P is for …

I’ve taken on the challenge of an A-Z during April – one post each day on a chosen theme. My theme? Books and writing, of course…

P is for Pop Music and Playlists

I’m a pop music tragic and manage to bring it into almost every book that I write. Indeed every book has a title inspired by lyrics of a pop song.

Em, my heroine in Baby, It’s You, has a playlist for every one of life’s moments. When she breaks up with her boyfriend she goes straight to the break-up playlist and the break-up meal.

In fact, that book was written with not just a soundtrack in mind – and yes, I have a soundtrack or playlist for every book – but there was, in the background,  a song allocated to each chapter. In one of the earlier drafts, I used these songs as the chapter titles.

As for using songs and lyrics in the book itself? No, I don’t go there.

I was going to – in Baby, It’s You – but after seeking permission to do so, the cost to use just a couple of lines from Augie March’s “One Crowded Hour” was prohibitive. Instead, I worked the lines into the dialogue. I’ve done the same in I Want You Back, working lines from “Xanadu” and “Blinded By The Light” into what my characters are saying.

Given that I’m not (yet) selling shedloads of books could I have got away with it? Possibly, but I wasn’t prepared to take that risk.

I wrote a post about the process I went through in order to obtain permission. You’ll find it here.

P is for Podcasts

I listen while I’m at my desk in the day job and I listen when I’m walking. Weirdly, I can’t listen while I’m writing – the sound of someone else’s voice and story gets in the way of the one that I’m telling. I say it’s weird because I write best when I’m in a coffee shop or at the Surf Club and am surrounded by white noise – yet can’t do day job work in those conditions.

Anyways, podcasts.

My favourites?

For indie business, I listen to Joanna Penn’s “The Creative Penn” and Mark Dawson’s “Self Publishing Formula.” From time to time I’ll add others into the mix, but these are the perennials.

For story ideas and human interest, I listen to:

  • Richard Fidler’s “Conversations” on ABC
  • BBC Radio 4’s “Saturday Live”
  • BBC Radio 4’s “Desert Island Discs”
  • BBC Radio 4’s “Books and Authors”
  • Gary Mehigan’s “A Plate To Call Home”

I also download specific episodes from:

  • Ideas At The House – talks at the Sydney Opera House
  • The Wheeler Centre
  • Sydney Writer’s Festival
  • Sparta Chicks Radio. This one is for athletes, trail runners etc, but has some great content for mindset stuff.

and enjoy

  • Chat 10 Looks 3 with Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb
  • Flights of Fancy with my fave travel writer Ben Groundwater and
  • The Pineapple Project with Claire Hooper

I’m on the lookout for new podcasts with writers, so if you have suggestions…

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