Behind The Book: How I Decided To Ruin A One-Hit Wonder Penned For Whitney Houston

For the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing the soundtrack for Waiting For A Star To Fall, and how each song inspired or enhanced the creation of the novel.  Impatient? Full Spotify playlist is here.

The first book in the Autumn Brody series, Change Of Season, was named after a Matthew Good band song.  The reasons were two-fold:  not only did it capture the main character’s emotional state at the start of the book, but the title itself held a layered meaning for her journey.  The season at the heart of the story undergoes a change.

When I realized that I wanted to write a second book and create a series, I mulled the title for several weeks.  With only a loose plot idea to guide me, I was at a loss. I knew I wanted to name it after a song.  Beyond that…

My first approach was looking for song titles that referenced seasons, thinking I would be oh-so-clever and bind the series in that fashion.  Some of the rejected titles have been set aside for possible book three titles.  None of them seemed right for this story.

This is where the wealth of music trivia rattling in my skull came in handy.

I’d gone on a Whitney Houston run after chatting about The Bodyguard on Twitter.  This sent me down a soundtrack rabbit hole and further, into the depths of Wikipedia.  Knowing that the new book featured a stalking element, I jotted notes about characters referencing the Costner-Houston film.  Which they do, in abundance.

Veronica had pouted dramatically. “Kevin, my love, having a stalker was not on my friends’ vacation itinerary, and yet, here we are! I understand your concerns, but it’s the freaking Guggenheim. Who gets attacked in there?”

“As I’ve repeatedly explained, Ms. St. Clair, I am better able to protect you when I can plan in advance for any potential threat to your safety.”

“I really wish you’d call me Whitney,” was her playful reply. “Does the Guggenheim have swords? Whitney got her way with a sword.”

Evan cleared his throat at this point, having had enough of her shenanigans. “No, Whitney got laid with a sword. That’s my job, not Kevin’s.”

Autumn could clearly recall how Andrew snickered, how Kevin’s tanned complexion had morphed into more of a burnt sienna than a golden brown.

“True enough, but Whitney still got her way,” Veronica had insisted. “Wouldn’t a codename be beneficial for an operation like this?”

It was then that Kevin had finally decided to put an end to the discussion once and for all, leaning across the table in a stare down with the starlet. “Look, Veronica: if you think you are the first client to make jokes about a 1992 film that was originally penned in the ’70s for Steve McQueen and Diana Ross, think again. Although your renditions of the best-selling film soundtrack of all time are, I must say, superior to those of all previous contenders.”

The moment I focused on the celebrity aspect of the story and the Broadway setting, my brain connected with an 80s one-hit wonder I’d been spinning out of the blue:  Boy Meets Girl’s “Waiting For A Star To Fall”.  Suddenly, the sunny pop song’s lyrics took on a sinister vibe.  The fact it was penned initially for Whitney Houston sealed the deal.  I wanted a July Talk cover version, brooding like Peter Dreimanis’ take on CCR classic “Bad Moon Rising”.  I wanted my villain to ruin the song forever for my protagonist.

My stalker, obsessed with a starlet in a production referencing the Garden of Eden, was waiting for her to fall from grace.

Listen below.  Look past the simmering synths of the era and picture the lyrics in an unwanted letter from a frightening admirer, willing to kill to be with you.

A.C. Dillon: ruining your eighties faves since 2015.

I want to reach out and pull you to me
Who says I should let a wild one go free
Trying to catch your heart
Is like trying to catch a star
But I can’t love you this much baby
And love you from this far

Waiting for a star to fall
And carry your heart into my arms
That’s where you belong..

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