Thursday, April 19, 2012

Writing to a Different Tune with Guest Blogger: Susan C. Muller

Welcome author Susan C. Muller
to the Book Boost today!

She's here to chat about music and writing and here's what she had to say...

Lately I’ve noticed a new trend in interview questions. Music.

What music does your hero/heroine enjoy?

What is his/her theme song?

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what type?

Movies have background music and I suppose some readers want the same in their novels.

I’ll tell you a secret. This is a big problem for me. There’s something wrong with me. I’m missing a music gene somewhere. I don’t know if there are others who are missing this gene. My sister is missing it too, so maybe it’s hereditary.

And then there was my father. I could always find him in church because he sang loud. Not good, just loud. But it made him so happy. It made me want to crawl under my seat, but that’s another story.

It’s not that I don’t like music; I’m mostly indifferent to it. I have an oldies station programmed on the car radio, but if I use a drive-through and need to turn the radio down, it might be a couple of days before I remember to turn it back up again.

When I do have the car radio going, I sometimes sing along. You wouldn’t want to hear it, but I do sing. I even know the words. I’ve read that people who can’t carry a tune are more likely to know the words. And I certainly can’t carry a tune.

In high school, I belonged to the church choir. Don’t ask, there was a cute boy involved. When the choir leader blew that little harmonica thing and everyone hummed that note, I just laughed. I could no more open my mouth and have a specific note come out than I could began to speak Martian.

I accidentally turned on American Idol one time. When the judge said the contestant was a little “pitchy”--I changed channels. Not only did I not hear it, I didn’t know what that meant. I think they made it up. The only pitch I understand is pitching a book.

I first knew there was something missing for me musically while still in elementary school. One whole semester was devoted to music appreciation. The entire school met in the cafeteria one day a week and listened to classical music. We were given a paper telling what was playing and who wrote it. At the end of the semester there was a test, there always is. I studied and knew my composers and what they wrote. When the first piece of music started playing, I looked around the room and went: “What?”

Every other little kid was nodding, humming. They knew what that song was. The notes meant nothing to me. Maybe I’d know the next one. Nope, nor the one after. They all sounded the same to me. If it had simply been a written test–who wrote what–I’d have aced it.

When the test ended, I had tears in my eyes. Not because I’d failed a test, it wasn’t the first and wouldn’t be the last, but because I knew there was something wrong with me. That I was different.

So if you want to interview me about my latest book, great. I’d love that. Just don’t ask what music I have playing while I write because I probably didn’t notice.

In my novel, The Secrets on Forest Bend, my hero, Adam is a good dancer and he invites the heroine, Jillian, out to listen to music. But the venue is never specified. Was it rock? Country/Western? We’ll never know.

What about you, do you listen to music while you write, or like me, do you prefer silence?

A Note from the Book Boost: Susan, thanks for joining us today and for the laugh out loud post. Here's the thing I love about this post--your absolute honesty. One of my biggest pet peeves is for folks who really don't know how to sing or carry a tune to get up and try to do so and claim that they are good. Just like those folks we see a lot of on American Idol during the early rounds. This is so refreshing. There is nothing wrong with you--you're just not built for music. Not a design flaw--just a different design. Great stuff and even though I am musically inclined and play 2 instruments--I still don't write to music--ever! Please tell us more about your story.


Another day. . . another dead body.

When Detective Adam Campbell learns that a WWII gun is connected to several murders he’s investigating, he hopes that tracking down the killer will be as easy as tracing the gun’s history. When he meets Jillian Whitmeyer, the last known owner of the weapon, the case becomes anything but simple.

Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

Adam soon learns that people who get close to Jillian have a bad habit of turning up dead. Jillian claims that the spirit of her sister, accidentally killed with that same gun, is responsible for the deaths. She warns Adam that he is likely to become the next victim. Adam’s been a lousy judge of women in the past, and this one’s obviously a nut case. Or is she? How does a just-the-facts detective deal with a ghostly serial killer and the sexy-as-hell sister she won’t set free?

Want More Susan?

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Shawnna said...

Very funny post, Susan. And, a great book! And, I have to say I'm sorry you feel there's something wrong with you. You're perfect just the way you are...I just happen to not understand it! :) I'm one of those write to music kinda gals and all my books and/or characters have a "soundtrack." Couldn't imagine it any other way. But to each their own, right?

Bev Irwin / Kendra James said...

I love music. I sometimes listen to creative writing CD's hoping for inspiration and for keeping me stuck to the chair.

Angela Scavone said...

My Godmother was the same way. I would play music for her and she couldn't hear the differences in the notes at all. I adore music, I've taken different instrument lessons my whole life but I cannot sing on tune to save my life. I also will not listen to music when I'm writing it's too distracting. Great post Susan!!

B.J. Scott said...

Always have music or white noise when I write. Could never get from here to there in the car without the radio tuned to my fav stations ;)

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

THANK YOU for this post!

My mother used to say I was tone deaf. I got mad. "I can tell perfectly well when I'm singing off key."

My best friend tries to get me to sing karaoke. Why? So everyone can laugh at me? She wants me to own my music moron-ness.

I like music and I like to sing, sometimes. I turn up my iPod very loudly and make sure no one is in the house. But 99% of the time, I'm listening to podcasts about the NFL.

My youngest daughter? Plays three instruments, piano and guitar self-taught. I don't even need to scold her about practicing viola for school. How the heck does that happen? LOL

Anonymous said...

I so understand, Susan!! I'm the worst singer. I do, however, love music...Seems I listen to music when writing...only sometimes...usually during a romantic scene, since I like soft sweet music!

Great post!