Blog Tour Interview: Porcelain Keys by Sarah Beard

Porcelain Keys blog tour

I'm excited to be a stop on the tour for Porcelain Keys with Cedar Fort and that the author, Sarah Beard, is stopping by for an interview. You can see my review here. Here is the info on the book first...

Porcelain KeysPorcelain Keys
by Sarah Beard
YA Contemporary
February 11th 2014 by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media


Aria's life is full of secrets--secrets about her mother's death, her father's cruelty, and her dream to go to Juilliard. When Aria meets Thomas, he draws out her secrets, captures her heart, and gives her the courage to defy her father. But when tragedy strikes and Thomas disappears, Aria is left alone to transform her broken heart's melody into something beautiful. Porcelain Keys is a captivating love story that will resonate long after the last page is turned.

You can read some excerpts here, here, and here.

Several of the stops are also hosting a giveaway, so check those out! You can see the tour schedule on Sarah's blog here.


Praise for Porcelain Keys

"Emotionally rich, elegant description, beloved characters--Sarah Beard delivers a fresh,
new novel that will go on my list of classics."
--Stephanie Fowers, author of With a Kiss.

"Aria is a heroine worth rooting for, and the plot is an emotional melody that weaves a
spell so potent, it can only be broken by reaching the end. And even then, I couldn’t stop
thinking about Aria and her story."
--Heather Frost, author of The Seers Trilogy

"Emotionally gripping, this beautifully crafted young adult romance will pull at readers’
heartstrings from tragic beginning to happy ending. A must-read for fans of
contemporary romance, both young and seasoned. "
--Julie Ford, author of Replacing Gentry

"Porcelain Keys is a fresh, heart-wrenching take on boy-meets-girl. Using fantastic and
musical imagery to tell the poignant love story of Aria and Thomas, the author leads the
reader to a swelling crescendo as if we're part of the song—and what a beautiful song it
--Cindy C. Bennett, author of Geek Girl and Rapunzel Untangled

"A lyrical love story that will leave your heart singing. Porcelain Keys is a masterpiece
with emotional depth, young love, and family angst. Beard takes us on a journey of selfdiscovery,
second chances, and ultimately, sweet resolution."
--Heather Ostler, author of The Siren's Secret

Author Interview

Hello, Sarah. Thanks for stopping by my blog today as part of the tour for your book, Porcelain Keys!

Thank you for having me!

I majored in music my Freshman year of college and have read so few books with a character who listens to or plays classical music, so this was a draw for me to the story. Why did you decide to write a book with this type of character?

Music has always been an important part of my life, and I’ve always felt that it can give voice to feelings that are not otherwise communicable. Aria’s story is an extremely emotional one, and it felt natural to make her someone who expressed herself through music. When words fail, music speaks. And when the story begins, there are so many things that Aria cannot safely say with words.

How much does music play a role in Aria’s life and in the plot?

Music is how Aria identifies herself. She thinks and feels in musical terms, and it’s how she makes sense of her world. It’s the one thing that connects her to her mother, who is deceased. Music is also an integral part of the plot and one of the main sources of conflict. Because her father forbids music, she has to keep that vital element of herself a secret. And even though there are a lot of different plot lines going on in the story, the music overarches everything; it’s the thread that weaves everything together.

I love that you picked a musical name for your heroine! Is there a story behind you choosing Aria for her name?

In earlier drafts of Porcelain Keys, Aria was actually named something different. It wasn’t until I finished my second draft that I sat down and gave some serious thought to her name. I tried to think about what her mother (who was a musician) would have named her, and as you know, Aria means “song.” Plus, I just loved the sound of it. I tried on a few different last names too, trying to find a combination that had a nice rhythm and was pleasing to the ear. And ultimately I came up with Aria Kinsley.

Well, the name definitely fits. Can you tell us a little about her character?

Aria is someone who on the surface seems fragile and vulnerable, and may even see herself as weak. But as the story progresses, we see just how brave she is, and she comes to see herself for who she really is—someone courageous and strong, who is not afraid to take the hard path when she knows it’s the right path. She has a sensitive heart and feels things very intensely. She’s passionate. She loves deeply, and she grieves deeply. She takes everything in and lets little out. She is a hard worker and isn’t afraid to sacrifice. She is sure of two things—her love of music, and her love for Thomas.

Yes, let's talk abou Thomas, who has a fairly common name. Can you tell us about choosing that name and a little about his character?

I wish I had an interesting story about Thomas’s name, but I don’t. It was the first name that came to mind, and all I can say is that it felt right from the beginning. His last name, on the other hand, took some work. I wanted a lyrical sounding name, and about the same time I was trying to come up with his last name, I watched a scene from Sense and Sensibility where Marianne Dashwood stands atop the hill overlooking John Willoughby’s home and through the rain cries, “Willoughby...Willoughby...” It’s such a beautiful sound, so I looked up names ending in –by, and stumbled upon “Ashby.” Thomas Ashby. It had the musical sound I was looking for, so I kept it.

As far as his character, Thomas is both an artist and an intellectual, a modern-day da Vinci, if you will (though on a much smaller scale). He creates beautiful art pieces with melted wax, then turns around and reads The Feynman Lectures on Physics—for fun. He is studious and introspective, and much too hard on himself. He is restless, but good at hiding it.

He’s perceptive, and sees things in Aria that others don’t. He knows she’s hurting and holding things in—things she’s afraid to express—but he’s patient with her. He waits for her to open up instead of demanding answers. And at the same time, he withholds his own secrets for fear that they’ll add to Aria’s hardships. He is carrying great burdens, but he never shows it. And at one point, he can’t carry them anymore, and he buckles.

Thomas adores Aria and wants nothing more than for her to be happy. He goes to great lengths to help her achieve her dreams and opens doors for her, figuratively and literally. He is not perfect, but he is just what Aria needs.

I definitely agree. :) I think the cover and title are really beautiful. How much influence did you have over choosing either?

I had a lot of influence over both the title and the cover. I went through a lot of sappy and irrelevant working titles as I wrote the book, including Home to You, Snow Angel, and Winter Song. I waited until I’d finished my book to come up with the final title. My husband and I sat down and had a serious brainstorming session, listing all the themes and objects that were relevant to my story. Among all the words we wrote down were “porcelain” and “keys.” Porcelain, because there is a porcelain music box in the story that is key to the plot, and Keys, for piano keys. But keys also unlock things, and in this story, many things are unlocked. Secrets of the past, and other things as well. The word porcelain also took on a double meaning, because my character starts out her journey very vulnerable and fragile. We put the two words together and tried it on for size. Porcelain Keys. It had a nice ring to it, and the more we said it, the more perfect it sounded.

As for the cover, Cedar Fort actually let me have a lot of input in the design process. We went through three entirely different designs before settling on the final one. The first two were good designs, but they didn’t quite carry the emotion that I was aiming for. I wanted something that would intrigue my target market—females looking for a good heart-wrenching love story. So I wanted something with movement that was both romantic and dramatic. The back-and-forth emails between my publisher and me during this time could have amounted to a novella themselves. But the design team at Cedar Fort was very patient and accommodating with me, and in the end we were both very happy with the final cover.

What is something unique that we may not know about you?

I got pulled onto stage once with U2’s Bono, and he cinched me to his side and sang “Bad” to me. Also, I wrote and recorded a bunch of depressing love songs when I was in college. They are now on my iTunes, and I listen to them every now and then when I want a good laugh.

Lol! I have to admit that I love U2. We stayed up late to watch Jimmy Fallen because I had to see them on his show! So, I just have to say that I think that is pretty awesome! What is your favorite genre to read?

I read a variety of genres, but if the plot doesn’t involve a good love story, I have a hard time staying focused. I read a lot of YA because generally it’s cleaner than adult. And I enjoy reading classics, mostly to study the language.

On that note...What are a few of your favorite books/authors right now?

Some of my favorites lately have been Where She Went by Gayle Forman, Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Some of my all-time favorite authors are Daphne du Maurier, Charlotte Bronte, Sue Monk Kidd, and Shannon Hale.

Where She Went (If I Stay, #2) Blackmoore 
The Scorpio Races Attachments The Fault in Our Stars

Great picks! What five words would you use to describe Porcelain Keys?

Romantic. Lyrical. Emotional. Intriguing. Captivating.

I would definitely agree. Thanks, again, Sarah! :)

About the Author

Sarah Beard is the author of Porcelain Keys, a YA contemporary romance. She has a degree in communications from the University of Utah and splits her time between writing and raising three energetic boys. She is a cancer survivor and a hopeless romantic. She enjoys reading and composing music, and lives with her husband and children in Salt Lake City, Utah. You can follow Sarah on twitter at @authorsarahb, or at

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