I often envy writers who can tote their laptop around and pick up a story on a lunch break or even at a traffic light.
I’m not one of those.
I also envy writers who can knock out 5,000- 10,000 words in a day.
I’m not one of those either.
What I AM is a slave to my highly fickle “muse.”
I need quiet. I need solitude. I don’t handle distractions very well. (Please don’t barge in on me unexpectedly on pain of…well maybe not death… but certainly something close!)
My muse also has to be fed a certain diet. And that diet is musical (although caffeine and chocolate also serve as supplements).
If I were an actor, rather than a novelist, I suppose I might fall into the “method” school. Just as many actors immerse themselves completely in a role for the duration of a project, I immerse myself in music. I never write without it. I don’t know if I could.
Every book I have ever written has its own soundtrack. In my historical projects classical music helped me to forge a direct connection with my characters. It fascinates me to think I can listen to the very same compositions that my hero or heroine would have heard almost three hundred years ago.
I have also come to correlate certain music with specific characters or events. Although my Devil DeVere series is set during the baroque musical period, I will always associate the heavy metal sounds of AC/DC with the character of DeVere!
I developed a true appreciation for Middle Eastern Music, especially the Oud, while writing The Sheik Retold. I used one of my favorite pieces in the book trailer:
Two of my upcoming heroines were greatly influenced by the “rough around the edges” bad girl music of Miranda Lambert.
My musical choices also frequently have a strong thematic connection to the story. Sometimes it’s the tone of the music that appeals to my creative brain or maybe particularly poignant lyrics.
This is especially true of my contemporary stories in which I feature many songs within the books. My heroine in SLOW HAND selects Carrie Underwood’s Cowboy Casanova on a tabletop jukebox as a way of taunting the smooth talking hero.
To encourage my muse, I have even created different Pandora stations for every project. Country music features heavily in the first two books of my upcoming series for Sourcebooks. While the early work of the Dixie Chicks and the rodeo music of Chris LeDoux help to set the stage for ROUGH RIDER, the edgier sounds of Nickelback set the perfect tone for the third book, SHARPSHOOTER.
The cool thing about this approach to writing is that I have not only spread my literary wings, but have also expanded my musical tastes along my journey.
How many of you have been taken back to a precise moment in our lives just by hearing certain music? Is there a particular song that will always stand out in your memory?