While I can’t listen to music with vocals while I write – it’s too tempting to stop working and sing along – I do make a playlist for every book. It’s one of my touchstones, a way to get into the feel of that particular story or character. It’s really helpful if I’ve been away from the story for a while. Listening to the songs take me back to a scene, or a character quirk, or the heart of what the character needs to learn. Just as songs can transport us back to a moment in time, my playlist can bring me back into the work. And, sometimes, it tells me what I need to do!
Edge of Glory, Lady Gaga: Is it terrible to confess that this is the first song I ever heard from Lady Gaga? Yeah, I’m behind the times. But I love the whole bit about being on the edge. It’s how Heather feels around Xander – like he’s pushing her to the edge of her comfort zone, the edge of reason.
Don’t It, Billy Currington: There’s a section when the singer tells the girl he’s singing to that he bets it’s been a while since she tapped into her wild and crazy side. That is soooo Heather. She’s so careful, so very determined not to hurt her daughter again, which is exactly how she should be. But she’s kind of forgotten that she’s allowed to enjoy life for herself.
Shut Up and Dance, Walk the Moon: I was pretty certain all along that there would be a wedding in this story, and that it would play a pivotal role in the relationship. I needed a song for them to dance to. My first inclination was a slow song, but seriously – how could anyone resist dancing to this song? Plus I seriously love it (it was my ringtone for a while!), so if I needed to listen to something over and over to get me into the feel of the scene, it had to be this one.
Sangria, Blake Shelton: Yes, the song is sexy. Yes, it captures a whole lot of the romance. But mostly, this song was the inspiration for the dress Heather wears to that pivotal wedding – a dress the color of sangria.
I Do, Paul Brandt: The ultimate song for two people who’ve had some serious storms in their past. The song that says it’s okay to move on, to look forward, to promise the future.
Odds Are, Barenaked Ladies: If Xander had a theme song, I think this would be it. Things may appear to be falling apart, but the odds are that we will be alright. Kind of a great way to look at life, isn’t it?