Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Let the Music Play: Character Soundtracks

I had a lot of fun in a recent post at Savvy Authors describing the reason for creating Playlists to accompany your books, along with a brief How-To from my virtual assistant, My Girl Friday at Rebel Yell Media Management, and my criteria for picking songs to include. I featured the playlist for Cale Terriot, the rowdy, tattooed, rock and roll hero of PRINCE OF SHADOWS, but not the one I had for the heroine. I’m all about equal opportunity so I wanted to give Kendra matching airtime with a little something extra – the reasons behind my selection of each song for both her and Cale.
So as you listen to the Playlists, read through my thoughts on bringing those tunes to the party.

Playlist for Kendra Terriot of PRINCE OF SHADOWS:

Because of You (Kelly Clarkson): is where my heroine comes from, a background where she witnessed her mother’s abuse and failure to address it, and now fears she’ll be subjected to a similar situation. The aching sentiments reflect her caution, lack or trust and isolation.
Behind These Hazel Eyes (Kelly Clarkson): picks up with Kendra in the present. She’s had a close relationship ripped away by betrayal and faces a return of those emotions that tear her apart.

These Dreams (Heart): I’ve loved this one since the ‘80s! Its haunting lyrics express Kendra’s romantic ideals, those “dreams in the mist.” That it laments about a world full of princes is a bonus with her ultimate freedom coming in the form of a kiss from one of them.

I Hate Myself for Loving You (Joan Jett & the Blackhearts): If ever there was an anthem for being caught in a toxic relationship, this is it. It’s playing in the book’s pivotal club scene where Kendra’s feelings of awakening sexuality focus on Cale, the one who hurt her and “took her heart and pride away.”
Broken Wings (Mr. Mister): Another of my ‘80’s favs. The fact that it starts with a crooning, “Baby” makes it Cale’s poignant plea for Kendra, the half that makes him whole, to give him a chance to make things right between them.
Bring Me Back to Life (Evanescence): Ami Lee’s angsty, raw and desperate vocals express Kendra need to break from her fears and experience not just sex, but emotion and love, and echo Cale’s plea that he’s been living a lie and for her to save him from them.
Fall For You (Secondhand Serenade): Cale’s wooing promise that she’s it for him, for her to open her heart and trust him, and Kendra’s struggle against her want to believe him.
Dog Days Are Over (Florence & the Machine): The driving beat pulses with Kendra’s rediscovery of freedom as she puts the past behind her, quits hiding from its pain so she can move forward.

Cale Terriot’s Playlist from PRINCE OF SHADOWS:

Beautiful Disaster (Kelly Clarkson): Kendra’s observation of Cale as “damned as he seems” from suffering more damage than the soul should have to take. Her list is full of contrasts, unknown motives and uncertainties. She’s waited so long to have him but fears it will be a terrible mistake.
Lonely Boy (The Black Keys): Cale’s determination to wait for the love of his life by putting his heart and emotions on hold with a claim of “I don’t mind bleeding.”
Money Talks (AC/DC): As a Terriot, full of arrogance, wealth and privilege, Cale cynically realizes that money and power are what the females of his clan are after, but Kendra’s always wanted him in spite of it. A fun scene in the book with Cale dancing and pouring champagne over the heads of his grasping female entourage.
1st Regiment (Chrome Division): Reflects the Terriot motto of take what they want, want what they see, and hold what they have with the aggressive growl that others get out of their way or they’ll have “another reason for war.”
Music (Madonna): Kendra thinks this an odd inclusion in Cale’s personal playlist until he picks up its sexy, infectious beat to show off graceful and powerful MMA moves . . . and his hot bod. Madonna’s video reflects the Terriot’s love of flash and elitism, and even features a little fighting dust up.
Broken (Seether): From Cale and Kendra dance at the club. The raw ballad is all about Cale’s longing for his lost love and his desire to take her pain away.
Shot of Love (AC/DC): Full of Cale’s macho swagger as he stakes a proud and boastful claim upon his new mate in front of his family, and she doesn’t mind responding in kind to his bold, “I want you.”
Cat People (David Bowie): Cale’s patient and often animalistic struggle to become strong enough within his family’s brutal hierarchy to claim Kendra as his queen summed up with “You wouldn’t believe what I’ve been through,” overcoming weakness with necessary violence.
Broken, Beat and Scarred (Metallica): Fierce, hard rocking literal look at what Cale’s been willing to do to survive and protect those he loves by never staying down. Echoes his mantra of “What don’t kill you makes you strong.”
Ships In the Night (Mat Kearney): If movies have their love song, this is PRINCE OF SHADOWS’s. Full of petition and promise as Cale vows to be that heart that’s not walking away as he searches for a way to right his life and lead it with Kendra at his side.

Hope this has given you an up close and personal look inside PRINCE OF SHADOWS and its characters through the magic of music! Do you find Playlists a fun addition to a book’s content as a reader? As a writer are they something you’ve tried?

Happy listening. Happy reading.


  1. I haven't tried this, but what a GREAT idea! I always play the radio when I'm writing but mostly just so I don't hear the coyotes howling somewhere outside the camper I write in. So much the better if the music I'm playing is relevant to my book. Thanks for this post!

  2. What a great post! I love hearing the thoughts behind each song. :)

  3. Love this! Definitely the way to find the emotional center of your characters and their actions. And let me say your website is fantastic! Awesome design and presentations. Wowza!