The Grip is thrilled to welcome the lovely Lisabet Sarai!
I couldn’t live without music. But I can’t write with it. The reason, I think, is that I tend to focus on lyrics above melody. (This might have something to do with my past incarnation as a poet. I wrote tons of poetry when I was young, single, and overflowing with angst and lust.) The words of a song will interfere with the words in my head that I’m trying to squeeze out onto the page.
(My husband, in contrast, focuses entirely on the music. He barely hears the lyrics. Needless to say, our opinions of a particular piece of music are frequently quite different!)
I suppose that I could try purely instrumental music – I wouldn’t be surprised to find that Mozart made an effective background for writing – but I certainly don’t need external music when I’m working on a writing project. My attention is elsewhere – on the characters and their trials and tribulations. I need to listen to their conversations, not to mention their screams and groans of ecstasy.
I do use music quite a lot in my stories, however, usually songs that are among my favorites. In Raw Silk, Kate dances in a Thai go go bar to the Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb”. Appropriate for a BDSM novel, right? Actually, I remember dancing in Patpong, the Bangkok red light district, to that very song, twisting and shaking and getting turned on by the fact that people were watching me. I could hear it quite clearly as I wrote that scene.
In Exposure, my erotic thriller coming next month from Phaze, the main character Stella works as a stripper. She exercises to vintage Supremes: “Stop in the Name of Love”. She performs to Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”. “Strange what desire will make foolish people do...” Actually, that could be a tag line for the novel.
Recently I submitted a short story about a trio of classical musicians to one of my publishers. I had to do quite a bit of research for that tale. I know classical music, a bit, but I’m no expert. I knew I wanted to include one Bach piece that I adore (a solo cello piece) but I had no idea what it was called. The characters play Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, and Boradin. I figured that if I got anything wrong in this story, I’d have some readers yelling for my blood.
Brynn’s strategy of creating a soundtrack for each of her books is a totally new notion for me. I’m not completely clear on whether she imagines the soundtrack as a background for her plot as it unfolds, or simply a set of cues for her own imagination.
I can certainly understand how a song can trigger story ideas; I’ve had that happen. My stories aren’t like movies though, at least not the way I experience them when I’m writing. My books don’t have soundtracks – I doubt I could create one, even retrospectively.
Some of my favorite recordings are soundtracks though. I blush to admit that I’ve always loved musicals. South Pacific. Sweet Charity. Hair. Recently I’ve been listening again to movie soundtrack from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which had a huge influence on me when I was younger and wilder:
“Give yourself over to absolute pleasure.
Swim the warm waters of sins of the flesh.
Erotic nightmares beyond any measure,
And sensual daydreams to treasure forever
Don’t dream it, be it.”
This could be a theme song for erotic romance, don’t you think?