Long Live Rock by Leslie Baldacci

LONG LIVE ROCK

A tonic for Baby Boomers, a shot in the arm of romance, friendship, deception, adventure, music, and hope for a love that arrives unexpectedly later in life, conflicting, confusing – and dazzling.

Cover design by Mason Rosati © 2020

About The Book

Lisette DuPre is a ballet teacher whose life and marriage have become as rigidly prescribed as the positions of her art. Soon to be an empty nester, she questions her life.  It feels inauthentic, almost mechanical. She is going through the motions with just enough joy to tide her over, but not fill her up. Her passions have dimmed. Her husband has a huge secret.

When their teenage daughter calls from the first-aid tent at a rock concert, Lisette comes face-to-face with rock icon Shane Stewart, singer for the Disgracefuls, a band that was the soundtrack of her youth. He has a wardrobe crisis. She has a sewing kit. The intimacy of the moment evokes a yearning Shane cannot quite name, but personifies in Lisette – a full-grown woman, polar opposite of the models and groupies who spend the night and disappear.

Shane is approaching a major milestone of his own and struggles to reconcile being “a man in full” when his work has always been to play, and his lore leans toward juvenile delinquency.

A merry band of memorable characters each play a hand in supporting the budding romance while they themselves experience self-rediscovery, accept change, revisit bad habits, redeem themselves, and dare to love.

 Tens of millions of Baby Boomers striving for meaningful “last chapters” will recognize the tensions this story explores: How can we remain relevant while growing older in the youth-oriented culture our generation once commanded? How do we accept change, live with authenticity, leave a legacy? What do we hold on to? What do we leave behind? How do we let go? Is it still appropriate to experience rapture at a rock concert? (Answer to last question: absolutely.)

Long Live Rock is a tonic for Baby Boomers, a shot in the arm of romance, friendship, deception, adventure, music, and hope for a love that arrives unexpectedly later in life, conflicting, confusing – and dazzling.

"Like a lingering first kiss, “Long Live Rock” is a slow and steady burn, drenched in possibility. But with a twist. The author promises “a grown-up romance,” and delivers just that. Our heroes are not heaving teens or other rookies in the bloodsport known as love."

ALAN P. HENRY

About The Author

Leslie Baldacci’s only reason for going to college was to become a rock music DJ when FM radio was “underground.” Unfortunately, she failed her FCC test in three different cities. Fortunately, she was able to leave the technical aspects of broadcasting to others and became a radio newscaster, and from there redirected her higher education to print journalism. She was a newspaperwoman for 25 years, including 17 years at the Chicago Sun-Times, where she was a reporter, editor, columnist, and member of the editorial board. She hosted “The Leslie Show” on WLS talk radio in the ‘90s.

Baldacci celebrated her mid-life crisis by leaving the media to become a Chicago Public Schools teacher through an alternative certification program. She is the author of “Inside Mrs. B’s Classroom: Courage, Hope, and Learning on Chicago’s South Side.” After six years as a classroom teacher, she mentored more than 100 beginning teachers in chronically underserved schools. She retired from the New Teacher Center, where she was an instructional designer, in 2018. That same year, she co-hosted the Zebra Sisters podcast on crossing racial boundaries with longtime friend and colleague, Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell.

She now works part-time as a cook and lives in Chicago and Michigan.

Photo by Ashlee Rezin Garcia © Chicago Sun-Times (2018)
Leslie Baldacci

Hello Readers

Hello, readers.

It’s been one hell of a year, 2020. Global pandemic. Protests for social justice gripping the nation. The gut-churn of the political situation.

I decided to self-publish Long Live Rock to provide a measure of relief and escape the way I know best: through a book.

I started writing this novel when I retired in 2018. I’d been carrying threads of the story in my head for a long time. As a non-fiction writer all my adult life, I was surprised when my fictional characters, once uncaged from my imagination, picked up my threads and ran with them.

My pre-readers, who are very smart people, devoted readers, professional writers and editors, loved the story and cheered me on. So it was soul-crushing not to find an agent to represent this work. Was it ageism? All I know is that I could not bear to write another query letter. I decided “f— the publishing industry – I’ll do it myself.”

And so here it is. I hope it makes you laugh. I hope it reminds you that getting older doesn’t make you exempt from desire or unworthy of romance. Answers don’t necessarily come with the years. What’s important is to stay curious. I hope it strengthens your resolve to be open to surprises and to keep rocking!

Leslie Baldacci
July, 2020

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