The sun was shining today and there was a hint of spring in the air. As if someone flipped a switch inside me, my doldrums passed and I was suddenly in a great mood, ready to take on the world. It's a little embarrassing the pull a little bit of sun has over my emotions.
The only thing that comes close to impacting my mood as quickly as sunshine is music. That's why having a soundtrack for each novel is so important to me. It's the soundtrack that transports me from my chaotic world into the one I'm creating. When I'm stuck on a scene, I can walk away from the computer, put my earbuds in, and see it all in my head. (Thankfully, I can do this while doing dishes or cleaning house so I can multitask. If I try to just close my eyes and picture it, I fall asleep.)
Anywho, in honor of Valentine's Day, I thought it would be fun to go through and pick one love song for each novel - the one that more than any other, captures the essence of the love between my main characters.
There were several songs I listened to a lot while I was writing Throwaway, but "Romeo and Juliet" by Dire Straits was the song that sparked the fire that fueled this novel. To this day when I hear this song, I think of Jessie and Gabe. Man I love Jessie and Gabe. Everybody needs a Gabe.
I came really close to picking "The Promise" from When in Rome for my one song with this one, but "I Don't Want to Lose You Yet" by Steve Earle really is Rick and Veronica's song. It's also one of those songs I could listen to on a continual loop. Actually, both songs are. I think they are two of the greatest love songs ever made.
Whenever I hear "Drive all Night" by Bruce Springsteen, I could close my eyes and picture Neena in Charlie's arms. There is something so slow, sexy and tender about this song. I can't help but respond to it. The lyrics don't fit them as well as is the case for some of the others, but the sentiment definitely does.
This is another book that had a clear soundtrack to it when I was writing - an eclectic soundtrack at that. (We're talking everything from Abba to Aerosmith!) But the one song I listened to every time I needed to instantly see Gavin and Kate was "Dreams" by the Cranberries. Words can't express how much I love this song, or the way my soul soars when I listen to it.
Yeah, you might expect this one to be Ring of Fire - and that was part of my soundtrack when I wrote this one - but the song that embodied the relationship between Alex and Daniel, to me, was "Joey". While writing this book, I was listening to a version by John Bartley, the St. Louis musician who inspired one of the characters in the novel. Since he doesn't have a Youtube video out there, I've substituted the better-known version by Concrete Blonde. It's still pretty fantastic, if not quite as sensual.
Truth time - I have no idea what song inspired this book. Maybe because so many of the stories are mine, it didn't need that musical catalyst. (Not the love story - just the "too crazy to be fiction" stuff.) Maybe I just have the memory of a gnat. I thought about it pretty hard, and I seem to recall listening to a lot of Alison Krauss while writing this book. If I had to pick a song for Hailey and Ethan, it would be her version of "When You Say Nothing at All". Now that I've committed to it, I can't imagine another song for them.
This one's a no-brainer for me. Again, you might expect it to be the song that shares the same title, but it's not. Nope, whenever I hear "Would You Go With Me" by Josh Turner, I do two things: smile and think of Conrad Langston smiling at Rachel Cooper. And seriously, if you don't watch any of these other videos, you have to watch this one. It's amazing. The song might make me smile, but the video makes me cry. It's amazingly beautiful. And Josh Turner is a cutie. That never hurts. (BTW, this is another one I could put on continual loop. I'm not joking about that.)
This is another one that tempted me to cheat and list two songs. If Phillip Phillips hadn't released "Home" when he did, I might not have finished this book on time. That song was a huge inspiration for me, but it still doesn't compare to "Janey Don't You Lose Heart " by Bruce Springsteen. Not only is this song another I could quite happily put on a continual loop, it also falls into the "always puts a smile on my face" category. And, if that wasn't enough, it's one I totally identify with. Maybe it's not the typical song that conjures the image of romance, but there's something to be said about a guy standing by you when you feel like you have no new dreams to touch.
It took me a while to think of a song that inspired the romance between Cat and Cody. In my defense, I wrote the first draft of this book about twenty years ago. It was an entirely new set of songs that kept me going as I revised it. As I sat and thought about it, though, I had to stick with the one song that brings them to mind every time I hear it: "Little Wing" by Stevie Ray Vaughan. This song oozes sensuality and the New Orleans vibe. Whenever I needed to feel the sexual tension between these two characters, I'd play this song.
So, I'm kind of cheating and way down here at the bottom of this post, I'm giving a bit of a sneak peek at my next novel, Waiting for You. I can't say much yet, except that there will be lots of returning characters in this one. I'll be posting much more about it in the upcoming weeks. For now, I'll just say that I'm really digging the entire soundtrack for this book. It's another eclectic one - Josh Turner, the Statler Brothers, The Lumineers, Fun, Pink, Cher... the list goes on. But it's "I Will Wait" by Mumford and Sons that is Karise and Aidan's song. So much so, it helped pick the title of the book. This song absolutely soars at its peak. Love, love, love it.
That's my list. What songs do you think of when you think of my books? Did you have a reading soundtrack? I'd love to hear about it!
Happy Valentine's Day!
Rolling hills that had been vibrant green just weeks ago were now muted in tone, as if they were taking a deep breath before bursting into the song of fall.