Book Tour & Giveaway!

To celebrate the release of Sing Like No One's Listening by Vanessa Jones on September first 2020, blogs across the web are featuring original content from Vanessa, as well as ten chances to win a finished copy plus a grand prize giveaway!

Sing Like No One's Listening
Written by Vanessa Jones
Contemporary, Mental Health, Romance, Music
Published September 1st 2020
384 Pages
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Purchase from Amazon or Indiebound
A moving story of grief and healing, sure to be a pure joy for any musical theatre aficionado.

Nettie Delaney has just been accepted into a prestigious performing arts school, the very same school her superstar mother attended. With her mother’s shadow hanging over her, Nettie has her work cut out for her and everyone is watching. To make matters worse, Nettie hasn’t been able to sing a single note since her mother died. Whenever she tries, she just clams up. But if Nettie’s going to survive a demanding first year and keep her place in a highly coveted program, she’ll have to work through her grief and deliver a showstopper or face expulsion.

All may not be lost, however, when Nettie stumbles upon a mysterious piano player in an empty studio after class. Masked behind a curtain, can Nettie summon the courage to find her voice? Or will the pressure and anxiety of performing come crashing down?

My Five Worst Auditions Ever by Vanessa Jones
In the very first scene in Sing Like No One’s Listening, the main character Nettie has a disastrous audition at the performing arts college she is desperate to get into. In honour of this, I thought I’d share my own worst audition experiences with you from my time as a performer in West End shows. Worryingly, there were lots to choose from!

Close the door on your way out
If I remember correctly, this was my second callback for Les Misérables at the Palace Theatre. I was up for the part of Fantine and, buoyed by the two successful auditions I had under my belt, I was feeling positive. Good, even. I knew my material, my voice was in great shape and I walked into the studio with the air of a girl who knows what she wants.

The song went well, I had a short interview with the panel, who seemed to like me, and that was that. No mistakes, no bum notes. Yay me! I thanked the team and went back over to the door, and that was when it all started to go downhill. I couldn’t get out of the room. The door was stuck. I pulled and pulled with all my might, rattled the handle, I even tried putting my fingers in the gaps at the sides to prise it open, but it was no good. I’ve had a fear of being locked in a room since I was little and the door handle came off the inside of my bedroom door, and my mind jumped straight to the worst case scenario, which involved locksmiths and the fire service and having to wait all day in a room full of important showbiz people who didn’t want me there.

After a minute, the casting director noticed that something was up. He asked me if I was alright.

No! I gasped. The door’s stuck. We’re trapped in here.
The corner of his mouth twitched. Darling, read the sign.

I looked up, and to my horror, saw a large sign reading Push. Humiliated, I touched the door and easily made my way out of the studio, the echoes of laughter following me down the corridor and pretty much all the way home.

Wishing you would somehow remember your words
This was my final recall for the part of Christine in The Phantom of the Opera. I was nervous beyond anything I’d ever known before. The first song the musical director asked me to sing was Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again, which is one of Christine’s main ballads. I got through the first verse okay, but when the chorus hit, I blanked.

Shall we go again from the chorus? said the musical director, a little annoyed.
Uh, sure, thanks, I said. This was a one off. Put it down to nerves. Next time would be better, now that I had warmed up. He played me in, my brain going into overdrive to find the words. But nothing.

I’m so sorry, I said. Could you remind me of the lyrics, please?
The casting director looked at me as if I’d just told her Prince Charles was outside waiting to audition. It’s wishing you were somehow here again? she said drily. The... title of the song?

I’m still waiting for the call.

I’m only doing this for kicks
Dance call, can’t remember the show. Could have been Beauty and the Beast. Something with a lot of kicks, anyway. We’d learnt the routine and it was my turn to be called up to dance. Everything was going well until my shoe suddenly came loose (how?) and flew off into the air. The room looked on in horror as it connected with... the choreographer’s face. Ice was fetched, a chair brought out and a thousand grovelling apologies were made by me. When the names of all the people who had made the cut were read out, the casting director said Vanessa, actually, scrap that. I mean, fair enough.

Cry Me a River
This one actually wasn’t funny at all. On my way to the audition, which I was running late for, a girl in my carriage on the train started having a fit. Alarmed, I went over to see if she was okay, which she clearly wasn’t. I was unsure what to do, apart from make sure her head was cushioned and that she wouldn’t hurt herself, which I’d read somewhere. After I’d done that, I called down the carriage for help. The other passengers looked up from their newspapers and phones, and then ignored me. Like, who does that? Panicking, I pulled the cord for the train to stop and waited for the paramedics to arrive. As soon as they did and I could see that she was going to be fine, I ran all the way to my audition, arriving sweaty, late, stressed, and angry that no one had helped me. Someone on the panel asked me if I was okay, and instead of saying, Yes, just a bit of a rush to get here or something equally as bland, I told them the whole story. And what’s worse, I ugly cried the entire way through, and continued to do this during my song, which unfortunately wasn’t the kind of song that lent itself to tears. They were sympathetic. I did not get the job.

High Enough For You?
This was a casting for a brand new, off West End show. The kind of job you hope you’ll land because it could be the start of something much bigger. A chance to create a role, the prospect of a West End transfer, an Olivier award... At this stage in development, however, they couldn’t even afford an accompanist on the piano, so it was stated on the breakdown that we would be asked to sing acapella. Which would have been fine if I hadn’t randomly decided to start my song almost an octave too high. When I realised my mistake, I stopped and changed keys, right? No. I decided to push on to the end. How difficult could it be? The result was an ending that was now something only dogs could hear, especially in my Lina Lamont voice, which was the only way I could get up there. No Olivier. This time.

Something I’ll never forget is when I came out of that audition, I saw a girl who’d been in the year above me at college, waiting to go to class in another studio. I told her I’d ruined my audition by singing too high, and she said, Oh, don’t worry about it,  I’ve had so many bad auditions I couldn’t even count them. It’s part of the job.

It stayed with me, the way she was so unfazed. The more I thought about it later, the more I realised how right she was, failure is part of the job. As soon as I accepted that, not only did I start to do a lot better in auditions, but I didn’t stress as much about them. It’s like, yes, we all want to do well, but sometimes it’s okay to fail. You can just get back up and try again. Possibly learn something. And who knows? Maybe there’s something better around the corner...

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One person will receive a finished copy of Sing Like No One's Listening. US and Canadian residents only. Ends September 13th 2020. If you are under sixteen years of age, please ask your parents for permission.

Win a copy of Sing Like No One's Listening and a wireless bluetooth karaoke microphone. US and Canadian residents only. Ends September 13th 2020. If you are under sixteen years of age, please ask your parents for permission.

About The Author
Vanessa Jones trained at Laine Theatre Arts and went on to be a musical theater actor in West End Shows, including Sister Act, Grease, Guys and Dolls, Annie Get Your Gun, and Mary Poppins. She began her writing career with a stage play for a fringe theater and also works as a freelance copywriter and editor. She lives in England with her fellow chimney sweep.

You can find Vanessa on Twitter   Instagram   Facebook   Website


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