I love and admire singer songwriters, and even tried to be one in my youth. But I soon discovered that I lacked the talent required to tell a story or express an emotion in 300 words or less (in rhyme). So for my 80,000 word stories, I turn to singer songwriters whenever I need to dig down deep into a story’s emotional core.
Creating a playlist is usually the first thing I do, even before I plot a book. I literally find the story I want to tell by listening to a group of songs that have deep meaning to me.
A Christmas Bride, is a holiday story, but there are no Christmas songs on my playlist. I don’t need carols to get in a Christmassy mood, but I do need a bunch of songs to help me focus on my characters, and on the love story that unfolds between them.
David, the hero of A Christmas Bride is widower who is channeling Ebenezer Scrooge. He’s still grieving the death of his wife and wants nothing to do with new love or the holiday season. So, it’s not surprising to find a number of songs on my playlist about love lost and found, including: Ghost by the Indigo Girls, Saving Grace by Sixwire, The Nightingale by Tricia Yearwood, and Learning to Live Again by Garth Brooks.
Willow, the heroine of A Christmas Bride, is a corporate whistleblower whose life and career has completely unraveled because she chose to do the right and moral thing. I Will Not Be Broken by Bonnie Riatt is her anthem. And Archeology by Chris Rosser, a song about coming home and discovering that things have changed, is at the heart of Willow’s emotional journey. She returns to the small town she vowed to leave years ago, and discovers home.
My extended play list has several songs about fishing because my hero and heroine both love to fish. For this blog I selected just one, Throw the Line In by David Potts, a wonderful song that uses fishing as a metaphor for dealing with painful memories.
Every play list needs a few ferocious love songs to inspire those moments when the hero and heroine finally figure it out. I have two on this play list. Hard Part by David Wilcox is a song about loving someone with eyes wide open. Love You Right Out Loud by Rascal Flatts celebrates that moment when a person falls in love and just wants to tell the world about it. My Scroogey hero has a moment like this, and it gets him into a tiny bit of hot water, but you’ll have to read the book to find out why.
Last, but not least, is the wedding song Something that We Do by Clint Black which played in the background when I wrote the scene where David gives a wedding toast and talks about his late wife. I wept as I wrote that scene. It’s probably the emotional high point of the book.
I hope you enjoy listening to these songs, and maybe even discover a singer songwriter whose work you haven’t heard before.
Hope Ramsay is an award-winning, bestselling author and two-time Golden Heart finalist. Her series of heartwarming romances, published by Grand Central Publishing, have won critical acclaim. Hope is also a member of the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood and regularly blogs about storytelling and plotting. She is married to a good ol’ Georgia boy and has two grown children and a couple of demanding lap cats. She lives in Virginia where, when she’s not writing, she’s knitting or playing on her forty-year-old Martin guitar.