I used to be the kind of writer had to have absolute silence when I worked. I would hear other writers talk about playing their favorite symphonies to get them in the mood to write or, maybe, they'd listen to sexy music when they were writing a love scene. This wasn't me.
Then, a few months ago, something odd happened. I was writing Cowgirl Come Home, my July "Big Marietta Fair" release.
The story was moving along fine. I felt like I knew my characters well and had a firm grip on how the story would unfold. Then, I went to the gym one morning.
The instructor of my workout class (my daughter) shared a new song that she really liked. I hadn't heard it before. I didn't know the singer. I wasn't really paying that much attention, to be honest. But, suddenly, the music got in my head. You know that feeling, right? The song is there and the words start to connect. The lyrics started telling a story that somehow blended with my story. I could see a scene between my hero and heroine start to unfold in my mind.
Honestly, it took all my self-control not to run to my phone and start jotting down notes. But I realized that the song was a key.
I asked my daughter for the name of the song and the singer. She said, "Forgiveness by Toby Mac."
I managed to finish class before dashing to my car. I pulled out my phone and downloaded the song. Once I got home, I sat down at my computer, turned on the music and listened to the scene that I began to imagine in the gym.
It was just one song but it changed my process.
I decided to try listening to music while I wrote. I began with instrumentals and then branched out to indie singer/songwriters on iTunes radio. Every once in a while a song would catch my attention and I'd realize it sounded like something my characters would be listening to. Gradually, those songs became part of my book's playlist.
Now, I do this automatically. I enjoy being able to see--and hear-- what my characters are listening to. And I've enjoyed being able to share the music of their lives with my readers.
Below, you'll find a link to the playlist for Nobody's Cowboy, my new book that is releasing on Friday. Nobody's Cowboy Playlist
Warning: this playlist is an eclectic hodgepodge.
Why? Because Austen and Serena, my hero and heroine, arrived fully formed in my world (or I arrived in theirs). They're strong-willed, unique individuals with clearly defined tastes.
Some of the songs reflect Serena's independent thinking (The Kongos Come With Me Now) and some her parent's influence (Nina Simone's Feeling Good). Her herd of alpacas seem to favor Country music, so you'll see a Keith Urban and Lady Antebellum on the list. Austen always has his ear open for new artists and likes to know what his nieces and nephews are listening to, so Bruno Mars and Sam Smith popped up.
But, Serena and Austen both have a sentimental side, too. Dance Me To The End of Love will definitely be playing at their...well, you know. This is romance novel. And these two truly deserve a happy ending.
Do you make playlists? Does music figure prominently in your life? What are you listening to now? I would love to gift a $10 gift card to either Amazon or iTunes to one lucky winner this week. And, I hope you'll remember to look for Nobody's Cowboy, releasing Friday.