I was never music-obsessed as a teenager. Sure, I liked Meatloaf and Journey and Foreigner and Tom Petty and Neil Young and…
Hmm, so maybe I did have a little bit of an obsession with music.
As a teenager, my mom, bless her, fed me a steady diet of Broadway shows. Every character in a Broadway musical had a soundtrack for their life. I knew every word to South Pacific, A Chorus Line, The Music Man, Grease, and so many more shows that I began to believe life should come with a musical score.
My taste always gravitated toward rock (and Sondheim, but that’s kind of a given for a kid who spent days watching West Side Story) but it wasn’t until I had children that I realized how entwined music had become in my life.
My husband has always been a Springsteen fanatic but the boys gravitated toward metal and hard rock. My youngest had a thing for Pantera and Slipknot, while my oldest loved Alkaline Trio and Korn. But when they discovered Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet For My Valentine and My Chemical Romance, we found common ground.
My Chem headlined our first rock concert, along with Alkaline Trio and Reggie and the Full Effect. My kids were nine and eleven and my youngest had to stand on the chair all night because he couldn’t see the stage. Walking to the car, they wanted to know who we were going to see next.
That turned out to be Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet For My Valentine and we haven’t stopped since. Last Friday, my oldest and I made our annual pilgrimage to the Warped Tour, where I always find a few new bands (this year, it’s Vampires Everywhere and Streetlight Manifesto) and this Friday, my youngest and I will head to the Mayhem Fest where we’ll see Slipknot for the second time along with Slayer, Motorhead, As I Lay Dying, The Devil Wears Prada and others.
I was never a huge Slipknot fan until I saw them live a few years ago. And I became a true believer. It happens like that sometimes.
So what does any of this have to do with writing? Since I don’t write with music, it might seem like nothing. But that wouldn’t be true. Music is a huge part of plotting for me. Certain songs will spark ideas or scenes or sometimes they speak to a character’s frame of mind at certain point in the book.
I listen to music when I’m running or driving or doing the dishes (I can’t live without my Sirius Radio) and do most of my plotting at the same time. Sometimes, when I’m working on a certain scene, I will play on repeat the song that spark it. The scene then takes on the rhythm of the song.
GODDESS IN THE MIDDLE was plotted while listening to Avenged Sevenfold’s “Nightmare” and Bullet For My Valentine’s “Fever” albums and the book’s darkness definitely got an assist from the heaviness in those albums.
And the hot rock gods certainly don’t hurt. :-)
About the Author: Stephanie Julian is the author of the Forgotten Goddesses, Magical Seduction, Lucani Lovers, The Fringe and Darkly Enchanted series. A former reporter for a daily newspaper, she enjoys making up stories much more than writing about real life. She’s happily married to a Springsteen fanatic and is the mother of two sons who love her even when they don’t have any clean clothes and dinner is a bowl of cereal.
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