If you really want to get to know your characters, let them share their favorite music with you. My hero and heroine have their own soundtracks, thanks to internet radio. They picked it themselves. I can tell a lot about my characters by listening to the music they’ve chosen, and the music keeps us connected with each other.
In my historical romance, Mercy of the Moon, Maggie and Ian live in a lively 18thtown in southern England. The English Channel profoundly influences their daily life: the fog, the rhythm of the sea, the comings and goings of sailors and smugglers, the ever-present smell of fish drying, and tempestuous storms.
To feel close to Maggie, I listen to an album called Silver Sea, by an Irish artist called Meav, a former singer with Anuna and Celtic Woman. The majority of the songs are about the sea, including a beautiful, haunting ballad called, “Martha’s Harbour.” Another song that carries more angst and is even more haunting is “You Brought Me Up.” As far as I can tell, it’s about a mermaid. The music on this album is evocative and recalls an older era. These songs center me and keep me attuned to the emotional swings of my character.
Ian is a man of many moods. Some days he directs me to the Cure’s album, Mixed Up. The song, “Lullaby,” sounds nothing like any lullaby I’ve ever heard. It’s eerie, disjointed, and melancholy. Ian has done a fair amount of travel aboard ship. There is a song by the Longest Johns, called “Christmas at Sea.” It’s actually adapted from a poem written by Robert Louis Stevenson in the 1800’s. Mostly, he enjoys the bawdy sea shanties, which I write myself. It’s the least I can do to make him happy.
Music can really keep you grounded with your setting. I try to find music that is set in the time in which I’m writing, and there’s a plethora of it out there. I can shut the modern world out and melt into the music of the era.
There is a paranormal element in my book, and there’s nothing like a little Mediaeval Babes to create an eerie atmosphere. This group is not for the faint-hearted; proceed with caution if you’re prone to nightmares. It’s something to do with their harmony that slides into strange, bone-chilling disharmony and sends chills down your spine. I’m creeping myself out just thinking about it.
If you don’t use music while writing, why not give it a try? I’d love to hear what your characters enjoy listening to, and if you use music to aid you in your writing. Rock on!
She spent her childhood running wild on an Idaho mountainside. Although she’s lived across the U.S., she is still an Idahoan at heart and a notorious potato pusher. She has a degree in Human Services and worked as a roofer, a hoofer, a computer data entry operator and a stay-at-home mom.
Music has ruled Jennifer’s world since birth. She shimmied out of the womb with a bad case of Boogie Fever, but soon fell in love with the lyrics, how the words fit together perfectly like a jigsaw puzzle. Jennifer has dreamt of writing romances since reading Wuthering Heights at the tender age of twelve, and now lives that dream, using music on a daily basis to uplift and inspire her writing. It’s no coincidence that Ian, the hero in Mercy of the Moon, uses music to win heroine Maggie’s heart.
She lives in rural Florida with her husband and Great Dane puppy, and enjoys frequent visits from her three grandchildren and three grown children. She feverishly lobbies for the return of breeches and would really love to see her husband of thirty-five years in a pair. Jennifer can be found online at: JenniferTaylorWrites.com