Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Guest blogger: Kristi Gold
You Ain’t Just Whistlin’ Dixie
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’m thrilled to be back at the Playground for a visit! And in case you’re wondering about the title of this blog, I’m not here to discuss Southern sayings, (although my great-grandmother’s name was Alabama Safronia Brown who hailed from—you guessed it--Alabama). I’m going to talk about music, and the aforementioned title, which happens to be a song performed by The Bellamy Brothers, is among my favorites.
First of all, I have very eclectic taste when it comes to my choice in music—from country to classical and quite a bit in between. Secondly, music has been a part of my life since my mother sang to me as a child. I’ve always marveled over songwriters who manage to convey a story complete with emotion using very few words, when it takes me hundreds of pages to do the same, if I’m lucky.
That love of music seeped into my creative endeavors years ago when I began my first book. I would stick a Jon Secada cassette into the home stereo (remember those?) and write away. Later, I progressed to CDs, portable players and eventually to listening on my computer. With the advent of music downloads, my life is now so much easier. In fact, before I begin a new story, I set up a playlist that carries the same title of the book (before the title changes, as it almost always does). Invariably one of those tunes becomes a “signature” song for the book. I wrote a gothic romance for Silhouette Desire called House of Midnight Fantasies with the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack playing in the background. Wicked Game by Chris Isaak pretty much summed up my hero in my most recent release, His Best Mistake. And Love, Look What You’ve Done to Me by Boz Scaggs somehow always ends up in every playlist as inspiration for love scenes. However, if I’m not careful, I accidentally choose some ditty by mistake that can take me right out of the story. Try writing a hero’s pivotal declaration of love during I’ve Got Friends in Low Places. And don’t get me started on the comments I’ve received from my kids because in my enthusiasm I’ve broken into song. Wearing headphones. I can’t carry a tune under normal circumstances.
On the cosmic front, I’ve actually discovered a couple of those signature songs after the fact. Over a dozen years ago, I began a book that I put aside for another project. A few years later, my daughter turned me on to Sarah Mclachlan, at which time I came across her song entitled Full of Grace. The name of my book? Fall From Grace, that I finally finished and sold a decade later. The lyrics hauntingly conveyed the story. Like I said, cosmic. But then again, I feel there is something very magical about music.
In my experience, I’ve met more than a few authors who--like me—use music to inspire. I even have one friend who made me listen to Pachebel’s Canon in D (her story’s signature song) in it’s entirety before we walked into the post office to mail our manuscripts (which were both subsequently rejected although I don’t blame Pachebel). All that said, I’m always interested in learning if any authors out there find music too distracting. Any readers who listen to music while they read? Any particular song remind you of a book or vice versa? This curious, tone-deaf, music-loving author needs to know.
Again, it’s great to be here!
P.S. Kristi's latest book, His Best Mistake, is on the shelf now from Harlequin SuperRomance. You can comment today and be in the drawing for a free copy. You can learn more about Kristi, her backlist and her take on alpha heroes at her website, www.kristigold.com.