I’ve written in the past about why I write, about the magic of being immersed in a story as my characters pull me in interesting and sometimes surprising directions. But there’s more to it than that.
First, a little backstory. Mike, one of my brothers, and his wife Jennifer had been living in London, UK. In 2004, they started a business there called Hot Breath Karaoke, where they hosted karaoke events for many clients and venues across London. But it was more than just karaoke. They made it interesting and fun, with spin-to-win wheels and wacky prizes, custom designed and printed t-shirts, exercise bikes, and innovative video effects. It was karaoke raised to the power of unlimited creativity. Soon their brand of entertainment was being requested across Europe. Several years later, Mike and Jennifer started a family and Hot Breath Karaoke continued, now with kids.
Flash forward to 2015. The building Mike and Jennifer lived in and their surrounding community began a gentrification process. They could not afford the rent increase, and due to the increased cost of living and lack of affordable housing in London, their only option was to move their new family back to Canada and start over. It was the hardest decision they have had to make in their lives so far. They settled in Toronto in 2016 and have been working to reestablish the following they had in London and Europe. It has been tough to say the least.
A few weeks ago, an unexpected package from Finland arrived on their doorstep. Inside, was one of the custom Hot Breath Karaoke t-shirts Mike had made eleven years earlier. Included with it was a note of thanks for all the great events Mike and Jennifer had hosted in London. Lotta from Finland had also included “stickers for the girls and Finnish candy for the brave.” [I must be part Finnish because I LOVE Salmiakki (salted licorice.)]
When I saw Mike post this photo to Facebook, I was struck by how much he and Jennifer had affected Lotta’s life. In Lotta’s note, she wrote that one of Mike and Jennifer’s unique events, Foreign Tongues, “remains one of [her] best nights out, ever!” As a creator, you can’t get higher praise than that.
The other piece of the puzzle for any creator is connection, whether it’s performing live entertainment like Hot Breath Karaoke, or in my case writing novels. We want to connect with people. We want to entertain them, make them think, feel and maybe (if we’re lucky) remember us years later.
The magic of creation is important, but connection is the other half. I leave you with a quote Mike and Jennifer would often place on the back of their t-shirts (it’s now featured prominently on their website):
“Without you, we’re nothing. Without us, you’re still in the shower.”
To find out more about Mike and Jennifer’s Hot Breath Karaoke, Toronto-style, visit TheHouseOfHotBreath.com.
And of course, my novels can be found on all the major retailers.