I’m not the only writer who creates soundtracks for every project. Far from it. I learned the trick early from my brilliant and fabulously stylish crit partner, Barbara Caridad Ferrer, but I know several authors who make separate playlists for every new book or story and use the music and lyrics to inspire specific scenes or even pages of dialogue.
But sometimes I think I might be more obsessive about it than most. I have a tendency to spend far too many hours sorting and re-sorting my playlists, getting the songs in the just the right order so that when I listen to them — whether I’m driving, washing dishes or drifting off to sleep — I can see my current project unfolding chronologically. I’m a plotter, so if I discover I need to move or delete a scene, I find myself tinkering with the playlist yet again. And if my ear grows tired of a piece of music or it isn’t inspiring my muse anymore, I won’t simply delete it, but instead hunt high and low for something to replace it.
On one hand, the whole thing has become yet another complex, glorious and highly enjoyable form of procrastination, and I should cut it out already, because it’s messing with my productivity.
On the other hand, some of my favorite plot twists, character quirks and bits of dialogue have emerged from this endless search for just the right song. Plus, it’s part of my “process,” and I’m pretty sure my muse will stage a revolt if I try to skip that step.
ANYWAY. Here’s my soundtrack for my recent Red Sage release, HARD HARVEST, part of the “Three Kinds of Wicked” multi-author ménage series. You’ll note that most of the songs on this list are from the country genre. That’s mainly because HARD HARVEST — although a futuristic — is set on farm in what used to be Nebraska, and “down home,” down-to-earth and simple, deeply emotional songs seemed to fit the story’s mood best.
Hannah by Ray LaMontagne
Troubled Land by John Mellencamp
Hard to Love You by The Wreckers
Very Last Country Song by Sugarland
What I’d Give by Sugarland
Helpless by Neil Young
Ready For Love by Bad Company
Angel from Montgomery by Bonnie Raitt
Bring On The Rain by Jo Dee Messina
Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone) by Tanya Tucker
That Lonesome Road by James Taylor
Each of these songs correlates to either a specific scene in HARD HARVEST or to one of its three main characters, Hannah, David and Trey. The novella — and, in a very real sense, the premise of the entire multi-author series — is about redemption and the hard work it takes to earn a happy ending. It’s my belief that while love may come easy, it doesn’t hang around unless you make the effort to keep it. Hannah and David’s story is about standing up to trouble and learning to compromise in the name of holding on to love.
HARD HARVEST by Selah March
Futuristic, Ménage à trois, Parnormal & Occult