by Ursula Renée
have music playing in the background when I work. However, I do not have one
song or playlist that puts me in the mood to write. What I listen depends on my
characters and settings.
character I create is different from the next. Their experiences vary as do
their tastes in literature, film, music, etc. As part of my writing process, my
characters tell me their favorite genre. I then research the type of music they
enjoy and create a playlist that caters to their tastes.
are a few cases in which both my characters listen to the same genre (i.e.
goth, funk, psychedelic, etc.). Most times, however, the characters listen to
different types of music (i.e. the heroine prefers easy listening and the hero
likes country). In situations like that, I try to find artists like Bob Dylan
or Neil Diamond, who cross genres or songs that both characters could tolerate,
like Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird.”
cases where the musical tastes are too different (i.e. one character enjoys
R&B and the other listens to Heavy Metal), I create a playlist with songs
that suit the scenes. I may use a faster song like Kasabian’s “Underdog” for an
action scene and softer music like Anita Baker’s “Sweet Love” for romance.
a playlist can get trickier when I write historical romances. In these cases,
the songs have to reflect the characters’ personality and the time period in
which the novel is set. Though, I love the song “At Last,” my heroine could not
hum the tune in Sweet Jazz. The song
was written in 1941, three years after my novel takes place. Therefore, she
hummed “Dream a Little Dream,” which was written around 1931.
may seem like a lot of work. In some cases, it can take days to compile enough selections
to create a one hour playlist. However, once completed, I listen to the songs
whenever I work on the novel. And, once the novel is published; I hope the
music will help the readers get a better understanding of the characters and
Renée is the President of RWA/NYC. Her historical romance, SWEET JAZZ, will be
published by The Wild Rose Press. When she is not writing, she enjoys
photography, drawing and stone carving. Visit her at www.ursularenee.com.