Let’s Talk with Karla Brandenburg

Soundtracks
by Karla Brandenburg

Music is an integral part of who I am. I grew up with it and we have a running joke about “that music affliction,” which means at any point in time, any member of my family might just break into song as it applies to the topic under discussion. Most of us can be transported into a specific time and place when we here a song. A first kiss. A first dance. The birth of a child. Our brains cross wires and that song is forever associated with that moment in time.

How many people have ring tones specifically assigned to the people in their lives? (Raising my hand). I was in the office a month ago and walked away from my desk to talk to one of my bosses. When I came back, someone who sits near me looked up and said “Your sister called.” Now how the heck could he have known that? And then I looked at my cell phone sitting on my desk. My ring tone for all of my sisters is “Sisters” (from White Christmas). Red-faced, I apologized for not silencing my phone. Fortunately, the people I work with know me well enough and understand (and sometimes even like!) my quirks. He laughed and said it gave him a smile for the day.

Cookie TherapyI went to a writer’s conference recently where one of the sessions focused on creating a playlist for each of your characters, something that would immediately put you into your character’s head. The end result is that it creates a sort of meditation, you and your characters, and when you’ve moved onto the next book, but revisions come back, you can easily slip back into the mindset by switching playlists.

For me, it’s more of a soundtrack. I don’t identify my characters with songs, but somewhere during the course of writing a book, a song gives me the tone of the story. For Mist on the Meadow, it was Supertramp’s Even in the Quietest Moments. For Cookie Therapy, it was Andy Grammer’s Good to Be Alive.

And since “It’s good to be alive/right about now,” I’ll randomly draw the name of one commenter this week to receive an ebook version of Cookie Therapy.

Comments

  1. I need quiet when I write so no music in the background for me. My husband is the musician in the family. He plays the guitar and listens to classical music – but only when I’ve finished my work quota for the day.I prefer the rule of silence.

  2. fun title

  3. I used a playlist for writing. Some had lyrics, some didn’t, but after listening to it as often as I did, the words ‘disappeared.’ Also, it was one hour long, so I knew I’d been working an hour when it ended.

  4. Colleen C. says

    My sister has some interesting ringtones for our family and her friends. 🙂 I love music… it soothes, improves my mood, gets me moving, etc.

  5. maggietoussaint says

    I love music too, and I wish I was disciplined enough to make a soundtrack for each character, or even the main characters. Trouble is that songs (most of them) come with lyrics, and once I hear the music, I have to sing the words. Yes, I’m a Music Addict. I hear one song, then I have to hear another. Yikes. I have a problem. The only way I can write is with no music. But I can edit to music that has no lyrics. I’ve discovered some popular music done with cellos etc that fills this niche for me. Maggie, a recovering musicaholic

    • Agreed, I sometimes play classical music to distract me from distractions (if that makes sense) so I can concentrate on writing. If I hear a song while I’m writing with lyrics, yes, I want to sing along too!

  6. Soundtracks are a crucial part of my book writing prep — since I write a series, I have a soundtrack for that whole shebang from Atlanta to Savannah, past and present, plus separate playlists for each of my protagonists. If I need to get into Tai’s head, nothing does it like some Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires.

  7. I have my own personal DJ who cues up songs from my past based on sometimes obscure (even to me) connections between my current thoughts and my past.

    In Doubtful Relations (pub date 8/23/16), I used ringtones as a fun way to help characterize the protagonist’s son.