Monday, May 7, 2012

My Character Wants to Listen to What?!

I’m happy to be kicking off our next rotation The Soundtrack of Our Lives, where we’ll be talking music.

I found my musical heartbeat in the 80’s. While Michael Jackson was influencing a generation’s fashion and Whitney Houston was teaching them how to love, I discovered new wave and punk. My most profound teen moments involved The Ramones, The Cure, The Smiths, Depeche Mode, Echo and the Bunnymen, Modern English, Howard Jones, Violent Femmes, etc. One of my first big crushes used the Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” as a springboard for our inaugural makeout session. *Ahhh* that song still gives me the tinglies!

Even though my tastes have continued to develop and diversify, I still love 80’s alternative music (and makeout sessions). I’m especially fond of punk covers by bands like Goldfinger and Me First & the Gimme Gimmes, but I also like contemporary alternative. Right now I’m really into fun., The Academy Is, Hot Chelle Rae, OneRepublic, The Fray (always), One Direction, Needtobreathe, Maroon 5, Goyte, Gym Class Heroes, and 30 Seconds to Mars. Jared Leto’s pink mohawk—need I say more?!
Like any writer who connects deeply with music, my characters share the same kind of profound connections. Unfortunately, we don’t always agree on what type of music speaks to us. Often my main characters gripe (in my head, of course—because anything else would be crazy!) about my choice in music and sometimes they flat out refuse to cooperate until I concede to their musical preference. Here are a few of my favorite (and most stubborn) main characters.

Alexia (The Halo Chronicles: The Guardian) - Alex is very eclectic in her musical tastes. She likes alternative rock spanning many decades. But when she needs to escape, she loses herself in the pounding rhythms of screamo/post-hardcore/metalcore bands like As I Lay Dying, My Chemical Romance, The Devil Wears Prada, Autumn to Ashes, Taking Back Sunday, and A Day to Remember. Alex and I are very simpatico when it comes to working together.

Mackenna (Finished Project yet to be announced) - Kenna loves Broadway musicals. Like me, she has a particular affinity to Sondheim, and the truth he illuminates through song. She, however, is not as angsty as her creator. As a result, she enjoys mainstream musicals of the Rogers & Hammerstein and Jerry Herman variety much more than I do. I’m more of a RENT, Spring Awakening girl. And Kenna likes Wicked a bit too much, in my humble opinion—she’s kinda obsessed with playing Glinda—but overall we manage to compromise. She’s even helped me see the beauty in the more pedestrian, mainstream musicals.

Sofia (Work in Progress) - Sofie surprised me. She comes to the modern world from an isolated place and connects to...Country Music. Seriously? WTF—Country?! Not Social Distortion’s version of “Ring of Fire” that I have on my “Happy Place” iTunes playlist, but honest-to-goodness Country Music. She likes Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, and especially identifies with Taylor Swift’s songs about disillusioned fairytales. She also cares a great deal for The Band Perry’s "If I Die Young". My typical music is too distracting for Sofie and she refuses to cooperate unless I play what she wants. (Did I mention my main characters are often as stubborn as I am?)

But when it comes to my main characters and music, I follow one simple rule: Their story, their music. But when the laptop closes, it's all about me.

Other songs on my “Happy Place” iTunes playlist:

How about you, Dear Reader? Does music speak to you? What's on your "Happy Place" playlist?



Melissa Landers said...

Oh, Carey, I feel your pain. As you know, I'm slaving over Sultry #3 while waiting for more Alienated edits. Well, Colton is an Oklahoma boy living in Texas, and he loves country music. But not that pop-crossover crap. He says that's not real country. He's very stubborn and persnickety when it comes to music.

CareyCorp said...

Mel - LOL! I can totally picture Colton laying down the law when it comes to your Sultry 3 soundtrack.

Melissa Landers said...

Haha! "Laying down the law." You clever girl, you.

Lorie Langdon said...

Considering you're my writing partner, you know quite a lot about the music that inspires me and my characters...I suspect more than you'd care to know. ;o)
One of my current favorites is everything by Parachute!

Kimberly said...

One of my favorite characters (Mary in CHASING FIREWORKS) loves Queen and anything else Classic Rock. It's a bond that she shares with her dad and her best friend-turns-boyfriend. LOL. Thought that was kinda ironic considering our last posts. :-)
My first epic love story, spanning two decades and approximately 160,000 words (God help me) had lots of Frank Sinatra in it. It was a bond she shared with her adopted grandmother. :-) I love me my Frank! Every time I hear "Fly Me to the Moon" I start swaying in a very Rat Packy kinda way. :-)
Fun post, Carey!
When will the world finally hold Doon in their hands??? I want it! I want it now!

CareyCorp said...

@Lorie - I do know a lot about what music inspires you. I can't wait to read what you do with the topic.

@Kim- Am I sensing some "Bohemian Rhapsody" in your upcoming post? Nic's reading DOON now...fingers crossed that she loves the changes. LOVES THEM!!!!!

Lea Nolan said...

What a great post! It's amazing how these characters have their own personalities and interests. Nothing proves that more than seeing their different musical tastes!

CareyCorp said...

Thanks Lea - I can't wait to read your post.