Character Interview: Lauren Collins

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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 Lauren Collins.

Character Bio: Ms. Collins, a French horn player for the National Symphony Orchestra, has been studying music since she was in middle school. She earned her Bachelor of Music in Brass Performance from Boston University, followed by a Master of Music in French Horn Performance from The Julliard School. Prior to joining, she was a member of the Strauss Horn Society, as well as a freelance musician and private instructor in the D.C. area. She has played in concerts all over the world and will be releasing her first album later this year.

What is your worst and best quality? I’d have to say that my worst quality is that I do not suffer fools gladly. It’s gotten me in trouble a time or two, but not so much anymore.

If I had to say what my best quality would be, I guess it would be my honesty to the point of bluntness. It can be a double-edged sword, but I strive to live a life free of drama-inducing headaches.

What is the one thing you wish other people knew about you? Although I’m still rather young, my hearing is not great. Playing the horn can make for some loud, boisterous acoustics, which wreaks havoc on one’s hearing. If I ask someone to repeat something, I generally am not being rude; I simply couldn’t hear everything properly.

What is your biggest secret something no one knows about? Well, I don’t make it a secret that my aunt raised me. However, she didn’t know how to best give me that age-old sex talk. She opted to take me to a Planned Parenthood center for an hour and have me ask as many questions as I could think of from the staff members there. It was rather enlightening.

What are you most afraid of? Losing myself. Not to get all armchair therapeutic on myself, but I think part of why I haven’t thrown myself into a long-term relationship is that I’m terrified of being known as “Man’s Girlfriend.” My life is pretty complete on my own, and a man would be an accessory, albeit possibly an excellent accessory. It’s so selfish, but there you go.

What do you want more than anything? To answer the question “What is your next solo project?” more often than “Why are you still single?”

What is your relationship status? 
Currently single, and I don’t see that changing. I like routine and my life has a sense of order now that I’m in the NSO. I’d be down for a relationship, but it’s not my top priority.

How much of a rebel are you? 
That depends on what’s considered rebellious. I’m 31, unmarried, and happily childfree. In that regard, I’m in the minority, although nowadays it’s a larger minority of women than even twenty years ago. If we’re going with my mother’s definition of rebellious, I’m disgraceful. But I’m happy, and that’s all that matters.   

What do you considered to be your greatest achievement? Getting my chair in the NSO. It still hits me sometimes that I’m actually a member of the orchestra, and that I get paid to do what I love.

What is your idea of happiness? Good Lord, these questions are personal. If I had to give it any thought, I’d say good wine, good company, and good music.

What is your current state of mind?  Again, still amazed that I am in the NSO. I mean, I knew I could do it, and that I wanted it desperately. Now that I have it, I’m in that blend of astonishment and “OK what’s next?”

What is your most treasured possession? It’s a tie between my performance horn, an Alexander F/B-flat Double Horn, Model 103, and the last picture I have of my Aunt Celia.

What is your most marked characteristic? That I can be a deeply compassionate instructor despite not having children of my own. Being able to focus my attention on my students is beneficial to the people paying me for my instruction. I care a great deal about my students’ success, which makes me an excellent teacher. That doesn’t mean I’d automatically be a good parent, though.

What is it that you most dislike? That in 2017, women are still judged harshly for not marrying and having families. What irks me the most about this is when women direct this judgement to other women. I thought the whole point of feminism is respecting women’s right to choose the lives they want to lead.

Which living person do you most despise? I don’t think it’s necessarily one person; I don’t have enough energy to waste on hating one person. I do get unreasonably upset when either men or women say things like “You’ll never really know love until you have kids!” My life is totally fine without them, thanks.

What is your greatest regret? That’s a tough question. I know that I tend to put on blinders when I’m pursuing a goal, and I’d have to say that I regret not being able to take them off sooner. I might have discovered some things sooner.

What is your favorite song? To play: Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony. To listen to: “So What” by Miles Davis. I know, a horn player that likes jazz? Seems unlikely, but I’m secretly jealous of the whole organized chaos aspect of jazz. I’m too wedded to order and precision, which makes my jazz ability almost nonexistent.

What is your motto? “Unfold your own myth.” It’s a line from a poem by Rumi, and it always stuck with me. Rather than get jealous of someone else’s accomplishments, I’d rather pursue my own.

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

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