Friday, January 14, 2011

I set my books to music

I love music. I mean, LOVE it. When I was in third grade, I played the violin. Apparently, I was pretty good at it, cuz after only a few months of getting lessons as part of a group, I started receiving them one-on-one from the violin teacher, Ms. Kuchenmeister. I swear I'm not making that up. That was her name. And she WAS kinda kooky. I mean that totally affectionately. 

So anyway, after giving up the violin -- cuz, you know, I was expected to practice. Ew. -- I promptly fell in love with Tommy Roe's greatest hits album. It was Mom's before I claimed it. I would play that puppy over and over. (Fun fact: In True Vision, heroine Charlie sings my favorite Tommy Roe song, Sweet Pea, in her head to center herself when her psychic ability gets out of hand.) Next, I fell for David Cassidy and the Partridge Family, replaying the single I Think I Love You full blast on my Fisher-Price turntable until I'm sure my dad wanted to cram himself into a corner, cover his ears and just rock.  

My love of music snowballed from there. I won't bore you with how many days' worth of music I have stored in my iTunes (29.9), but I will get to the point: Given my love of music, it's fitting that when I write a book, I usually pick a certain kind of music or even a particular artist to listen to while I write. My choice varies by book, and I think of the music I've chosen as the "soundtrack" of that book. 

Some of my "soundtracks":
  • True Vision: Minnie Driver's album Everything I've Got in My Pocket. Minnie Driver, the actress, you say? Yep. She has a beautiful voice. Smooth and mellow, and her music is very non-intrusive. That’s not to say it’s boring. Boring music works for me only when I’m trying to sleep, and that’s not good when there’s a book deadline. I recently downloaded Driver’s latest record, but I haven’t listened to it much yet. I'm thinking my subconscious is keeping me away from it in case it ends up serving as the soundtrack for my next book.
  • True Colors: The soundtrack of the second season of Battlestar Galactica (the remade version, not the one from the '80s). The music, by the amazing Bear McCreary (love that name!), was the perfect backdrop for the dark, haunting mood of True Colors. I listened to it repeatedly but never got tired of it, because the music became a part of the story. When I hear it now, my brain immediately slips into True Colors mode. Which isn’t a great mode to be in, cuz True Colors is pretty dark. Sort of like Battlestar Galactica!
  • True Calling: My music choices for this one, the third in the True trilogy (to be released in December), were more eclectic. I listened to selections from the movie soundtracks of The Fountain, Crash and Up. I also listened to Battlestar Galactica again, as well as mellow piano music by David Lanz and Suzanne Ciani (kinda New Age-y -- very pretty) and, believe it or not, a song or two from Cirque du Soleil. I'm not sure why my choices were more eclectic. Maybe because the hero, Mac, is somewhat of a goof at times, so he keeps the dark plot a bit lighter than the plot in True Colors, so that led to mixing in lighter fare instead of sticking with the moody BSG.
  • Cold Midnight: This one was easy: Sarah McLachlan all the way. Why? Angst. Lots and lots and lots of angst. No one does angst better than Sarah McLachlan, in my opinion.
So … what about you? If you had to pick a soundtrack, say, for your life right now, what would it be?


  1. Very cool how you pick tracks for your books. I would have to say anything by Pink would be the soundtrack to my life right now. Oh and I played violin from 6th through 9th grade. :) Now my daughter plays trombone.


  2. Hi, val!
    Oh, I love Pink, too! So the soundtrack to your life would range from Raise Your Glass to So What? That would work. OH! I would like the Pink soundtrack to my life be Oh My God and Glitter in the Air at the same time. Now THAT would be a good life. :)
    Speaking of violins, I recently bought a violin app for my iPad, where you hold the iPad like it's the violin and use your thumb like a bow. I'm SOOOOOOOOOOO bad at it it's embarrassing. But the app is fun. It's called Magic Fiddle by Smule. And my violin teacher would screech if she knew I'd just called a violin a "fiddle." The horror!
    Thanks for stopping in and commenting!