Talented flutist Amy Johnson’s dreams come true when she wins a spot with the Minneapolis Symphony. But this amateur sleuth has trouble concentrating on the notes as she begins to see devious motives behind her fellow musicians’ many mishaps. Meanwhile, her musically talented daughter wants to give it all up for—gasp—the cheerleading squad! What’s a musical mom to do? Can Amy fine-tune her investigation before the symphony is forced to close and she loses not only her dream job but her promising new relationship with its conductor?
Q: What’d you mean by the title, Symphony of Secrets?
A: On an obvious level, Amy tries to uncover answers to the mystery of who is ruining the symphony, and the secrets of her various “suspects”. But a key element of the story is that Amy has been keeping family secrets for many years and is finally forced to face them. There is also a growing awareness of the “secret” (hitherto unknown by her) work of God, which plays out in her life like the movements of a symphony. Her life is really a symphony of secrets.
Q: Why did you decide to add a mystery to the mix?
A: I’ve always loved Dorothy Gillman’s “Mrs. Pollifax” books (a retired garden-club woman joins the CIA) and Jill Churchill’s “Jane Jeffrey” novels (a suburban mom solves murders) so I thought it would be fun to make Amy a bit of an armchair detective (at least in her own mind). It made for a fun combination.
Q: My book club read the first Mrs. Pollifax novel. It was inventive! Your Becky Miller books took us into the world of a mom with big dreams. How does Amy differ from Becky?
A: I love exploring the heroic in people the world considers “ordinary” – like moms. Like the Becky Miller books, Symphony of Secrets includes a strong story thread about parenting, but the dynamics of a young single mom with a teen daughter are an interesting new twist. Their banter has a bit of a Gilmore Girl vibe to it – full of affection but a little dysfunctional – which adds to the fun.
Q: Is there a love interest for Amy?
A: I hadn’t planned for one when I began the book, but a certain character walked into a scene, tossed some musical scores on a table, put his feet up, and was so dynamic, I fell in love with him. So Amy did, too. The story isn’t primarily a romance, but in between trying to raise her daughter, hide family secrets, and save the symphony, Amy is further befuddled by the romantic feelings she works hard to ignore.
Q: Well, I don’t blame you for keeping him around! Are you at all like Amy?
A: My editor told me that of all my characters, she sees a lot of me in this one. That cracked me up because as I shaped Amy, I made her cranky, with little people skills, and hapless in her crime-fighting efforts. But I have to admit, my editor is right. There are some similarities. Although I’m not a professional concert musician, as a writer, I’m familiar with the neurotic-artist tendencies that were so fun to develop in Amy. I share with her the passionate desire to create something of beauty, the massive insecurities, and the bulldog determination to pursue what matters.
Q: What is the spiritual theme of Symphony of Secrets?
A: God loves us enough to come and meet us through the avenues that we understand. He finds ways to speak our language. I’ve seen many examples of God wooing someone toward Himself through that person’s passions. Amy understands the world of music and God coaxes her to consider spiritual issues through the beauty of music that is already alive in her heart.
“It’s official—if the book says Sharon Hinck on the spine, I’m buying it! Symphony of Secrets hits just the right tone, weaving harmonies of mystery, family, and the life of a symphonic musician—a topic I’ve not experienced in fiction before. The melody is God’s love, subtle yet persistent and so perfectly pitched that I’ll be humming that tune for a long time to come. This is a great read and a perfect gift for anyone who finds joy in music.” — Kathryn Mackel, Vanished
“What a delightful story! I fell in love with the characters on the first page and didn’t want to let them go. If you love music, as I do, you’ll especially enjoy this engaging tale of lost dreams and second chances. Like a Haydn serenade, your mind will dance along the story line at an engaging pace, allowing your imagination and sense of humor to absorb the melody of its plot. WithSymphony of Secrets, Sharon Hinck makes beautiful music with her words!” — Mindy Starns Clark, The Million Dollar Mysteries series.”