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Soundtracking

January 19th, 2011 (05:30 pm)

On his blog, Jeffrey Ricker asks:

Here's a question--or actually several: what music inspires you? Have you ever written anything inspired by a particular piece of music? Do you listen to music while you write?

Here's my answer:

I do make mental and sometimes real soundtracks for the novels I work on. Off the top of my head: Three Fortunes involved a lot of R.E.M. and a bit of U2 (Kieran was Irish, after all). I listened mainly to George Michael while working on I'm Your Man because there's a lot of yearning in his songs and in the novel. I not only listened to the Pet Shop Boys during the period when we wrote When You Don't See Me, but their songs became our chapter titles and the band was special to Nick. A Coventry Wedding was all Beatles, all the time, and though a lot of Beatles songs are mentioned in the novel, there are also coded references to their songs or song titles. Here's one: Jandy meets a crotchety old artist in the book whose name is Wayne Plochman. In reality, Plochman is a brand of mustard: thus, "Mean Mr. Mustard" from the album Abbey Road.

I'd probably need to reread the other books to remember what songs were inspiring me while I wrote.

I write in silence, usually. The exception to this is when Tim and I work in the same dwelling, because he always has music playing. So a lot of times I mentally connect songs to my mood when I was writing something, even though they didn't necessarily inspire it or have anything to do with it.

Speaking of music... One regret I have is that we took a fragment of a song lyric out of It Had to Be You. Every time I hear the song, it makes me laugh because of the scene it evokes--and not using it cost the readers a laugh in a comic moment in the novel. We were beginners and afraid of being sued.

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