It’s May and that means it’s middle grade May. Well for me it is anyways. So I thought it would be great to also a couple of middle grade tours. My spot for the Duet book tour hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours is today. I was lucky and got to do an author interview with Elise Broach. So keep on reading to find out more about the book and to read this author’s answers.
Duet by Elise Broach
Genre: Middle Grade Mystery
Publishing Date: May 10, 2022
A musically gifted bird, a piano-playing boy, and a real-life mystery involving three artistic geniuses
Welcome to the world of Mirabelle, a young goldfinch who loves to sing and dreams of becoming a musical star. She lives with her family in the backyard of a piano teacher, and she is quickly intrigued by Mr. Starek’s newest pupil. Michael Jin is an eleven-year-old keyboard sensation, but lesson after lesson, he refuses to play. With the prestigious Chopin Festival looming at summer’s end, how will he be ready in time? Mirabelle is responsible for Michael’s breakthrough—to her own astonishment, she sings the Chopin piece he is beginning to play at the piano. It is their first duet.
Thus begins a secret adventure that will take Mirabelle and Michael further than they ever imagined—in music, in friendship, and in solving the mystery of a lost piano that could be worth millions. A house full of treasures holds the clues. There, Mirabelle, Michael, and their friend Emily will make an important discovery that links the great composer Frederic Chopin, the trailblazing author George Sand, and the French Romantic painter Eugene Delacroix.
A fast-paced, history-rich mystery will have young readers hooked as they root for boy and bird in this beautifully told novel, full of emotion and suspense.
What inspired you to write Duet?
I had written a novel (Masterpiece) about a beetle who is an incredible artist, and I wanted to write another story about an animal with a special talent. I read that Mozart once had a pet starling that could sing a theme from one of his piano concertos, which made me interested in birds singing human music… which led me to my goldfinch Mirabelle, her friendship with a young piano-player, and their effort to solve the real historical mystery of Chopin’s lost piano.
What has been your favorite part of your publishing journey so far?
I love talking to children about books, so I’ve had lots of fun describing this story at school visits and seeing the enthusiastic reactions from kids to the idea of a bird solving a mystery.
Describe Duet in five words or less.
Bird, boy, musical mystery.
What is your favorite quote from this book?
There’s a moment in the book when Mirabelle is struggling with keeping a secret from her family, and she thinks: “What’s the difference between a secret and a lie? A secret probably feels like a lie to someone who loves you.”
What do you hope readers take away from Duet?
I hope the story encourages readers to pursue something they love (music, art, writing, sports, or whatever else) just for the joy of it. I hope it makes them think about what it takes to be a good friend. And finally, I hope it deepens their curiosity about history and about nature.
What is next for you? Anything you can tell us readers about?
Yes! I’m working on a new novel based on an actual historical mystery—my favorite kind—involving a book from Renaissance Italy that’s written in a language nobody has ever been able to decode. My current title is The Book That Could Never Be Read.
If you were a character in Duet, what kind of character would you be?
Definitely a bird—probably one of Mirabelle’s siblings, getting into all kinds of trouble.
Besides my author interview there are a lot of other amazing bloggers and bookstagrammers participating during this tour. Click here for the full schedule.
About the Author
Elise Broach is the author of more than twenty books for young readers, including board books, picture books, early readers, middle-grade mysteries, and young adult novels. Her picture book, My Pet Wants a Pet, was named Parents Magazine’s Best Picture Book of 2018. Another picture book, When Dinosaurs Came with Everything, won the E. B. White Read-Aloud Award and was Time Magazine’s #1 Children’s Book of the Year. Her middle-grade novel, Masterpiece, was a New York Times bestseller and also won the E. B. White Read-Aloud Award. Elise’s books have appeared on more than a dozen state reading lists. She lives in Connecticut and teaches creative writing at Yale University.
I love the idea of a bird telling the story. This sounds like a really amazing story. If you could choose an animal companion to talk to, what kind of animal would you choose? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!