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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Music to Write By

We're all about good books, good music and good fun at Dellani's Tea Time and What's Write for Me. Because we love music so much, and often find ourselves talking about it (even though we're writers) I decided to hijack Dellani's Tea Time for a special show on music to write by. We didn't have a chance to answer all the questions on the show, so I asked the guests and my co-hosts to answer the questions on their blogs. Here's the link. My co-hosts are Christina Giguere & Karen Vaughan. Our guests were Kemberlee Shortland, C. Margery Kempe and Troy Lambert.

What kind of music do you listen to when you write? 
I listen to a lot of classic rock and blues. I love guitarists and will listen to Jimi Hendrix, Joe Satriani, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Joe Bonamassa, Dave Gilmour and Carlos Santana almost non-stop.

Is there any type of music you won't listen to?
I'm not a fan of most rap, though there are a couple of songs I like. I'm also not a fan of twangy country, but I do like Willie Nelson and a few others. I mentioned on the show, "You Never Even Call Me by My Name" by David Allen Coe. It's a great song. Even if it's twangy country, it totally redeems itself when you listen to the lyrics - last verse is the best.

Were any of your books inspired by a song? If so, which?

I wouldn't say inspired so much as the songs fit into the story. I listened to a lot of Jeff Beck when I was writing Lone Wolf. In fact, the opening scene was written while listening to "So We've Ended As Lovers" and other songs from "Blow by Blow". When writing Tangled Web (not yet published) I listened to "Primavera" by Ludovico Einaudi over and over. I'm sure it drove the family crazy.

Do you find yourself including music in your books?
I include songs in my books very often. Sometimes, a lyric means a lot to the characters. Several of my books are built around a particular tune. Fragrance Lingers (unpublished) has the song "Linger" by the Cranberries as an integral part of it.

In another work in progress, Emma Dangerous, I use the song "You and Me Against the World" by Richie Wermerling. Not to be confused with the Helen Reddy song by the same name. Trust me, Richie's is MUCH better. Good luck finding it. It's a well kept secret. (It is on Spotify)

Do you use music for mood, pacing, etc. in your novels?
All the time. One of my favorite scenes in Shakazan, which I later cut, was written using "Crazy Benny" by the Safri Duo as the backdrop. I often use Joe Satriani's music for fight scenes. It's lively and builds a nice, energetic dynamic. One of my favorites, Borg Sex.

Have you taken a song title for a book title?
Not often. A couple of my works in progress sport names of songs. One is "Reaching for the Moon" - Ella Fitzgerald (Lizz Wright's cover)
Another is "How Far is Heaven" - Los Lonely Boys. In fact, the main character, Hal, was inspired by Henry Garza, their lead guitarist.

Are any of your characters musicians?
Oh, so many of my characters are musicians - mostly guitarists. I love music and I love the guitar. I come from a very musical family. We love to sing and play music together. This love of guitars and music has found its way into my books. I have so many guitarists, I can't even name them all. Admittedly, most of them are male -- nothing against female guitarists, because those ladies can rock! I just have a thing for musicians and I identify with the women in my novels, so they fall for musicians. Bobby, in Under the Western Sky, is a guitarist.

Do your characters' musical tastes reflect yours?
Absolutely, they do! I've tried to create characters whose musical tastes differ from mine and I just can't do it. For one thing, I'd have to listen to the music and I can't get into it.

Some authors make playlists for every book. Have you done that?
No, not really. I have a few different lists of songs I listen to while I write. Some are used for inspiration and pacing, others are simply background to come between me and the outside world. If it's too quiet, I can't concentrate. Also, I have a constant ringing in my left ear. I don't notice it as much if I've got music playing.

Who are some of your favorite musicians?
I'm really sorry I asked myself this question. How long a list do you want? Maybe I should list my top ten - not in any particular order: 

1. Pink Floyd
2. Carlos Santana
3. Jimi Hendrix
4. Joe Bonamassa
5. Led Zeppelin
6. Beth Hart
7. Joe Satriani
8. Kenny Wayne Shepherd
9.Thin Lizzie
10. Gary Moore
(Do we notice a preponderance of guitarists here? Hmm)

If you had a chance to put together one perfect band, who would be in it? May use living or dead musicians.

Drums: John Bonham & Jason Bonham
Vocals: Beth Hart, Ann Wilson, Robert Plant, Paul McCartney & John Lennon
Guitar: Joe Satriani, Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck, Dave Gilmour, Jimi Hendrix & Jimmy Page
Bass: Phil Lynnot & Roger Waters
Keyboard: Rick Wakeman and Jon Lord

If you were stuck on a desert island and had only one album to listen to, what would it be? (Yes, this assumes you have power, but no wi-fi)
Pink Floyd's Greatest Hits


Do you ever get songs stuck in your head that simply won't go away? How do you purge them
I have this problem all the time! Sometimes, they go away on their own, but usually not. I often have to listen to the song to get rid of it. Depending upon what it is, that isn't always fun. Other times, I'm able to get rid of it by playing something else. I've found the "Cowboys from Hell" by Pantera works well. 

Any songs that really get under your skin? What and why?
Feliz Navidad. The less said about this song, the better.

Any wonderful memories associated with certain songs?
I have so many great memories with songs. I'm not even sure where to start. I think one of my favorite song-memories is when I heard The Wall by Pink Floyd for the first time. I was in college and a friend of mine, a musician, had just bought the album. He snuck me into his dorm room to listen to it. I'm sure his roommate and the other guys on the floor thought we were going up there to have sex. Instead, we sat in his room with the stereo cranked to the max, listening to the music.

What's your guilty pleasure music?
Should I really answer this one? Why not? I listen to Prince and 80s rock. I hated Prince when he first came out. I thought he looked like a slimy Jimi Hendrix wanna be. Now, I have to admit I like his work. Raspberry Beret, When Doves Cry, Darling Nikki are among my top favorites.

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