thanks to my patient and tenacious editor, Jim Thomas, for giving my words a musician’s ear, for the gift of time, and the loan of a cat. Here is William, the cat from the bookstore. Isn’t he beautiful?
I am grateful to Herr Müller and Frauline Johnson, for teaching me not just to speak, read, and write in German, but also for the very German way in which they have each responded to great sorrow in their lives by living with zest and good humor, and a broad and generous spirit. Your language instruction made my years in Germany infinitely richer than they would have been. Your life example has made my own life a warmer and more forgiving place than I might have chosen otherwise.
Thanks to Claudia Finseth for kind friendship and detailed instructions on how to wash a cat.
Thank you to Dr. John McKenna and Dr. Nancy Skinner for excellent advice on injuries and resuscitation. I’m so glad I didn’t have to research that aspect of the story personally!
Susan Dahindan, middle school librarian extraordinaire, sent all the way to her sister in Germany for historically accurate street maps of East Berlin. Some times the simplest detail is the hardest to research. I was in Berlin myself in 1991 but of course I didn’t keep my travel guides because they were out of date. Well, as it turns out, no one else kept them either. It’s impossible to buy an out of date travel guide and libraries don’t keep them on the shelf or in an archive. Downtown Berlin today is another world from the city in transition I remember. Rick Steves and his Europe through the Back Door company were kind enough to allow me to research their archives in Everett, Washington for accurate walking maps, train schedules and prices.
Thanks to David Ingerson for his dedication to vocal music and folk traditions, and for reminding me of the amazing story of the Estonian singing revolution. It’s a history worth celebrating. There is a documentary about it called The Singing Revolution that is well worth watching.
Judith Ridge sent me minties all the way from Australia, because no detail is too small to get right. Thanks to her and to the many members of child_lit, I hesitate to call it a list serve, community is a far better word. Always interesting, occasionally infuriating, you have extended my view so much further than my own cozy corner of the literary world.
By far my favorite part of the entire writing process for Second Fiddle has been returning to play my violin—a thing I had not done in almost 30 years. Better still was learning to play duets and trios with my daughters. Brian Eliason has been a patient violin instructor and a thoughtful consultant on the matter of composition, something I’ve never even tried to do myself.
I am thankful to my editor for more things than I could possibly mention, however, the timing of the revisions for this story is not one of them. He kindly over-nighted my manuscript to arrive just a few hours before I flew out to chaperone a girl choir trip to New Orleans. Six am on a plane full of giddy first-time flyers is not the most conducive environment for the first reading of an editorial letter. And yet in the end, the timing could not have been better. I spent an amazing week in one of the must musical cities in the world with 40 girls who love to sing. Thank you to the artistic directors of the Portland Symphonic Girl Choir, Roberta Jackson and Deborah Burgess, for making this experience possible and a special thanks to all you members of the PSGC for your breathtaking singing and for giving me an insight into the power of girls making music together. Beautiful!
If you’d like to see and hear them sing, here is a youtube of the choir with 10 other choirs from North America singing the debut performance of I Thank You God. It was composed especially for children’s voices and conducted by the composer Bob Chilcot at the Crescent City choral festival. The song is based on the poem of the same name by ee cummings.
Heartfelt thanks to my lifelong friend, Kathryn Hogan, who went to Paris to spend a year at the Sorbonne, at least in part, because I dared her to go. Thanks for consulting on words in French and the layout of the Sorbonne, for believing in my talents, and for teaching me to trust my intuition in my writing and my life.
Many thanks to my four wonderful children, who cheerfully and expertly pick up the many details of our lives at home to make room for my writing. None of this would be possible without you.
Finally, and most importantly, thank you to my husband Bill who took me to Paris for one long romantic weekend in 1991—our first Veterans Day. Thank you for coming home to me, those last and longest miles in particular.