Music: Soundtracks to Books

Hope everyone had a great time on St. Patrick’s Day!

One of the best parts of St. Patty’s is the music and fun, which brings me to this blog post. Music is more than entertainment; it’s a heartbeat for our lives. How many of us hear a song reminding us of a special moment? First kiss? First child? Dancing as if there was no tomorrow? Even first mistakes, which are sometimes fun to remember. The lyrics, the tunes – – they bring us back to a time we once knew, if only for a moment.

I’m a self-proclaimed movie buff, and was astounded to watch several “Behind the Scenes” features that show the movie without background music. It loses so much, but you don’t necessarily know that while you’re watching it! Knowing how important music is to films and events, I think it’s important for books too.

Authors create their own soundtracks to our books, helping us get into the mood, the characters, and the setting. Of course, the type of music depends on the type of book and the author’s preference. Sherrilyn Kenyon, author of the Dark Hunter series, has shared that many of her books were written to Metallica and other hard rock/metal bands. They work for her. Tanya Michna, while writing a Christmas themed book during the hot Atlanta summer, spent a month listening to holiday tunes.

My first manuscript, The Cinderella Haters, had mostly 80s and pop music. My second manuscript, Desperate Stepmoms, featured some sassy Texas gals, so I lived on Reba McEntire and Shania Twain.

So, what am I working on and listening to now, you ask?
A ghost story, set in Savannah. Sorry, no sharing titles yet! I’m holding on to my baby until it’s time to let go. I will say there are Irish themes and characters throughout the book. And I discovered a PHENOMENAL Irish Band at the Savannah Irish Festival: Roger Drawdy and the Firestarters. They’re a combination of Irish rock/folk and have the uncanny ability to excel at slow ballads and fast-paced hoppin’ music. My past experience has seen folks doing one or the other – these guys excel at both, along with being incredibly entertaining, great w/the crowd, and wonderful musicians. Since returning home from Savannah, I’ve bought every CD I could get my hands on…and am eagerly awaiting more. For now, their songs are helping kick the muse up a notch (as Emeril would say) and get these pages written!

What music inspires you?

  • Anonymous

    Interesting post. I will often listen to classical (or music without words) while writing so I don’t get distracted.

    When not writing, I enjoy an eclectic mix of everything.

  • I will have to check out that Irish band you mentioned–sounds like something I would enjoy! I just finished a manuscript about an estranged married couple, and listened to “angrier” rock than I normally do for the first quarter of the book that gradually gave way to more reflective songs like Chris Isaak’s I Wonder and Daughtry’s Used To. By the end of the book, the characters and music were both more upbeat :-) right now I’m working on a story that kicks off with a high school reunion, so I’m listening to hits from my high school years–which alternately make me nostalgic and makes me roll my eyes over what was popular.

    Tanya

  • Thanks, Tanya!

    I think that’s one reason why I like Roger Drawdy & The Firestarters so much – I can listen to certain songs for certain scenes, then switch. Some are heavy fiddle, let’s dance and shout til morning kind of tunes, others are melancholy ballads. So it suits every type of scene. Probably why I can’t seem to buy enough of their CDs!

    Appreciate the comment!
    Elaine

  • It’s weird, but sometimes I actually like to write with the television on. It’s as if my brain needs something to focus on besides which class I’m supposed to be planning for, or when I have to pay the electric bill. You would think that my brain would be fully occupied with writing, but not always!

  • Willena – I agree. Sometimes that TV on or other sound/visual can help focus on things. On good days, I can get this feeling while writing at a coffeehouse. The TV can be on, people talking and ordering caffeine, and I’m in the zone, writing. On bad days, I just get tired of my writing and watch the TV :(

    Thanks for posting!
    Elaine