“So consider this moment
As defining who you are…”
~Jordin Sparks, “The Cure”
Over the past couple years, I’ve talked a lot on here about how interconnected music and writing often are. It’s why I decided to include “Tuesday’s Tunes” as a regular blog feature and why certain songs will forever strike a particularly resonant chord with me. Ever since I was a child, books have been about more than just the words on the page. They’re about the pictures that authors paint with the words, the feelings they evoke, the roller-coaster we go on along with the characters. As a writer, I feel that even more innately. Like I told Kelly Clarkson, I always put together a playlist for each manuscript: songs that inspire the characters’ journeys, explain their mindsets, and help bring to the forefront – in both them and myself – the feelings swirling through their hearts and souls. I am the kind of writer who needs quiet to work (which can be really annoying sometimes!), but I often listen to these songs before or after drafting certain scenes. And, for me, these melodies will forever be linked with my characters. I love that. I love it a lot.
I thought it’d be fun to share some of those songs with you. To post them all would make this ridiculously long, so the following are the main tunes for each manuscript – their lead singles, so to speak.
“The Cure” – Jordin Sparks: This song not only captures the essence of main character Emily’s journey in my first novel, With a Little Bit of Luck, but it especially relates to the book’s climatic scene, where Emily’s life is changed forever. It’s been nearly two years, but I still remember the evening like it was only yesterday: I wrote the scene so quickly my fingers actually hurt, then sat in silence as I played the song, put myself in Emily’s shoes, and let myself feel what she was feeling. It’ll always be my favorite moment from working on that novel.
“I Wonder” – Kellie Pickler: This song aligns so completely with the heart of what my second novel, Reflections of Me, explores. It’s a story of adoption, of learning to be a mother while you come to understand what it truly means to be a daughter, of finding proof that family is about so much more than DNA. When I first began writing this, I was worried about being able to relate to main character Sofie, having never been in her situation. All it took was one listen to this song to feel not only what Kellie felt, but what Sofie did, too. I will forever be grateful for that, because it made me understand her so completely … and made me understand myself better, too.
“Like My Mother Does” – Lauren Alaina: My third novel, Dear Ellie, is a diary of the first seven months of baby Ellie’s life, told from the perspectives of everyone near and dear to her sweet little heart. It’s about balancing acts, first forays into parenthood, realizations that sometimes the past doesn’t want to stay behind, and a whole host of other topics. More than anything else, though, it’s about Sofie and Ellie. It’s about a mother, a daughter, and the bond they’ll forever share – so what better song to head up its playlist than this one?
“Stronger” – Kelly Clarkson: I knew this song would be indicative of my fourth novel even before I began writing it last week. While the specific lyrics don’t apply to Sofie’s situation this time around, the greater meaning couldn’t be more on-key. Sofie’s going to have to deal with a lot in this book, more than she can imagine, and even though I genuinely feel awful about putting her through so much, I know she can handle it. I know it’ll be worth it for her in the end, and I know she’ll fight her way through it with grace. She’ll stand a little taller and be even stronger.
Has a particular song ever inspired a project you’ve worked on or spoken so perfectly to a point in your life?