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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Musically Speaking…

I cannot write without music.

It’s been this way as long as I can remember.  All of my stories, novels and even poems are heavily influenced by music, be it the mood, metaphors, references and nods or outright quotes.  In this aspect, my writing – my art – reflects life: if the TV is off, the music is on Chez Dillon.  I breathe lyrics, exhale melody.

Each character has his or her own preferences in music; I often shape mini-playlists for core personalities in my work.  It is extremely beneficial that I love a wide variety of music from multiple genres; it allows me to craft, say, an angsty teen obsessed with Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Tool and Amon Amarth, then craft another who prefers pop-folky female songwriters like Tegan and Sara, Jewel, or Christina Perri.

Change of Season is no exception.  My first step after jotting down a rough sketch of the plot that flashed through my mind was to craft a starting playlist for writing, one that captured our protagonist through past and present.  I run with at least 200 songs for a project, but it’s typically much more.  The current playlist for this novel is at 539 tracks and counting, as new songs pop up mid-chapter and say, “I belong here!”

While you await further teasers and the finished novel itself, I thought it might be nice to give you a glimpse into the sonic landscape of the novel.  Without further babble then, a short-ish list of key songs to welcome you into the world of Casteel Preparatory Academy.

Black Balloon – The Kills

Bloodshot  – Jack’s Mannequin

How To Be Dead – Snow Patrol

Black River Killer – Blitzen Trapper

The Lament of Pretty Baby – Cursive

Forty Six & 2 – Tool

What A Good Boy – Barenaked Ladies

These Are The Ghosts – The Bees

Ready To Start – Arcade Fire

Shake It Out – Florence + The Machine

Pretty Horses – Shirley Manson

Change of Season – Matthew Good Band

Half Jack  – The Dresden Dolls

Meds – Placebo ft VV

Devil Inside – INXS

The World Is Darker – Neverending White Lights ft Melissa Auf der Maur

Jar Of Hearts – Christina Perri

When The Night Kills The Day – Lauren Pritchard