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$3,381
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74
backers
35hours to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Tue, October 15 2019 6:30 PM UTC +00:00.

The Music of Pedro

A novel of love and tragedy set in the lush and dusty southwest of 1920s Mexico.

The Music of Pedro

A novel of love and tragedy set in the lush and dusty southwest of 1920s Mexico.

$3,381
pledged of $1,500pledged of $1,500 goal
74
backers
35hours to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Tue, October 15 2019 6:30 PM UTC +00:00.

About

On the day of his birth, Pedro Arriaga is gifted to an aunt, a domineering childless woman who would have preferred him as a girl. She resolves to mold him into something in between, something so unlike the men she contended with as a female scholar at the turn of the 19th century that he would struggle, just as she did, to find his like in a world that doesn’t know what to do with him. Until he meets Sister Margarita.

The Music of Pedro (MoP) begins in 1923 in a rural mining town at the foot of the Mexican State of Jalisco, and follows the path of a young boy turned man in pursuit of a deviant love for himself exactly as he is, and for a woman he was never meant to have.

Read a sample chapter here

The Music of Pedro is a work of fiction, but the setting and characters are based on locations and people true to the life of my dad and coauthor, Sergio A.C. Pizano. Pihuamo, dubbed Pivámoc in the book after the indigenous spelling, is his birthplace and many of the major and minor characters are spiritual incarnations of the people who had peppered his life there: the town priest who’d forbidden cinema in the village, the nuns who had given my father his first education, whetting his thirst for academia and overachieving—nuns who told him as a boy that he wouldn’t become a man until he had learned to part his hair, planted a tree, and written a book.

The Storyteller

My dad wrote the first drafts of the book in his second language, first as an exercise toward fluency and then in the hopes of sharing his story with his new, English-speaking neighbors in the U.S. He was born in Pihuamo, Jalisco and immigrated to the United States as a young man in 1976 to study engineering in Utah. A born storyteller, he began the first drafts of the novel not long after he married the daughter of one of his professors and started his career. But the book would remain a work in progress for decades until his youngest daughter—me—agreed to rewrite his passion project and help him pave the way toward publication.

Photo Credit Jon Williams Photo

He had a vision of what he wanted the story to be and felt he’d reached the limits of his ability to get it there, which is where I come in as his coauthor!

The Writer

I’ve been writing professionally since 2008—mainly web and marketing copy—but without much creative success until 2016, when one of my creative nonfiction essays was picked up by the queer-lit journal peculiar, for which I'm now a copy-editor. Shortly after, I finally graduated with my English degree, quit my desk job, and started freelancing fulltime.

I had been resisting my dad's novel for years. In fact, I'd told him I could never love it the way he did, which is what a presenter said at a writing conference I went to: "Your novel is your baby; don't take it too personally when people don't think your baby is as cute as you think it is." Besides, I had my own pre-formed projects growing stale on the backburner and I knew that rewriting someone else's novel would be a massive undertaking. Well, I was right about that, but entirely wrong about what I told my dad. I did fall in love with his book, and it was June of 2016 that I began the process that would consume the next three years of my life turning 98K words into 200K and thirty-two chapters into eighty-five, plus an epilogue! We worked collaboratively during this time and while the words became mine and the characters ours, the story remained his.

I finished the first draft of the coauthored iteration in October of 2018 and this last year has seen a round of beta readers, another edit, and then the addition of illustrations by my artist brother, Jared E. Cuevas (AKA @saint_down).

Visit my website to read more excerpts and for a deeper look at the stories behind the making of this book: rebcuevas.com.

The Artist

Saint Down

Jared is a student and Marine veteran living in Utah with his wife and Australian shepherd. He studies international business at Utah Valley University with aspirations to become a medical illustrator. Though the medical field has always interested him, art has been a lifelong passion and retreat for Jared, who received Utah’s annual high school All-State Artist award for 2006 and now shares his work primarily through @saint_down while he finishes his degree.

Jared’s mediums of choice began with the walls of his childhood home, the surrounding sidewalks, and moved onto canvas, paper, and digital. He loves the emotive potential of the human form and the challenge of capturing our unique and precise proportions. The creators he finds most inspiring are the Czech painter, illustrator, and graphic artist Alphonse Mucha and the French artist, printmaker, illustrator, caricaturist, and wood sculptor Gustave Doré.

A Few of Saint Down's Illustrations for MoP 

We’ve scheduled a launch fiesta for MoP for November 8th in Utah County and now we need help to fund a limited print run just for our backers and for fiesta attendees. By backing our first print run, you can pre-order your book to be mailed directly to you when the time comes or held for you at the launch if you’re planning to attend (signed personally by the authors and illustrator)! Also, by donating you will automatically be pre-ordering your ticket to the launch event (if you can attend), which will include dinner, live music and entertainment, and entry in a prize drawing. Please consider backing our project! Thank you!

Risks and challenges

We have received proofs from a number of online book publishers and those copies are currently being reviewed for quality. We are confident in our ability to deliver exactly what we promise as the book has been written and received several rounds of edits and is ready for publication.

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    Signed Paperback

    Signed paperback copy of The Music of Pedro and two tickets to the launch fiesta if you’re available to attend. (Value: $50)

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    Signed Hardback

    Signed hardback copy of The Music of Pedro and two tickets to the launch fiesta if you’re available to attend. (Value: $55)

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    Signed Hardback with Acknowledgement

    Signed hardback copy of The Music of Pedro, two tickets to the launch fiesta if you’re available to attend, your name in the acknowledgements section of the book, and 5.5 X 8.5 print of a Music of Pedro image of your choice, signed by the illustrator. (Value: Priceless!)

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    Don/Doña of the Arts

    All previous tier rewards, dedicated thank-you page in the final print and a song performed just for you by Melissa Parra and Spencer Cuevas at the fiesta, and something hand/homemade by Sergio! Also, as many names added to the guest list as you want. Plus our effusive love and gratitude!

    Includes:
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    • Signed Art Print
    • Custom Drawing by Saint Down
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