When I write, every story ends up with a theme song, sometimes several. They help me set the story in my mind, and they definitely make it easier for me to switch mental gears from one story to another, especially when one is “red hot contemporary romance” and the other is “dark fantasy.” Some characters even end up with their own theme songs, or a particular song will help me write through the dark moment or climax of a story.
For Dear Sir, I’m Yours I had several theme songs on my playlist.
The first and main song is Austin by Blake Shelton. If you’re not familiar with the song, it’s about a woman who left about a year ago (without leaving her number), but decides to call her old boyfriend. She listens to this incredibly long voice message, and at the very end, he says “P.S. if this is Austin, I still love you.” She gives it a few days and calls him again, just to see if it was an old message he forgot about — because surely he couldn’t still love her, couldn’t still be waiting for her after all this time. She’d left him, with no number, certainly no promises that she’d ever come back. Sure enough, this is a new message, and at the very end, he says the same thing. I still love you.
That really really got to me. If Rae had ever picked up the phone and called Conn, whether a month or a year or several years later, he would have jumped in that Mustang and driven cross country to reach her. He still loved her that much. In Rae’s case, she’s been writing him constantly, all these years, even while married to another man. She loves him, but she can’t pick up the phone. Surely she couldn’t have loved him that much, just after one semester of poetry. Surely she hadn’t needed him that much. It had to be all in her head. But why can’t she stop writing him? Why does she still remember his office phone number; why does she still dream about calling him? (Hint: read the book to find out ha!)
Hello Darlin’ by Conway Twitty started on my playlist but then I quit needing to listen to it once Conn found his voice.
Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy by Big & Rich always gets my blood pumping to write a Connagher. (Dies, I almost typed “ride” a Connagher. Talk about a Freudian slip.)
Hell Yeah by Montgomery Gentry, another fun blood pumping country song. Yeah, I’m showing my country “hick” roots, aren’t I? Actually, this is the only book I’ve written to country music. It just fits the down-home atmosphere of Beulah Land and Conn’s Texan upbringing.
Finally, this might seem like an odd song choice, but Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood ended up on my playlist late in the game. I couldn’t figure out why. Conn certainly would never cheat on Rae or vice versa now that they were trying to “make things right”, but my gut insisted this song needed to be there. By the end (next to last chapter, I believe) you’ll see why my Muse insisted this song had to be on this playlist. Laughs. I was totally surprised by that one.
Now you’ve probably got song lyrics stuck in your head! Next up, I’ll talk about colors in Dear Sir.