Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday Talk-Time - Mood Music with Donna Alward

Last week I really enjoyed Anne McAllister's post on music and whether to write with it or without. I posted in the comments that while I often have a soundtrack, I don't actually listen to it as I'm writing. I'll put it on when I check my e-mail first thing in the morning, or eat lunch, or listen to a song a couple of times before I launch into a scene.

Like Anne, sometimes the noise distracts and pulls me out of the scene, and it's so very vital to be present in it. But at the same time, music speaks to me so deeply that I inevitably find songs that cry out to be heard in reference to a specific story or character. And this isn't something of the first songs that I attached to a story was Diamond Rio's "Unbelievable" for a dance at Connor and Alex's wedding in Hired By The Cowboy.
The first time I heard "Far Away" by Nickelback, for instance, my husband played it for me and I sat and cried. That became my song for Jonas in The Soldier's Homecoming, before I ever even started the book.
Josh Groban's album CLOSER was the mood music for Hired: The Italian's Bride, my release coming up in June.

And "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts was definitely Lucy and Brody's song in The Rancher's Runaway Princess - as well as "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" - as those of you who have read (and thank you if you have!) will remember.

There is another story burning in my mind, one that I hope to start writing very soon and for some reason it has caused me to spend a considerable amount of time on YouTube. It also prompted me to watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy - all 12 hours of it. Again. And I discovered Celtic Woman.
Now I'll confess there's a lot of Celtic Woman I don't care to listen to. But there are a few songs that have helped me pull more notes together for this future project. First of all is their version of May It Be (from LOTR). I immediately thought, if that doesn't say woman standing on a cliff looking out to sea thinking of her lover, I don't know what does.

Then there was The Last Rose of Summer, which is beautifully sung.

But I think my favourite might be The Soft Goodbye, which actually made me cry at one point.

Will I listen to these as I write? Probably not. But the spirit, the emotions they inspire will always be just beneath the surface, lending support (I hope!) to the story I'm trying to tell.

Donna's rushing headlong towards an April 1 deadline, and listening to "Broken" by Lifehouse and "The Blower's Daughter" by Damien Rice for inspiration!

Her next release is Hired: The Italian's Bride, coming in June!


  1. Donna, Celtic Women a wonderful to start or end the day. Also the Irish tenors are inspiring.

  2. Both songs are fabulous, just for listening or as mood-setters. Isn't it wonderful how music evokes images and emotions that are unique for every listener?

    I don't listen to music while I write. Background 'noise' has always been a hindrance to me when I'm trying to concentrate. (A different matter entirely when I'm doing housework.) However, I agree that music can be inspirational during the mood- and scene-setting stages of writing.

    I think of Ian Tyson's songs for the feel of the prairies, Leonard Cohen for relationship angst, and I'm sold on Celtic Woman now for my current story set in Scotland. Suddenly, I was there!

    Thanks, Donna, for creating some wonderful atmosphere this morning.

  3. You're welcome Hazel! And I can take a guess what story you're working on???? LOL

    Anne McAllister was saying she can't work to music should check out last week's post.

    And hi Marilyn! :-)

  4. Lovely stuff, Donna. Check out Karine Polwart ('Hole in the Heart' from 'Scribbled in Chalk' is just brilliant), and also Secret Garden.

    I've just discovered Alison Moyet's covers album, Voice. Beautiful ('Almost Blue' is particularly good).

  5. Hi Donna:

    I think you should get a Public Service Award for bringing these songs to the attention of people who have never heard of them. Wonderful music.


  6. LOL Thank you Vince!

    It is funny how I will be looking for something else and just click on something that looks interesting, and a whole world opens up.