In my book, after the copyright and before the dedication, you’ll notice that there’s a list of songs. A soundtrack.
In general, I love the idea of soundtracks. Movies rarely do soundtracks the way they used to. The soundtracks of yore were much better, worked into movies to completely fit the corresponding scene. They were designed to remind you of the movie, and vice versa.
I’ve always thought that books needed soundtracks, too.
The entire time I wrote Worst-Kept Secret, music was on my mind. Actually, wrote is a misnomer. Although I know many who do it, I rarely listen to music when I am writing. I mean actually writing—when my fingers are literally on the keyboard. But writers know that the act of writing is perpetual—we do it while driving, in the shower, working out, lying in bed waiting for sleep. We’re constantly putting words together. (Personally, for me the most fertile ground for coming up with plot points or the right turn of phrase for an essay seems to be when lying on a massage table. Go figure.) We write in our head, refining and editing and mentally crossing out, so that when it comes time to meet the page, we have an idea where we’re going.
Writers learn to accept inspiration wherever we can find it.
For me, a large part of inspiration is musical. For a long time, music was my life. It started freshman year in college—my taste until that point was laughable—and both deepened and widened until I had kids. Music is the whole reason I got married, the end point of so many converging paths.
When considering the intersection of Charlie and Wade’s lives in Worst-Kept Secret, music was always at the forefront. I listened to everything I owned. I solicited playlists from friends and beta readers. I dug into genres I hadn’t explored yet. Wade lives music, like I did. So does his dad. In fact, I think Wade lives music because of his dad. (Damon Hunter is, I think, one of my favorite characters in the book.)
That’s why I included a soundtrack. With a couple of exceptions (can you find them? 🙂 ), every song on the soundtrack was specifically mentioned in the text, and every song mentioned in the text was specifically included in the soundtrack. They aren’t literal interpretations of scenes. Overall, though, they create the mood and feeling of the book.
Life without a soundtrack … it’s missing something.