I took one of those silly online quizzes to determine the age of my soul. Those tests are always fun and comical, and sometimes they even ring true. I was given the age of more than 500 years for my soul, and was told that it birthed during the Renaissance. The analysis went on to say that I am often deeply touched by art, music, poetry, etc to the point of tears, and that is the result of my soul aching for the days of its birth.
Well, I know one thing for certain. The first part of that sentence is absolutely true. I have often been moved to tears by the beauty of art. I can’t listen to an orchestra without goosebumps pimpling my skin and water tugging at the backs of my eyes. Certain passages of writing, paintings, sculptures, photographs will have the same effect, but the strongest artistic area to incite an emotional response from me is, by far, music. Such a beautiful language!
It should come as no surprise, then, that I often plot and write to music. I use music all the time for inspiration on pacing, scenes, and just overall vibe of a story. While I’m immersed in writing a story, I tend to find a small sampling of music that encapsulate the text for me and I’ll listen to them repeatedly. The cool thing about that is when the book is published and I’m moved onto another project, I can still go back to my other stories with a simple press on my iPod.
Everyone imagines things differently. So, I’ve no idea if my readers see my characters and stories the way I do, but in case any of you are wondering what kind of music or songs I think have encapsulated the “feel” of my stories, I’ve provided the answer for you! If our imaginations have synced up, cool. If not, at least you get to enjoy some cool music in the process!
Silver Nights With You – For this one, I went to the soundtrack of my favorite western (in fact, favorite “movie”) of all time. Lonesome Dove. I listened to that entire soundtrack a ton, imagining all of the tender moments between Lila and Morgan, envisioning the danger and the comedy, imagining the awe of the first view of the Washoe Valley. Here is a small sampling of the greatness that is the Lonesome Dove soundtrack, and if you haven’t seen the mini-series, you are seriously missing out.
Desert Sunrise – For the sequel to Silver Nights, I went with the father of American folk music. Due to the musical themes and influence of the characters in the story, I mentioned several songs by name. If you happen to be a geek like me, you will have noticed that all of the songs and lyrics in the story are all from Stephen Foster songs (with the exception of Ave Maria at the end). So, here are a few that I listened to quite frequently while writing Desert Sunrise, imagining how the powerful lyrics would have affected Jess as she thought about her cares and worries.
And, appropriately, for the scene of the hide races, I listened to this gem (not Stephen Foster):
Love of a Lioness – A few different styles of music went into thinking about/writing this medieval romance “adventure.” I had slower, more celtic sounding songs for the intense dramatic moments, but I listened to some up tempo and modern music to inspire the battle scenes. The first song I’m going to offer you is one that I must have spent a month’s worth of hours listening to. I envisioned the finale mapped out to this music, beginning with Isabeau standing on the railing of a ship, eyeing the coast of France just before diving off to swim ashore and rescue her knight. I know it doesn’t sound medieval, but you gotta admit – it still sounds pretty bad ass. 🙂
This was another one I went to for inspiration on other battle scenes:
This was another I listened to in order to imagine more sedate scenes, those during training, on calmer seas, more intimate moments.
Big Sky Eyes – for this contemporary cowboy tale, I went with Blake Shelton all the way. I love that guy, and I think his song, Mine Would Be You, captures the entire tale of Brent and Mackenna. I listened to it repeatedly, picturing scenes from their years together.
For quieter, more internal thoughts and moments, I liked these:
NOW, for a treat! I am in the middle of working on two manuscripts. One, many of you may know as Ruby’s Song, which is the third installment of the Love in the Sierras Series. The other is a contemporary that takes place in the Caribbean. I haven’t named that one yet, though it is 70% written. For Ruby’s Song, I am really heavily into Catrin Finch and the soft lyrical sound of her harp playing. So, the current inspiration for Ruby’s Song scenes are these:
When I’m working on my contemporary, I hit up A&B Acoustic, Above and Beyond:
Whew!! That’s a lot of music…and I love it all!! 🙂