Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Take Note of Guest Blogger: Heather Kuehl

The Book Boost welcomes guest blogger Heather Kuehl to the blog today.

Here's what she had to say...

Music inspires much of my writing. For the Sarah Vargas series, this is particularly true. I was in my college level creative writing class when the inspiration for Sarah struck. The assignment: write a short story based off of a song lyric. Everyone in the class was supposed to write a down a lyric and put it in the hat at the front of the room. Then, one by one, we go and draw from the hat. The lyric I pulled from the hat was from a band named Sublime. The song is called "What I Got" and the lyric I pulled said, "Life is too short, so love the ones you got; 'Cause you might get run over or you might get shot." I've heard those lyrics a million times, but this time something about them brought Sarah to life. I knew in that instant that I had an angry werewolf on my hands, one that was ticked off about the hand she had been dealt. I was intrigued by her, and I desperately wanted to see more of this world she lived in.

Before I knew it, I had more than a short story on my hands. Chapter after chapter flowed out, introducing me to creatures I had never written about before. Before Sarah, I had only written high fantasy. But for some reason, Sarah's world of werewolves and psychotic vampires spoke to me on a level that high fantasy hadn't.

As I wrote, I found that Evanescence was the music that really spoke to Sarah's personality. Amy Lee's lyrics were perfect in conveying Sarah's inner struggle. It wasn't until the end of Fade to Black that the music changed to Avenged Sevenfold, the heavy metal and quick beat perfectly mirroring the panic in Sarah's heart. I've relied on these two bands heavily throughout the last five years when I'm working on my Sarah Vargas series, knowing that they speak to my Muse so completely.

That is why I love music so much, and why I think that I wouldn't be a good writer without it. Music calls to something within me, coaxing my imagination until I have no other choice but to write down what I'm seeing or feeling. It doesn't matter if it's classical or metal, country or rap - if the music calls to me I write. Taylor Swift's "Love Song" inspired a young adult romance I'm working on so strongly that, if I'm stuck, I just have to listen to the song to get my Muse going. Never knowing what's going to happen when I listen to a song for the first time is what makes music-induced inspiration so much fun.

Inspiration through music doesn't just affect writers; it affects everyone. It inspires creativity and pulls at emotions buried deep inside ourselves. Chefs sing while they cook, artists are inspired by music much like writers are, and nurses hum while they work. No matter who you are, music calls to you. So tell me, does music inspire you?

A Note from the Book Boost: I find inspiration everywhere these days. A word, phrase, lyric, or tune can certainly stoke the creative embers of my brain. Thanks for sharing your musical inspiration and world building with us today. Please share more about your latest book.


After she broke her contract with the Blood Moon Corporation, Sarah Vargas knew that it was only a matter of time before they came for her. What she didn't know is what lengths they would go to make sure that she had no where to run. Everyone Sarah has every relied on is in danger during a time when friends become enemies, and Sarah quickly realizes that the Blood Moon Corporation will never give up until she is dead. The Blood Moon Corporation is coming, and even Sarah doesn't think she can make it out alive.


At times, I loved my mentor. It was a pity the BMC let him go. So many people like me needed a teacher like him.

Just like Jared’s death, the BMC’s abandonment of Dom made no sense. Why would they get rid of one of their best teachers?

I gasped as it came to me as clearly as a premonition. I felt my connection with Damian flair as my mind went into shock, putting pieces together that I didn’t know fit. It couldn’t be…

It made too much sense not to.

I looked up at Dom. “Why didn’t the BMC save you from Marcellus?” I asked with my voice barely above a whisper.

It was the most obvious question, one that should have been asked the moment the vampire necromancer died. I had been too busy grieving over Jared to think straight.

Damian kept the metaphysical lines between us open, listening but careful not to say a word to distract me. I could feel him in my head, and I didn’t mind, one less person to tell.

Dom looked into my eyes and I could see indecision filling their black depths. He sighed as he backed away, and I thought that he decided not to tell when he faced me and said, “They ordered me to kill you.”

“And?” I asked. My blood ran cold. I felt the wolf inside me tense, preparing for an attack.

“And I refused,” Dom growled with disbelief written on his features. “Sarah, you’re like a daughter to me. I could never cause you harm.”

“What did the BMC do?”

“They said that they understood. The next day they sent me to take out Marcellus.”

I licked my lips. “They sent a vampire to kill a vampire necromancer?”

“Yes, that’s…” Dom froze. “They set me up.”

“No. I don’t think they did.”

“How do you figure? Sarah, I was controlled…”

“By a creature sent here to kill Damian, not me.”

Dom cocked his head to the side, and I screamed with frustration that he wasn’t putting it altogether.

“Think about it Dom! There are four people that I can fully trust; you, Donavan, Jared, and Damian.”

“Go on.”

“They sent Marcellus here to kill Damian. If he had succeeded, that would have taken care of one of my four. In doing so, the throne of Charleston would have been open to him, and I would be out of a safe place to live. Donovan should have killed you for killing his Weres. I should have been kicked out of the Clan for letting the dead Weres happen on my watch. Luckily, Donavan is more understanding than the BMC give him credit for. I would have been out of another safe house as well as a Clan to protect me. You, a vamp would sacrifice his own life to keep me safe. Jared…” I couldn’t say any more, and Dom started nodding as he thought it over.

“I can’t believe they would do this,” he said.

Donavan came over as Dom said these words. “Who?”

“The Blood Moon Corporation,” Dom and I said in unison.

“We’ve got to tell Damian,” Dom said as he dug into his pocket for his phone.

“There’s no need,” I said before he could pull it out. “He’s been in my head listening since I figured it out.”

I felt Damian’s anger rise to the surface, and suddenly I saw Damian as though I actually stood in his office. His black hair, once long enough to touch his knees, now barely brushed his shoulders. His plum-colored eyes burned with anger as he pulled book after book off the bookcase against his back wall.

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Unknown said...

I love music to write by as well. Amy Lee has some powerful stuff. I'm going to have to check out your Sarah Vargas. I love female werewolves.

Heather said...

Hi Melissa. Thank you for stopping by! I love werewolves as well. I feel that they haven't gotten the good press their counterparts (vampires) have gotten.