I'm of the writing school of 'do whatever it takes to get you in the right frame of mind to write'. Especially so now that I have a little one at home and my writing time is at a premium. When I sit at the computer my hope is that I can open my Word document, slide my fingers atop the keyboard keys and start writing. In order to do that I like to set the mood...
Some writers need utter silence. Some close the door to their office so that nothing but the rattle of keys and the hum of the computer ruin their train of thought. Some listen to classical music finding the lack of words helpful. While I need music. Real music. Let their be music in the air! A cacophony of sounds even. The sounds of family life trickling along in the background like white noise while music pours from the dodgy speakers beside my monitor or through the headphones of my MP3 player.
For I find that within the noise I go further inside my head than if the world were quiet.
The idea for my very first book came to me from listening to a song. My Best Friend's Wedding was playing on TV, and that gorgeous opening scene when the credits roll with the sweet young thing singing 'Wishin' and Hopin' came on. Inspiration struck and there was my book. I listened to that song over and over again while writing the book to make sure I kept that same sweetness, and that same enthusiasm I felt when I first heard it. It grounded me. It put me deep into my heroine's head. The book sold!
Therefore for every book since I've had a CD, a mixed tape, or at the very least a theme song that I listen to over and over while writing and revising the novel.
Why does it help? Just the same way a collage, a picture of the hero, a working title, or even a particular scent can help you leap straight into a story after you've been away from it for a day, a week, or even a year. It gives you a sense memory that takes you to that particular place. For me that happens with the very first note of my soundtrack or signature song.
And it's not always just about the background sound either. A song with the right lyrics can truly inspire. Can lead you down narrative paths you never expected. Can tell you so much about your hero's past, or your heroine's conflict. The song I have used more often than any other is George Michael's Kissing a Fool. It's moody, romantic, hopeful, hopeless, and very easy to listen to. And it tells a beautiful love story that you are quite sure can never be resolved. It's heaven for a romance writer!
For my last book, A NIGHT WITH THE SOCIETY PLAYBOY I had a different song for almost every chapter which was a first for me. But the songs came to me so easily and they fit the chapters so perfectly.
Kissing a Fool it made an appearance here as a track wafting up into a bedroom window from a wedding marquee down below. Billy Idol's fabulous, rockin', loud, anthem Hot in the City was the theme song for a particularly raunchy - if I do say so myself ;) - sex scene. And the final chapter was written to Jeff Buckley's resonant, sad, beautiful The Last Goodbye. At the beginning of each chapter I had the theme song written in the header and even gave these details to my editor for help with the artwork of the cover.
Pick a song that sets the right mood, and has resonant lyrcis and you'll be laughing! And as Shakespeare wrote, If music be the food of love, play on.
And next month her third, and sexiest yet, Modern Heat novel THE MAGNATE'S INDECENT PROPOSAL is out in the UK. Or if you simply can't wait it's available online now through Amazon and Mills and Boon UK.
Check out more about the books at her website...