2020-06-17

South Shore’s Christine Welldon delves into the New Orleans jazz scene

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>Christine Welldon&#8217;s new book<em> Kid Sterling</em></p>
  • <p>PETER ZWICKER, PHOTO</p><p>Christine Welldon&#8217;s new novel, Kid Sterling, is her first book of fiction.</p>

Author Christine Welldon has made her first foray into the world of fiction with her recently-released novel about a young musician eager to learn from the best in American jazz in New Orleans in the early 1900s.

"It's sort of a gripping story," Welldon, who splits her time each year living in Toronto and Lunenburg, told LighthouseNOW about her book Kid Sterling.

"It has a lot of examples of the kind of racism that would have been inflicted on African Americans during that time over a century ago. Historically, and musically, it traces the history of jazz ..."

Kid Sterling, published by Red Deer Press, tells a story about fictitious Sterling Crawford, a young Black boy living in poverty in the famed Louisiana city, who wants to learn from a giant in the jazz scene.

Sterling's idol was American jazz and blues icon Buddy Bolden, a real-life character in Welldon's book. Bolden was considered music royalty in the early 1900s in New Orleans.

"Bolden's music inspires Sterling into the eclectic, inspiring and sometimes shady world of this art form," reads a review on the website goodreads.com.

The book is "a wonderfully textured story of a young aspiring musician that takes us through the streets, the honky-tonks, and the prisons of a legendary city where great musicians burst with ideas about a music that would eventually take over the world," reads the narrative on goodreads.com.

Welldon said it took three years to research and write Kid Sterling.

"It shows a struggling musician who's pursuing his dream and never stops believing in himself, so it's an inspiring sort of story for readers," Welldon explained to LighthouseNOW.

She's thrilled with her change to fiction writing from non-fiction creations. It gives her more editorial licence to fill in gaps history doesn't provide, she said. "I find it a freeing exercise to start writing fiction based on historical characters."

Welldon's already looking at a sequel to Kid Sterling. "I'm picking up the story of jazz to bring it to a more Canadian perspective," she said.

Kid Sterling is Welldon's 11th book. She's written all of them while living on the South Shore.

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