Behind The Book: Every Couple Has A Song. This Is Autumn & Andrew’s.

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.

Every couple has a song.

Maybe it’s the song they first danced to.  Maybe it’s a song they bonded over while talking at a party.  Maybe it’s not romantic, but a fun in-joke shared between lovers.  Maybe they had to find something to dance to at their wedding and finally connected with this particular tune.  But don’t let them lie to you.  Every couple has a song.

(For randomness, my song with my husband is Muse’s “Resistance”.  We had a bit of a hidden love affair when we met, due to working together.  And yes, we danced to it at our wedding, albeit an instrumental piano rendition.)

For two characters brought together by music, there were so many choices.  In Change Of Season, Andrew shoves aside his anxiety and sings a song meant as a love note to Autumn at a talent show.  They share a moment of quiet contentment and significance to another song.  These two, if I let them, would make each other mix tapes.  Among my writing playlists, I have a mix that contains every single song that reminds me of their relationship, or songs that frame their ups and downs.

How do you choose one song?  If you breathe melody like I do, and you listen to your characters, it chooses itself.

Autumn’s favourite artist is Andrew McMahon and his many monikers, including Jack’s Mannequin.  It leads to a few soft giggles between the couple, given that she’s found an Andrew of her very own.  Many of his songs featured in the Change Of Season playlist, including a song called “Casting Lines”.  I really liked it — I’m a sucker for a piano ballad with oomph and heart — but I didn’t fall head over heels for it until I wrote this scene in the first book of the series as it shuffled up on iTunes:

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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.

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Does your protagonist need a pet? The value of animals in writing.

Most of us have heard about the health benefits animals can have for those who care for them.  Scholarly articles round up studies that show that pets offer therapeutic value for people struggling with depression or chronic illness, as well as soothing loneliness and isolation.  Ask any pet lover and they’ll tell you how much they treasure their companions, or tell tales of animals that simply “know” when they’re hurting.

As the owner of three cats, I can tell you about many times where they offered comfort in difficult times.  Recovering from abdominal surgery a few years back, I was bedridden and in pain.  My oldest cat, Gravity — never a lap cat, but affectionate — gently walked up to me and laid down, resting her head perfectly between my incisions so as not to cause pain, one paw stretched to gently cover the sorest spot.  A second cat took residence between my feet.  Their love was of great comfort.

We know about the power of the bond with a pet.  So why do pets seldom come up in the discussion of supporting characters?  With their lack of human language and their honesty, animals can serve several critical roles in a book.
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