Thursday, August 11, 2011

Music to My Fingers with Guest Blogger: Lisa Kessler

Welcome back Entangled author...Lisa Kessler!

She's here to discuss how music helps her edit, here's what she had to say...

It’s pretty common in this age of iTunes and mp3 for writers to make playlists for their novels. The music may inspire the tone of the book, or sometimes it’s to drown out the rest of the world while writing, and sometimes it can encourage you to keep typing even when you feel like you can’t write another word.

But I think there’s another huge benefit of a good book playlist…


I recently signed a four-book deal with Entangled for my Night Series and quickly discovered that my book playlists REALLY helped to instantly send me back to the book I was editing!
Although Night Walker just released a week ago, I wrote it years ago. I’ve done edits and made tweaks to it, but when I got my first round edit letter, I hadn’t really looked at the book in months. I’d been busy writing a new series that was very gritty and contemporary, so jumping back into my Night Walker world of cultured immortals was a little jarring…
Until I found my Night Walker playlist!

I was stunned how clicking the play button instantly transported me back into the world I wrote a few years ago! Once the edits were in and I waited for the next round, I opened Book 2, Night Demon, which I hadn’t visited in ages. I cued up the playlist and Bam! I was right there where I’d been when I first hovered over the keyboard into the wee hours of the morning.

Similar to Pavlov’s dog theory, I think the music memory really helps. If you were growing up in the 80’s, who doesn’t hear “I had the time of my life” and not immediately think of Dirty Dancing? If you hear Celine Dion belting out “My Heart will go on” in the dentist’s office, doesn’t Titanic pop into your head?

Am I the only one? LOL

For my Moon series, I had “I wanna do bad things with you” on my playlist, and when I hear it, I don’t think of the True Blood series on HBO, instead I’m immediately with the steamy passionate wolves.

So when I’m forced to jump between projects, the book playlists really help me shift gears and get back in the right frame of mind for the current work…

When I wrote Night Walker, Calisto had waited over two hundred years for his love to live again, and the night he finally sees her again, she has no memory of him. Rather than risk frightening her by coming on too strong, he’s forced to walk away.

I wrote this scene while listening to Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise

When the soft purr of her car’s engine faded into the distance, Calisto went downstairs and sat down at his grand piano. Playing was one of the few activities of late that helped ease the loneliness plaguing him. The music surrounded him in a calming embrace, like a child wrapped in his mother’s arms.

Over the years, he had become a virtuoso, a product of having centuries to practice. In that time, he had memorized countless masterpieces by Chopin, Mozart, and Beethoven, but right now Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise poured from his soul, through his fingertips, making the grand piano ring with emotion.

The music spoke words he couldn’t recite, and he played with fervor and accuracy only an immortal being could achieve. Tonight the piano sang, not with the bitter ache of emptiness but with hope and the promise of love. Passion built in the melody, and in his mind he saw her eyes shining as he bent to kiss her lips. He closed his eyes as he played, envisioning her body pressed against his, her warm skin enticing him to hold her tighter.

At the final cadence, his hands remained frozen over the keys, suspending the final chord as it echoed through his empty house. When silence crept around him, Calisto rose from the keyboard and made his way to the secret chamber buried deep within the cliff of his beachfront home.

He would find her again.

Tomorrow night he would search for Kate Bradley. For the first time in decades, he was anxious for another night.

What about you? Have you found your creative mind associates certain books or characters to the music you listened to while you created them?

Thanks for chiming in today! And thanks for having me on the blog! :)

A Note from the Book Boost: Welcome back, Lisa. So happy for you and your big book deal. I like the idea of using your music triggers to get you back into the editing phase. I'm struggling with some edits on an old book now myself. Wish I'd used a play list when writing. Please tell us more about your book.


He gave up his soul for a second chance to love her…

Two and a half centuries ago, Calisto Terana lost everything when a zealous priest murdered the woman he loved. Now, desperate for another chance to love her, he wants redemption for the mistake that cost her life.

She’s haunted by dreams of her own death…

After catching her fiance with another woman, Kate Bradley returns to San Diego to clear her head. The last thing she needs is romance, but after meeting Calisto she’s drawn to him in ways she doesn’t understand.

They’ve waited in the shadows for centuries…

Calisto has no doubt Kate is the reincarnation of his lost love, but the Fraternidad Del Fuego Santo has a new watcher with dark ambitions of his own. As old enemies reemerge and a new threat arises, the betrayal that enslaved Calisto to the night might destroy the only woman he’s ever loved again.

Want More Lisa?

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Click here to learn more.


Roxanne Rhoads said...

I am like you, I hear a song and associate it with a movie or even with a certain time in my life. The music transports me back to past if only for a moment and a memory.

Too bad I can't use music with my writing. I get too distracted. Perhaps I should try using music to get me in the mood the shut it off when I write. I don't know, I've tried to write to music but I get lost in the music. :-)

Lisa Kessler said...

Hi Roxanne -

Have you tried movie soundtracks? SOmetimes songs with words do distract me, but just intrucmentals really help sometimes and you can choose a movie soundtrack to fit your "mood"... :)

Just a thought! LOL We all write so differently, we're like mad scientists trying to find the right formula! :)

Thanks for commenting!

Lisa :)

Rosalie Lario said...

I wish I could write to music, but I can't! It would be so nice to be instantly transported back into the story.

Cate Lord said...

What a beautiful excerpt, Lisa! Music has such an emotional power, doesn't it? I wish I could write to music, but I find it distracts my muse. :) I do my best writing when the house is quiet, and when my kitty is sleeping in his bed near my computer, keeping me company. Many of my author friends, though, write while listening to music, and produce terrific books. I guess it all boils down to what works for the individual author.

Lisa Kessler said...

Hi Rosalie -

Judging by the other comments you're not alone! LOL

In the end you've got to use what works for you, right? :)

Thanks for commenting!

Lisa :)

Lisa Kessler said...

Hi Cate -

I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt! :)

I think you're right, we have to find what works for us and use it. Writing is an art just like singing or painting and no two artists are exactly alike, right? LOL

Thanks for commenting!

Lisa :)

Isis Rushdan said...

Lisa, I mainly write to music and have separate playlists for each story. The music of each playlist helps me to dive right into a particular story.

For edits, I need instrumental music. Lyrics tend to hem me up. Every now and again, I'll come to a scene with tough dialogue, then I need silence so that I can hear my characters speak. Normally, dialogue comes to me in the car or the shower so by the time I open my laptop it's already there ready to flow onto the page, and music only helps.

Wishing you great success!

Lisa Kessler said...

Hi Isis -

I've never thought of having different music to edit by... That's really interesting! :)

Thanks for stopping by and commenting!