Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Take Note of Debut Author and Guest Blogger: Alexa Bourne

Meet good friend, Celtic sister,
and debut author Alexa Bourne
today at the Book Boost!

She's here to chat about the influence of music in her world and here's what she had to say...

When I was young, I used to listen to music while I did my homework. My mom often told me to turn it off because she was sure I couldn’t possibly concentrate. Of course, I was a “perfect” child so I did turn it off…until my mom left the room.

Eventually Mom and I reached an agreement. If my grades slipped I would follow her suggestion and turn the music off. Thankfully I never had to face that. My grades remained high so I could keep the radio on throughout the rest of my schooling!

Now, as a writer, I need to have music while I’m working. It helps to get me and keep me “in the groove”. Yes, I can write without music, and sometimes a difficult scene or revision or re-plotting requires silence, but I do my best work when I have a soundtrack playing. Somehow, someway, for some reason, music gets my blood pumping faster and my energy up, which then feeds my creativity. It’s a perfect cycle!

The type of music I play depends on the book and the scene I’m currently working on. When writing suspense scenes, I usually have alternative, heavy metal or hard rock tunes playing. For romantic scenes, I’ve got ballads, love songs or Top 40 tunes. If I’m working on a chase scene, I usually play classical music or instrumentals from some of my favorite movies such as any one of the Jason Bourne movies.

I also choose music that reflects the country or culture of my setting or characters. For example, my first book, Her Highland Champion, is a contemporary romantic suspense set in Scotland. So, while I wrote it, I listened to a lot of traditional Celtic music, some modern Celtic music and lots of songs with bagpipes.

Another way music comes into play for each of my books is each couple gets a theme song. The theme song usually reflects the characters internal conflicts, the problems he and she have with commitment to each other. My current story is a sweet romance so the theme song for this one is Just a Kiss by Lady Antebellum.

But the music isn’t always sweet ballads. For example, my last completed manuscript about a bounty hunter who would stop at nothing to get what he wanted had The Promise by In This Moment for its theme song.

As I said before, I can write without music. You can often see me with a notebook and pen while in a waiting room or I’ve got a mini-recorder for long stops at red lights. But if I have a choice I’ll always use music. It’s a major part of my writing process. With music I can envision my story on a movie screen with my characters bravely facing insurmountable odds and succeeding in life and love. As a writer, nothing is more satisfying than that.

If you’re a writer, how do you feel about using music while you create? If you’re a reader, does music play a part in getting you excited about something?

A Note from the Book Boost: Welcome to the Boost, Alexa! So thrilled to have you here, my friend. And I'm so happy for your big debut release. Congrats! I've always wanted to be a writer who wrote to a soundtrack. I'm a big fan of sountracks (in movies and television). Unfortunately, I rarely get to listen to music while writing. Unless you count Dora the Explorer's theme song or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. LOL Please tell us more about your book.


Heather Winchester leads a charming life. With good friends, a beautiful flat in one of the most amazing cities in the world, and a promising future once she finishes her Ph.D, she is finally pursuing her own dreams instead of catering to everyone else’s…except she doesn’t remember any of it.

Malcolm Fraser has returned to his Highland village to forget his failings as a professional bodyguard. Believing he could just lose himself in the mundane activities of running his bed & breakfast, he finds a woman’s lifeless body by the loch instead….

Captivated by Heather as she regains her memory, Malcolm is thrown into the line of duty. As danger comes knocking on their door, will he be strong enough to love her and keep her safe?


She turned to the bedside. A man stood there dressed in dark green sweats, with both hands clenched around the silver bedside bar. He was handsome, with light eyes, dark hair cropped close to his head, and a firm jaw. It was his hands, though. They drew her attention. Clean skin, defined knuckles, large fingers. Hands rough from a hard day’s physical labor, and yet, she imagined, gentle enough to caress the afternoon’s sufferings away.

“It’s good to see you awake.” He smiled. “You gave us all quite a fright.”

Okay, the Scottish accent drew her attention, too. At once, it both melted away some of her fears and sparked a whirlwind of questions.

“Where am I?” Her throat scratched like sandpaper.

“St. Catherine’s Hospital.”

She swallowed hard. “Where is that?”

“Fort William.” He reached for something on the table by her bed and brought back a plastic cup with a straw. “Here.”

“Thank you.” The warm water coated her sore vocal cords. She handed the cup back to him.

Wait a minute. Fort William? The only Fort William she knew was in Scotland. “I don’t understand. How did I get here?” Ignoring the aches in her body, she pressed both palms to the sheets on each side of her and pushed herself up. The blanket fell away from her chest and a new chill surrounded her. “What’s going on?”

Her arms shook, and she collapsed back to the bed.

“Relax.” The man set his palm on her shoulder, as if to keep her flat against the mattress. The heat of his fingers seeped through her hospital gown and into her skin. “I found you unconscious on the beach in Glenhalish. I called for an ambulance, and they brought you here.”

“I was in Glenhalish?”

“Aye, on a three day tour of the Highlands. Do you not remember being there?”

“No.” She squinted and studied him. No memories surfaced. “Do I know you?”

He shook his head. “Only from the beach. I’m Malcolm Fraser.”

She opened her mouth and then closed it again. Her gaze drifted to her lap as tears burned in the corners of her eyes. Panic swelled in her chest and into her throat.

“What is it, lass?” he asked with such tenderness.

“Can you tell me my name?”

Want More Alexa?

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Pick up a copy of her debut release on March 30th!
Click here for details.


Vonda Sinclair said...

Yes, I do the same thing, Alexa. I find that music often helps me focus on the emotion of a scene, or maybe music helps me feel the emotion more strongly so that I can then convey that to the reader. I also use various types of music from hard rock/ heavy metal to pop to Celtic new age. Also music specifically designed for concentration. Great post!

Alexa said...

Thanks, Vonda! Music designed specifically for concentration? I'll have to look into that.

Irene Preston said...

Oh, gosh. I think I am 'Mom' - how boring of me.

I agree that music really does change and focus the mood. That's why I have to leave it off while I write. I find myself following the music instead of the scene in my head. I'm sure this says something terrible about my lack of concentration. It's a shame - I love the idea of a soundtrack for a book!

Alexa said...

Irene, sometimes I do find myself getting totally into the song. Then I have to switch it to instrumental for a while.

Julie Ortolon said...

I'm the oposite. I have to have silence to write. I do, however, listen to music as a warm up to writing, or as part of the mulling process. Music is very powerful, and helps me dig for deeper emotions when I'm crafting or fleshing out a scene.

Alexa said...

I totally agree with you, Julie, about music helping to dig deeper.