Monday, December 09, 2013

Music To Write By

At 4pm EST/9GMT, I'll be on Red River Radio talking with some friends about the music we write by and what inspires our writing. I thought I'd post a few of those songs here for your listening enjoyment, along with some of the expected questions.

I hope you get a chance to listen. If the time doesn't suit, click the link when you have time, as the show is streamed afterward.

• • •

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

My stories aren't really inspired by songs . . .  I don't hear a song and say "I'll write a story to go with that." But all of my published books are titled after songs. Some songs to resonate in the stories though, as a line in a song might reflect a scene or a character's mood or thoughts at the time.

Do you find yourself including music within your books?

Do you mean adding song lyrics into stories? That's a tough call. The Fair Use Laws say you can use about 10% of a total work but doesn’t specify lyrics. Record lables say 0%. But record labels are also the ones trying to copyright performers' names . . . Cher, Madonna, Adele, etc. Even if your legal name is the same as a recording artist and you publish with that name, the label has been known to file a law suit demanding you stop.

Do you use music for mood, pacing, etc in your novels?

Normally I don’t write with music on in the background, but for certain scenes I will. A good battle scene requires some Carmina Burana.

Love scenes require some great make-out music. The Greatest Gift by Robert Plant melts me from the inside.

Have you taken a song title for a book title?

All of them so far-

Rhythm of My Heart (Rod Stewart)
A Piece of My Heart (Janis Joplin)
Shape of My Heart (Sting)
Constant Craving (KD Lang)
The Power of Love (Frankie Goes to Hollywood version)
Moondance (Van Morrison)
Tutti-Frutti Blues (inspired by Little Richard's Tutti-Frutti)
Dude Looks Like A Lady (Aerosmith)

Are any of your characters musicians?

Yes, Rhythm of My Heart - Kieran Vaughan blues guitarist, Eilis Kennedy former singer.

Do your characters' musical tastes reflect yours?

More so the characters’ tastes reflect their character. It just happens that my characters and I share similar tastes.

What kind of music do you listen to when you write?

Aside from the formerly mentioned Carmina Burran and makeout music for love scenes, I tend to not listen to much music while I'm writing. I will listen a lot while researching though.

Is there any type of music you will absolutely not ever listen to?

Ecclectic tastes. Listen to anything I like.

Heavy rap is out but I’ll sometimes listen to Eminem.

Most jazz but I like Diana Washington.

Must be in the mood for most classical but I can listen to songs like Clare de Lune, Moonlight Sonatta, and Variations on a Theme of Paganini (Somewhere in Time).

Some authors make playlists for every book. Have you done that?

I do have some files on my YouTube account which have songs which I listened to during the research process of my stories.

Example – Rhythm of My Heart

Rythm of My Heart Rod Stewart
You Do Something to Me – Paul Weller
The Longer – Gary Moore . . . the 15 minutes version

Example – A Piece of My Heart

A Piece of My Heart – Janis Joplin
If You Don’t Want to Love Me – James Morrison
I Will – Christy Hennessy

•    Constant Craving – KD Lang

Example – Shape of My Heart

Shape of My Heart – Sting
I Just Wanna Make Love to You – Etta James
It’s A Man’s World – James Brown

What are some of your favorite musicians?

I listen to a lot of classic rock David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin), John Bulter, Estas Tonne, Daft Punk, Crosby/Stills/Nash, Imelda May, Janis and Jimi, etc.

If you had the chance to put together the perfect band, who would be in it? (Drums, vocals, guitar, bass, keyboard)

Tough one. So many great vocalists out there. I think Led Zeppelin already cornered the market – Plant on vocals, Page on guitar, Jones on keyboard and other instruments, Bonzo on drums . . . Jason Bonham on drums. How do you improve on that?

What is your favorite instrument in the band?

Second to a great voice is the guitar. I’d listen to an hour long guitar solo before a ten minute drum solo any day.

If you were stuck on a dessert island and had only one album to listen to, what would it be? (Yes, this assumes you had unlimited power but no wi-fi)

One album? Another tough one. It would either be –

Celebration Day/Led Zeppelin – Recorded live in 2010 for a one-off reunion concert, featuring Jason Bonham on drums.

David Gilmour’s Comfortably Numb Live Concert.

Do you ever get songs stuck in your head that simply won't go away? How do you purge them?

I don’t get many bad ear worms, thank goodness. When I do, I’ll put on some great music to drive out the demon worm. That is, unless, the earworm is a great tune, in which case it’s calling to me and I need to hear it. A few songs are like that. Those are the ones that need to have the volume on high and the dogs in the other room :-)

Turn this one up!