Character Interview: Staff Sergeant Adam Knox

horn

Since my first novella, One Night in Washington, D.C., will be released soon, I decided to delve deeper with one of my characters. Readers, meet Staff Sergeant Adam Knox.

Character Bio: Staff Sergeant Knox, a French horn player for the United States Marine Band, has been studying music since he was ten years of age. He earned his Bachelor of Music in French Horn Performance from the Jacobs School of Music of Indiana, followed by a Master of Music in French Horn Performance from the same conservatory. Prior to joining, he was a member of the Arlington Brass Quintet and a freelance musician and private instructor in the D.C. area. He has been a featured soloist in several performances at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

What is your worst and best quality? My worst quality would have to be my work ethic. Over the past few years, I’ve tried to find a balance between my work and leisure time, but when you do something you love for work, it no longer seems like work, you know? I like to keep busy and pursue any opportunity possible, which leaves me with little time for much else.

My best quality would probably be my level of commitment. When I fall, I fall hard and am fiercely loyal. That’s not to say I’m indiscriminate with my affections; I am quite particular.

What is the one thing you wish other people knew about you? I can be tender and romantic. My father raised me to treat women with respect and dignity, while not putting them on a pedestal.

What is your biggest secret something no one knows about? Well, that’s certainly personal. If I have to answer, it would have to be that I’ve held a certain affection for someone more talented and remarkable than me for a long time. I haven’t told anyone, and I know she doesn’t know it. Not yet, at least.

What are you most afraid of? The loss of publicly funded music education and programs. My band teacher in Texas is my personal hero. Without her presence and encouragement, I would never have achieved anything. Music’s value is something that cannot be directly measured, so it’s always on budget chopping blocks. When one reads between the lines, one understands that studying music, even for a brief period of time, greatly improves brain function. It’s more than just symbols on a page; it’s a way of life.

What do you want more than anything? Stability. I appreciate calmness and patience. I know that my profession lends itself to a fair amount of chaos, so I like being able to know that I’ll still have my loved ones, my horn, and a glass of good whiskey at the end of the day.

What is your relationship status? 
I like to say that I’m no monk. I’m open to a serious relationship with a woman, but she has to astonish me.

How much of a rebel are you? 
*laughs* You’re asking the wrong man this question. You should be asking trumpet players that. In all honesty, I’m rather dull by comparison. My mother and father think I’m rebellious because I’m 35 and haven’t married, but that’s not exactly the worst transgression anyone can make.  

What do you considered to be your greatest achievement? Oh, easily securing my position in The President’s Own. That audition was rigorous as all get out.

What is your idea of happiness? Peace and stability. Creating a true partnership with someone and sustaining it.

What is your current state of mind?  Honestly, I’m frustrated by myopic thinking expressed by those in power. It seems that the only thing anyone writing a budget cares about is the pure monetary value of an entity. While that makes sense in terms of small business, it doesn’t make any sense when it comes to people’s livelihoods. I wish some staffer in their offices would shake them and scream, “Haven’t you heard of something called ‘intrinsic value’?” Alas, that’s not how it works in this town.

What is your most treasured possession? My horn. Before you ask, I have a Conn 9D Double French Horn and it would be the single item I’d save should my apartment burn to the ground.

What is your most marked characteristic? Probably that I’m quiet and tend to not showboat. I let my work speak for itself.

What is it that you most dislike? 
Anyone with a lack of discipline. My band teacher had a small sign in her office that said, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” That principle applies to every aspect in a person’s life, and I cannot abide a person who doesn’t lead a disciplined life. I’m not a total stickler, mind you; I have my share of pleasure. It has to be balanced with my work, of course.

Which living person do you most despise? I am not going to name names, but anyone who would knowingly take away instruments from children tops the list. A close second would be a person who gets in the way of someone else’s dreams.

What is your greatest regret? Probably that I’ve waited a long time to get to know someone that I hold in high regard.

Who is your favorite hero in fiction? Faramir from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. He’s loathed by his father, yet tries to please him to his near-ruin. In the end, he’s held in high esteem for doing right by Frodo, despite his father’s wishes, and of course marries the fierce and beautiful Éowyn.

What is your motto? “All glory is fleeting.”  Our accomplishments today are not finishing lines. They’re stepping stones to bigger and better things.

Be sure to pre-order One Night in Washington, D.C. here. Happy reading!

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