Meet featured author Meggan Connors
and chat about her love of music and writing!
and chat about her love of music and writing!
Here's what she had to say...
Music and Inspiration
Some authors require absolute silence when they write.
My day job is very noisy. With a chatty husband, two kids, two dogs and a talkative cat, my house is very noisy. In general, I am not a quiet person.
So silence, for me, is…disconcerting.
When I first started writing, I needed something to drown out the extra sounds in the house. I turned to music, and now I can’t write without it. I even tried to the other day, just to see if I could. The husband and kids were out of the house, and the silence actually made me uncomfortable. So I turned the radio on and the words started flowing.
Every manuscript I write has a different soundtrack. For one of my manuscripts, I listened to Eminem and Muse and other artists who have dark, tortured lyrics. For The Marker, my debut novel, I listened to Carolina Liar and the Dixie Chicks. It took me nearly half the novel to actually assign certain artists to it, but once I did, I finally felt like I had a clear direction for my story. Had to go back and rewrite some of those first chapters, but since I’m a pantser, I probably would have had to do that, anyway.
My latest manuscript had a song assigned before I even started, which was good for the story. I listened to that song over and over again. In the car. In the house. On my commute, and in my office. I finished that manuscript in what is, for me, record time: twelve weeks.
But I realized that maybe I needed to switch it up when, three weeks into my manuscript, my son started singing the song in the middle of the supermarket, from start to finish, loudly and off key. For those of you who might be interested, the song was This is Why We Fight by The Decemberists. If you don’t know it, it’s a great song, though not necessarily something a four year old would generally belt out.
I might not have thought anything of it, because the kid likes to sing, but I’d only had the CD for about two weeks. Maybe I'd taken my musical inspiration a little too far?
And now, my muse is obsessed—and I mean obsessed—with Barry Manilow.
Although I write primarily historicals and historical paranormal, my muse is wanting to write a contemporary. She (because it can’t possibly be me, can it?) wants to listen to Barry Manilow, Rhianna, and Katy Perry while doing it.
Barry Manilow has been on continuous replay now for months—only in my head, though. I keep trying to convince myself that I won’t stoop to buying Barry Manilow’s Greatest Hits—after all, Barry Manilow brings back memories of sitting in the back of my mom’s Renault LeCar, listening to John Denver, Neil Diamond, and Barry. And trying really hard not to throw up, because, as I recall, I was carsick more often than not.
It’s not my intention to write about the late 70s, early 80s. Yet, the other day, I caught myself singing Sweet Caroline and Mandy in my car. And then I wrote a scene where, in my head, Barry Manilow is playing in the background.
I guess there’s no stopping the muse when she decides she’s going to do something. So I guess I’ll have to bow to my muse’s rather persistent requests and start listening to “the right kind” of music again.
I guess I’ll have to listen to some Barry.
A Note from the Book Boost: This is too funny, Meggan. Thanks for sharing and poor Barry--give a guy a break. :-) I live in a very noisy house as well--lots of crying, complaining, and tantrums and the kids are troublemakers, too! :-) Tell us more about your debut book and best of luck for a best seller.
When her father loses her in a poker game, Lexie Markland is sent to work in the household of Nicholas Wetherby for one year to pay off the debt. Innocent, but not naïve, she is savvy enough to know she must maintain her distance from this man, who frustrates her with his relentless teasing but whose kisses bring her to her knees. Because although she may be just another conquest to him, it’s not just her heart in jeopardy should she succumb to Nicholas’ considerable charms.
Since his brother's death almost a year before, nothing has held Nicholas’ attention for long—not women, not booze, not even an excellent hand at cards. Nothing, that is, until he meets the woman he won in a drunken night of poker. Intrigued by his prize and her chilly reserve, he makes it his mission to crack Lexie’s cool demeanor. But even as passion explodes between them, the question remains: will Nicholas be able to take the ultimate risk...and gamble on love?
Pulling away from him as they approached her father, Lexie said softly, “Father. We have a guest,” and laid a gentle hand on his back.
Her father had been having a rough morning, and more than once Lexie had caught him regarding her with sad, glassy eyes. She had assumed he was sick with drink—he was sick more mornings than not these days—but something in his demeanor told her it was more than that. Long ago, she’d learned never to trust surprises.
Even ones as pleasant as finding a man like Nicholas Wetherby at her door.
Markland raised his head and regarded Nicholas with blood-shot eyes. “I have come to collect,” Nicholas said by way of greeting.
“You can’t mean that!” Markland exclaimed. With a groan, he buried his face in his hands and closed his eyes. She wordlessly placed a glass of water in front of him, which, other than a bottle of cheap bourbon, was the only thing she had to offer him. The water sloshed from the glass, and Markland’s eyes shifted from the small pools of water in front of him back to Lexie.
She folded her arms against her chest and scowled at him—she was done cleaning up his messes. It was all she ever did anymore. Shrinking under her withering glare, he turned his eyes back to Nicholas.
“It’s completely unfair. Everyone knows you can’t collect on such a wager,” her father protested dully, and Lexie was possessed by the sudden urge to give Nicholas Wetherby anything he wanted, just so long as she didn’t have to listen to her father’s wheedling anymore.
Saturday mornings, like clockwork, her father would whine about the latest “unfairness,” as if his actions hadn’t been the cause of all their problems.
“As you would not have collected had I lost?” Nicholas countered, turning those glittering turquoise eyes over to Lexie. His gaze was so intense she had to look away, and she studied the tabletop as if it were the most interesting thing she’d ever seen. “You were salivating over my money last night, and yet, once you’ve lost, you refuse to honor your debt to me?”
Dismayed, she watched the drama play out between the two men. She had heard her father’s protests far too often. She had begged him to stop, but nothing was more important to him—there were always fortunes to be won. For the last five years, her job had been to pick up the pieces. She had taken on some work as a seamstress, but her father, worried about his image among the elite of the city, refused to let her take on too much. She had offered to search for a position as a governess or a schoolteacher, but her father opposed that option too: how would it look if his daughter had to work? Keeping up the appearance of having money seemed to be the only thing concerning John Markland.
If only they could eat appearances.
Lexie put a hand to her forehead, trying to rub away the ache beginning to form just behind her brows. Wearily, she asked, “What did you promise him, Father?”
“Nothing! It was a jest!”
“I have a contract, signed by you. That’s not a jest.”
Lexie found herself intrigued by the masculine timber of his voice. He had the voice of a preacher, deep and melodic, and she turned her gaze to him. He caught her eye and a smile lit his features, and she fought the urge to faint again as her heart danced wildly in her chest.
When he smiled, it was as if it were meant just for her, so dazzling she felt temporarily blinded to everything else but the desire to have his lips on her skin again.
Lexie placed a hand on the back of a chair to steady herself as she pushed away the idea. She was no fool. One look at Nicholas Wetherby told her he wasn’t the man for her. A man like him wouldn’t be caught dead courting the destitute daughter of a drunk, even if she were available.
Too rich, too good-looking, too self-assured, he could have any woman he wanted. He’d probably marry some pale, blond goddess who would bear him a whole passel of pale, blond children.
Strange, how that thought made her sad. Steeling herself, she said, “I assure you, Mr. Wetherby, whatever my father owes you, I will make every effort to repay you.”
Nicholas nodded. “Your father has already generously provided me with his preferred method of payment.”
Startled, her eyes flew to his face. Trying to cover her surprise, she said, “What did he promise?”
Nicholas glanced over at Markland. “Did you not tell her?”
Markland put his head down on the table. “You can’t do this, Wetherby,” he said miserably.
“Oh, but I can,” he said, his lips curving into a wolfish smile, and her heart lurched painfully in her chest. “Having come here, I intend to collect my marker.”
Markland moaned into the table, refused to look up. Temper flaring, Lexie demanded, “Oh, for God’s sake, Father, what did you lose this time? What is this marker?”
Nicholas turned his bright, glittering eyes to her, his lips curling in the ghost of a smile. “He didn’t tell you?”
“Would I be asking you if he had?” she retorted.
He visibly suppressed a smile, as if he found her amusing. “No, I suppose not.”
“So what’s he lost? What did he bet this time?”
Nicholas ran his eyes over her in a way that sent shivers up her spine, and she felt naked under his gaze, as if he saw through her and into her soul. Silent for what seemed like a long time, he handed her the contract and in a low voice said,
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