Today I have Charles Benoit, author of Fall From Grace, here to tell us about how music relates to books:)
Take it away Charles!
"Before I can start a new book, I have to find the right theme song, the one song that sums up what I’m trying to capture in the book—the mood, the feel, the non-musical tone that’s defined by the music’s tone. I’ve done this for all of my books—from my first adult mystery to the Young Adult thriller I’m writing now—and I can’t write word one until I find that song. Once I find it, I play the hell out of it. At least ten times a day, every day, until the final draft is sent off to the publisher. It’s a strange, time-wasting, wife-annoying approach, but it’s the only way I know.
One of the hardest parts about writing my first teen novel (YOU) was finding the right theme song. Things have changed music-wise for me since I was a teen. Back then, I was into punk rock and electronic dance music, but most of all, I listened to ska, a Jamaican style of music that eventually morphed into reggae. Times have changed, and I’ve grown up a lot since then. Today I’m into punk rock and electronic dance music, but most of all I listen to ska. After weeks of considering songs, I decided that the Harvey Danger version of Flagpole Sitta.
The video wasn’t quite right, but the lyrics were perfect and so was the performance. I played this song constantly. I even got the band I’m in to cover it. But the lyrics don’t show up anywhere in the book. It’s just the theme song, the one that reminded me—over and over—what I wanted to write.
I knew the theme song I’d use for Fall From Grace while I was still writing YOU. It’s the Tim Armstrong/Skye Sweetnam team up, (Let’s Get Moving) Into Action. This song was perfect—even the video felt right for what I wanted to capture in the book. As usual, I played the song so much my neighbor’s cat can sing along. And, I’m proud to say, my new ska band is rehearsing it now for our upcoming first-ever show. I liked this version so much I included Tim and Skye in the thank-yous and I even worked mentions of them into the book itself. (Hint: Look for Tim’s other band, Rancid, and you can spot Skye at a Starbucks] Do me a favor, if you read Fall From Grace, listen to the song and let me know if you think the theme song worked.
So now I’m ¾ the way through a new book. It’s a dark thriller about bullies and blackmail and extortion and religion and sex and guilt. No title yet, but the theme song is Something Scary by Zsa Zsa la Boum.
I think it’s perfect." - Charles Benoit
Thanks so much for stopping by Charles! I love listening to the music behind the book. What do you all think of the music?