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    Claire’s Diary

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Oh goodness I don’t even know where to BEGIN with today’s Rock ‘n’ Roll High School. I’d say there are no words, but the truth is that there are too many. My guest is Christopher Penman, guitarist and co-founder of seminal, fictional, 80s British band Banks Forest. Christopher also stars in my latest book, my first full-length novel, Bring Me Back. I was anxious to give readers a better look at Christopher’s adolescence and particularly his musical roots, since that’s something that I was able to only touch upon in the book. Plus, every minute I get to spend with Christopher is memorable. I love reading the details of the first time he saw a live band and, of course, it’s amazing to read about his musical influences. I didn’t mind learning about his favorite make out song either.

Christopher Penman

Swiftfields Secondary School, Stourbridge, England, Class of ’80, Currently: Founding member of Banks Forest, musician

Band and/or song that reminds you the most of high school: David Bowie. Graham from Banks Forest and I fancied ourselves intellectuals, even if our marks in school never reflected it. There was something effortlessly cool and artistic and most of all, cerebral, about Bowie. I loved that his music was a mix of direct 70s rock and spacey experimentalism. He’d been around for years by the time we were in secondary school, so I think part of the appeal was that we thought we were being true music connoisseurs. I have fond memories of listening to Ziggy Stardust on my dad’s wobbly old turntable (side one, especially) through massive headphones so my mum would have no idea how loud I was playing it.

Favorite piece of music memorabilia (poster, t-shirt, etc.) in high school: A t-shirt of the cover of the first album by The Clash. You know, the black and white image of the band with “The Clash” in red across the bottom and military green on the sides. It was quite a cheap shirt and I wore it until it was in tatters, holes at the armpits, a complete disaster. My mum begged me to throw it out and even enlisted one of my older sisters, Kate, to nick it from my bedroom. I was onto them though. I’d stuffed it under my bed.

Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: Bloody Cliff Richard. It was really the girls that liked him, something about that helmet of hair and satiny shirts. We couldn’t talk about how much we hated him because the girls would get angry and I, especially, couldn’t afford to have the ladies on my bad side. To this day, I can’t hear “We Don’t Talk Anymore” without wanting to strangle someone. I’m all for camp, but that song is bollocks.

Best show or concert you saw in high school: The Jam, right after their first album was released. Graham and I went, even though we were a bit young. I think we were thirteen or fourteen. I’d never seen a band before and it wouldn’t be until I’d seen a few more shows that I truly realized how special The Jam was live. They had such raw intensity on stage. Frenetic. Hyperactive. They wore black suits and ties with proper dress shirts and they played as if their lives depended on it. Brilliant. The crowd went crackers, especially when they played “In The City”. It was mayhem. I went home that night thinking I’d better start doing more than mucking about with dad’s old guitar.

Best high school make-out song: I know I’m going to get a lot of guff for this, but I’ll say “If You Leave Me Now” by Chicago. It’s the only song I’ve ever heard that has an acoustic guitar solo, quite the ballsy move if you ask me. It was quintessential 70s American soft rock and the girls loved it. They were putty in my eagerly roving hands as a result. When you’re a sixteen year-old with overactive hormones, that’s all you really care about.

BMB_smallChristopher Penman is co-founder of seminal British 80s band, Banks Forest. You can see a glimpse of his life after the band in the novel Bring Me Back.

Hillary Duff on a stick, how in the hell will I ever escape NKOTB? Just when we have a few NKOTB-free posts, they rear their pretty heads (and rears) again. Perhaps I only bristle at the Blockheads because I fear that if I’d had been of that generation, I would’ve fallen prey to the NKOTB charms. Thank goodness I grew up in the Duran era. The amazing fabulous-o Cari Quinn is here today, lamenting her own NKOTB-ness, and sharing some other fun with us. Cari and I share an editor, a love of music and steamy books, but we bonded over college basketball. She’s an Orange-woman, I’m a Tarheel. Our teams will be in the same league starting next season, which means y’all–yes, Y’ALL– best clear the decks. There may be some trash-talking on Twitter, followed quickly by tweeting of hot guy pics, to mend fences. We will not be tweeting photos of NKOTB.

Cari Quinn

Corcoran High School, Central NY, Class of ’94, Currently: Full-time writer and quarter-time smart ass

Band and/or song that reminds you the most of high school: Sadly, New Kids On The Block. Which song? Any of them. “Hangin’ Tough” probably the most. I will admit to doing a little reminiscing when I hear it (which, luckily, isn’t often.)

Favorite piece of music memorabilia (poster, t-shirt, etc.) in high school: Probably my dog-eared copies of Billboard magazine. Oh yeah, I used to buy that sucker as often as I could to pore over the music charts. I always wanted to be a DJ. Casey Kasem had a great job – does anyone even still remember him?

Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: Since NKOTB had their share of haters, I’d say The Cure. I totally didn’t get that one. Similar to my confusion about the popularity of Godsmack now. I like a wide variety of music and listen to all genres from rap to classical, but sometimes I’m finicky (and curiously enough, a cat lover as well.)

Best show or concert you saw in high school: Not a one. I didn’t go to my first concert until college. Sacrilege, I know.

Best high school make-out song: My favorite song freshman year was Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Do Me”. I suppose it wasn’t a big stretch to imagine I’d end up as an erotic romance author, huh?

Thanks so much to the amazing Karen for having me here today! I love this girl, even if her team will try to massacre mine when SU finally gets to the ACC.

Cari Quinn is a USA Today Bestselling Author of contemporary and erotic romance. Her latest release is Melt. Visit Cari at cariquinn.com.


To Justin Norton, an impending blizzard is the perfect time to push the limits. The last thing he expects to encounter on the trail is a dazed woman next to her overturned snowmobile–especially since that woman is his former lover Kylie Fisher, the bartender he’s been slowly rebuilding a friendship with over a shared love of basketball and lager. He’s had some pretty kinky fantasies about her and now that they’re alone, he’s having a hard time keeping his hands off. But she’s weak and hurting…isn’t she?

 Walking in on her long-term boyfriend with three naked women isn’t the way Kylie intended to celebrate the holidays. Flying on fury, she recklessly hits the trail on her brand new snowmobile. Luckily Justin, her seemingly easygoing knight in flannel and denim, saves her from herself, but does he have the moves to back up the sexy looks he’s flung her way for months? Because if he can’t make her melt, she’s damn sure going to find a man who can. But is she really ready for everything that comes with Justin Norton?

Ridiculously adorable Kat from the smart and sassy Book Tart blog sent me her RNRHS contribution with the caveat that she’s “so not rock ‘n’ roll”. I was quick to let her know that one previous contributor’s favorite make-out song was Pachelbel’s Canon in D. There are no rules here! If you’re anything like me, you appreciate that the people who didn’t grow up liking the same stuff everyone else did are the most fun to hang out with. So, yeah, Kat, be sure to send me an invite the next time you decide to haul out the Frank LPs.

Kat aka The Queen of Tarts (in my head)

Homeschooled, graduated ’98, Currently: Nanny, Family Assistant, reader, reviewer, blogger, vlogger (now if only those last four paid!)

Band and/or song that reminds you the most of high school: *sigh* ok I adore Karen, (so to the muchness!) but I put off doing this because I am NOT cool *head/desk* I didn’t listen to popular music or the radio much… I’d actually have to google to tell you what was playing during the late 1990s. And I think that defeats the purpose. *snicker* What I DID listen to, and nearly wore them out, was a box set of records my dad brought home from the thrift store.

Yep, records baby! No, it wasn’t THAT long ago, we had CDs. But we also had a record player and the box set was the Readers Digest late 1940s after World War II 10 record set. I about drove my family nuts! I would play and play those. Sooo there was The Andrews Sisters, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Mel Torme, Rosemary Clooney and Doris Day to name a few.

And a few of the songs that I would sing? Because, yes, I sang along. “Thanks for the Memories”, “The Very Thought of You”, “My Dreams Are Getting Better All The Time” by Vera Ellen, and especially…

“I Could Write a Book”… from “Pal Joey”

Favorite piece of music memorabilia (poster, t-shirt, etc.) in high school: Well, That record set… What else? I had a Judy Garland music box.

Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: N’sync was popular then right? I didn’t gush over ‘em. That’s only group that’s stuck in my memory though… I now I’m giving in and googling what music artist were big in the late 1990s, I’ll be right back….

1997 Music Chart…Oh! Michael Bolton! ROTFL I remember that hair! Spice Girls *giggle* You couldn’t avoid them. Counting Crows? I’m sure I would know them if I heard a song. Savage Garden… Yep, I remember singing along to that “You’ll be my kiss my fantasy” song… (I couldn’t listen to my records in the car!) Chumbawumba “I Get Knocked Down”… Yeah, that’ll get stuck in your head.

Best show or concert you saw in high school: See?! No cool stories, all my fav music artists are dead or not in concert. Even back then I was a retro baby.

Now, my music taste is a bit more eclectic. I listen to the top 20 channel sometimes. I love Bare Naked Ladies, I adore Pink! But I still really, really still love the 40s and 50s music. Give me a crooner… Oh! So Michael Bublé and Harry Connick Jr. will work for me in a pinch but I prefer the real deal.

I had to check out Duran Duran cause Karen loves them so. I agree! *thud* Yummy! and talented. I grew up in the wrong decade I think.

Thank you ever so to Karen for asking me to be part of the Rock N Roll High School. I’m flattered and so wish I was better at it. Though I stand by my 1945 singers…they aren’t very rock ‘n’ roll.

Give me Frank Sinatra *melt*

Visit Kat at The Book Tart for her spaz-outs (her term!) on various books she’s read or authors she adores all while fashionably dressed in her pin-up attire. Except when she’s in her PJs. But this is virtual, so you can imagine her as a 24-7 rockabilly chick. You can follow Kat on Twitter at @The_Book_Tart or check out her channel on You Tube.