Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Welcome Wednesday: Ellie James' Syncopate Me

I’m sixteen years old. I’m psychic. I see things before they happen. I know something bad is about to go down. That’s why I’m at the old theater, the one that’s sat rotting since Hurricane Katrina flooded the surrounding community.
Off the beaten track with the swamp inching ever closer, it’s the perfect place to hide—and the perfect place for the New Orleans underground party scene to thrive. From inside, music leaks into the night…

Wait, wait, wait. I’m not sixteen—I’m a writer. I’m not psychic. I don’t know things before they happen (shhh, don’t tell my kids!), with the exception, of course, of my stories.  And I haven’t been to a Rave in years. But I still have this scene to write, and my current playlist of Arcade Fire and Evanescence just isn’t cutting it. The edgy, moody melodies are perfect for angst and drama, but they are SO not what’s playing behind the closed door of the theater.

After some quick research, I find a song—the song—and like magic the walls of my office fade, and the theater comes to life. And then I’m there, inside the sad, abandoned lobby….
 which suddenly becomes…
I’m there, right there in the middle of it. The other-worldly rhythm of electronic drums pulse through me, a baseline giving way to a soft, distorted wail. The music ebbs and flows like a drug to the masses, while greenish lights strobe, quick, fleeting breaths of darkness giving way to  violent flashes of dancing, of faces twisted and arms lifted, bodies grinding in ecstasy.  Swaying, I look up—

My husband stands in the door to the office—you know the look, the cargo shorts and ratty t-shirt, barefoot, his iPad in his hands, looking at me like the space between us is some kind of time-warp giving him a glimpse of someone he hasn’t seen in awhile.

The song was Magical World by Bass Nectar, and it opened more than just the door to the old theater for me, it opened the door to, well, the magical world of the third book in the Midnight Dragonfly series
Dubstep was not a music genre I was familiar with, but I as I kept writing, I kept exploring, and quickly I amassed a playlist featuring songs such as I Can’t Stop by Flux Pavillion, Cracks by Freestyles, and Monzen by Yenn , and in the process I became the coolest aunt ever to my college nieces! 

I love research, and I love music. Combine the two, and even a mom of two young kids can go anywhere and be anyone, including a sixteen year old psychic stepping into a….Magical World.

~Ellie James

Ellie James is the author of the Midnight Dragonfly series (Griffin Teen).  Most people who know Ellie think she’s your nice, ordinary wife and mom of two little kids. What they don't know is that more often than not, this LSU J-School alum is usually somewhere far, far away, in an extraordinary world, deeply embroiled in solving a riddle or puzzle or crime, testing the limits of possibility, exploring the unexplained, and holding her breath while two people fall in love.
Regardless of which world Ellie’s in, she loves rain and wind and thunder and lightning; the first warm kiss of spring and the first cool whisper of fall; family, friends, and animals; dreams and happy endings; Lost and Fringe; Arcade Fire and Dave Matthews, and last but not least…warm gooey chocolate chip cookies.

 Find all the scoop, as well as fun contests and giveaways on Ellie’s Facebook page.

About the Midnight Dragonfly Series

Glimpses. That’s all they are. Shadowy premonitions flickering through sixteen year old psychic Trinity Monsour’s dreams. Some terrify: a girl screaming, a knife lifting, a body in the grass. But others--the dark, tortured eyes and the shattering kiss, the promise of forever--whisper to her soul.

They come without warning. They come without detail.

But they always mean the same thing: The clock is ticking, and only Trinity can stop it.

Find out how in BROKEN ILLUSIONS (Griffin Teen), available May 8, 2012. Check out Ellie's website for more information. 

***Ellie's giving away a FREE and SIGNED copy of BROKEN ILLUSIONS to one lucky, randomly selected commenter! Just leave your e-mail address below with an answer to the following question and you'll be entered to win. Contest runs until 5/23/12. Good luck! :)

 So here's where we toss it out to you, faithful readers. What song has the power to take you somewhere completely different than your ordinary, average life?


Congratuations to Tasnim! 

You've won a signed copy of BROKEN ILLUSIONS! 

Ellie will be in touch soon! 


Melissa Landers said...

Great post, Ellie! I love the way you incorporated photos and music to help me experience the rave.

Which songs have the power to take me someplace else? A couple songs by Muse make me feel like I'm on another planet. (Not sure why.) It's helpful when I'm writing sci-fi. But when I'm writing one of my contemporary romances, Jack Johnson sets just the right mood.

Lorie Langdon said...

LOL! Wonderful imagery, Ellie! I can just picture you lost in the music and your husband walking in. =)
Music is essential for me as well and it can instantly put me in a characters head.
There are many songs that transport me, but one that comes to mind is IN MY PLACE by Coldplay...pretty much anything by Coldplay can evoke strong emotion. :)

Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing with Honestly YA!

Dreena said...

A song that absolutely takes me away is the Love Theme composed by Ennio Morricone in the Italian film, "Cinema Paradiso". I will stop what I am doing whenever I hear it! The music is so beautiful and full of emotion.

dreena_b at hotmail dotcom

Lea Nolan said...

Thanks so much for visiting with us, Ellie! Music helps me get into a character's head too. But as much as I try not to, most of my YA playlist tends to be bouncy pop music. I'm starting to collect songs for my sequel and so far I've got some One Direction, Bruno Mars, and Adele. I'm writing an adult contemporary now and I've got Colbie Caillat's Realize on continuous repeat.

Jennifer McAndrews said...

Wonderful post, Ellie. Thanks so much for spending the day with us here at Honestly YA : )
i'd answer your question, but it would totally give away my age (and I'm an old broad). So I'll just wish you great good luck on your latest release!

CareyCorp said...

Great post Ellie!

I love it when a song catapults you into a scene and suddenly you and your character are dwelling in the same space and time but elsewhere. I especially love songs that illuminate new emotional truth for my characters. I get so into their head that my world falls away. It's like a mini vacation. ;)

Ellie James said...

Thanks so much for having me! Music is instrumental (if you'll excuse the pun!) to my writing. I blogged about this a few weeks ago, including some recommendations for music for different types of scenes. There tends to be a lot of action in my books, in which case I'm constantly slipping in soundtracks from movies such as Gladiator, Braveheart, and Last of the Mohicans! I also recently discovered the trailer for the video game Dead Island, which just blows me away. 3 little minutes, and I'm a goner :)

Interestingly, the dubstep song Magical World became the music for my trailer. You can check that out at I'm pretty sure the music for my next trailer will be Gary Jules's Mad World, another totally evocative song!!!

We ALWAYS have music on at my house, so much so that it's not uncommon to have Gaga battling it out with the Chipettes :)

Vivien said...

Probably the entire album Lateralus by Tool. The music and the lyrics just combine into something that transports me to somewhere else. Not many songs have this ability, let alone an entire album.

deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Tasnim said...

Hmm That's a tough one. I'd have to go with Adele - Someone Like You or Ed Sheeran = The A Team :)

GFC - Taz

tasnim-sheikh at hotmail dot com