By: Marie Force
I love music. I love the power of music. I love the way a certain song can set just the right mood whether it's in real life, a movie, or a book. Music plays a role in every book I've ever written. In "Line of Scrimmage," Ryan played the guitar and used music to woo his wife, to remind her of what they'd once had and to show her what they could have again. In "Love at First Flight," Michael plays the song "When You Say Nothing At All" to show Juliana what he's feeling at a critical point in the book. In another of my as-yet unpublished books, the hero lip-sings to "The Way You Look Tonight" after he first makes love to the heroine, letting her know in his own way that he'll never forget her or that moment. "Tupelo Honey" by Van Morrison inspired an entire book, which took shape from start to finish in my mind over the course of a single playing of the song.
Because of copyright laws, we can't include actual lyrics in our books without going through a complex (and expensive) permission process. So when using a tune to set the mood, it's critical we use an iconic song that just about everyone is familiar with or one like "When You Say Nothing At All" that conveys the message of the song in the title. That song summed up Michael and Juliana's relationship because with them it's the small things that add up to an amazing, deeply felt love.
One of the early reviewers for "Love at First Flight," tuned into this dynamic between them when she said, "What I really liked about these two characters is the way they take care of each other. There is an art to that, to doing small things for each other without thinking, with pleasure even, because you know the other will appreciate it. Julianna is a nurturing person, with everyone around her, and that's just what Michael needs. For his part, Michael offers Julianna a helping hand when she needs it, and some space to be an adult, even when he would prefer to get closer." (AlphaHeroes)
Other songs I've used in my books include "We've Got Tonight" by Bob Seger, "Big Girls Don't Cry," by Fergie, "Unchained Melody," by the Righteous Brothers, "Now and Forever," by Carole King, and "Georgia on My Mind," by Ray Charles, to name a few.
I also love the transportive power of music. Any time I hear Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" I'm on the Pacific Coast Highway at sunset with two old friends and an ex-boyfriend I haven't seen in twenty-five years. The first notes take me right back to that unforgettable moment, riding in a convertible with the wind in our hair and the world at our feet. Crosby, Stills & Nash's "Southern Cross" sends me to the summer of 1984 and a new love that I was certain would last forever. Frank Sinatra's "Summer Wind" puts me in the arms of my late mother at Ballard's big dance floor on Block Island. Don Ho's "Tiny Bubbles" conjures up endless summer days on the boat with my family. Roxette's "It Must've Been Love" from Pretty Woman is all about the boy who got away. Van Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately" is all about the boy I married and dancing with him for the first time as my husband. Hootie and the Blowfish's "Let Her Cry" takes me to my first days as a mom when all my baby daughter did was cry. Avril Levine's "Complicated" calls up images of my then four-year-old son singing at the top of his lungs to a song he shouldn't have known every word to. These songs and many others make up the soundtrack of my lifetime.
My favorite song of all time? "100 Years to Live" by Five for Fighting because it reminds me that we've only got so much time and every minute counts. It's the ring tone on my cell phone, and it's the song I listen to whenever I lose my way and forget about what's really important.
What songs have you used in your books? What songs take you back to special times in your life? What's your all-time favorite song and why?