“What the hell are you listening to?” my good friend Cristin cries over the wailing Righteous Brothers tune that blasts from my iPad. It’s 6:00am, and I am getting ready for her to bring me to the train after a fun, impromptu sleepover.
I glance up innocently from my makeup bag and look at her reflection in the mirror. “It’s Unchained Melody. It’s a classic.”
She scrunches her face. “God, do you miss Alex that much? It was one night!” She’s referring to our Girls Night, which led to me spending my first evening away from my husband in a very long time.
But that wasn’t why I was getting ready alongside this sad playlist, aptly titled “Twist” after my upcoming sequel, which is chock full of weepy love songs about broken hearts and devastation. I immediately set to explaining that, like many authors, I listen to some pretty select music to get me in the mood for writing.
“It’s the playlist for the book I’m writing. I sort of build soundtracks that map out a story,” I tell her. No kidding; I actually arrange the songs in the order of the book’s chapters because every scene I write has a song for inspiration. Think of it as a mental “Glee” episode. Nuts, right? It gets better: As an added bonus of strange, I sometimes hit ‘repeat’ on the song until I’m finished writing the chapter because no other song will do. I know…simply batshit crazy, isn’t it?
There’s more: While I get ready in the morning, or on the train on my way to work, or while I cook, I listen to this playlist so that I can stay in the mood of my characters and the story. Real life can pull you out of your characters’ heads, and it is tough to go through the motions of a normal day as yourself until that blessed hour or twenty minutes or whatever you have to sit and take the time to write as those imaginary people. Hence, I use the music to maintain a steady flow of emotion for whatever part of the story I am on.
Unfortunately for Cristin, I’m writing the brutal parts of Twist right now, and she had to endure the heartbroken ballads at an ungodly time of the morning. Staying in this frame of mind is essential, though. These chapters and scenes will suck readers into Jack and Cherie’s world and spit them back out feeling crushed and confused. Readers will feel their pain, and they might even choose sides. And there will be sides to choose, because it’s going to be an all out war for these two.
Sometimes there isn’t a right person or a wrong person but choices we have to make make that hurt the people we love, and sometimes people change, which is hard for those who know them best to accept. All these things are like daggers, and many daggers can pierce through the strong bonds of love, even if they don’t tear them apart.
So, in case you were wondering, here are the top 10 songs from my playlist other than Unchained Melody. These are the ones that get the honor of playing on repeat because they really drive home the emotion of a scene and speak to how Jack and Cherie really feel:
The Reason – Hoobastank
Wrecking Ball – Miley Cyrus (I’m looking into buying the rights for this song so it can be music for Twist’s video trailer)
Against All Odds – Phil Collins
On Bended Knee – Boyz II Men
Emotion – Destiny’s Child
Everytime and Where Are You Now – Britney Spears
Bed of Roses – Bon Jovi
Come Home – OneRepublic and Sara Bareilles
Set Fire to the Rain – Adele
Blood on the Leaves – Kanye West
What’s Left of Me – Nick Lachey
Check these great songs out if you’re looking for writing inspiration, or mending a broken heart, or just need music that fits a dreary, rainy day. And don’t worry folks, these aren’t the only songs driving the book. There are plenty more songs that I’ve been using for the other important parts of the book, such as:
Seventeen – Winger
Show Me – Usher
My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark – Fall Out Boy
All of Me – John Legend
For Your Entertainment – Adam Lambert
Poison – Alice Cooper
Gorilla – Bruno Mars
#Beautiful – Mariah Carey featuring Miguel
Sweetest Sin – Jessica Simpson
What About Love – Austin Malone
I’m in Miami Bitch – LMFAO
I’d love to host a poll or a vote of some sort about book 1 to see if readers can guess which songs in my first playlist helped me write which scenes…hmmm….stay tuned!