Music helps to inspire my writing. I don’t listen to music while I’m writing, because it distracts me like crazy. I need a lot of quiet when I’m writing! But I listen to music before I write, and sometimes I’ll stop in the middle of a scene and listen to a song that captures the essence of the emotions I’m striving to put on the page.
I was especially inspired by music while writing Other Words for Love. Much of the story deals with the intense emotions that my main character—Ari Mitchell—feels as a result of her relationship with her first serious boyfriend, Blake Ellis. When things are going well with Blake, Ari experiences a euphoric high. When he lets her down, she struggles through a bleak period. Music helped me to capture the excitement and sweetness of the romance between Ari and Blake, as well as the deep sadness that Ari deals with after that romance ends.
Another thing that music helped to do was transport me to the 1980s—which is when Other Words for Love takes place. The novel contains some scenes in which Ari and her friends dance the night away at a club in Manhattan, and listening to songs from that era made it easy to visualize those scenes. But not all of the music that inspired me is from the 1980s. The playlist is long, it’s eclectic, and it has songs from various decades and different artists. Here are just a few of the songs on that list:
1. Breathe Your Name by Sixpence None the Richer;
2. Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer;
3. Taking it All Too Hard by Genesis;
4. Modern Love by David Bowie;
5. Borderline by Madonna;
6. Here’s Where the Story Ends by The Sundays; and
7. Bizarre Love Triangle by New Order