Last month Terra Elan McVoy emailed me wanting to do a giveaway of her latest two books -- Being Friends With Boys (my review here) and The Summer of Firsts and Lasts (my review here), both signed (and personalized) by her. And of course I said yes. Because her newest book, Being Friends With Boys, has a large musical theme I asked Terra some musical questions about her books and she had some great, in-depth answers. Scroll down to read the music-infused interview, or just stop here and enter the giveaway.
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A big part of Being Friends With Boys is the band that Charlotte's friends are in -- how important is music for you when you're writing? Do you listen to certain music when you write, make playlists for the current WIP (work-in-progress), or does it matter?
Music definitely matters to me when I'm writing, but it can't be too intrusive. I tend to listen to the same bands over and over while I'm writing a particular book. For After the Kiss, I listened to a ton of Neko Case. During Being Friends With Boys I listened almost exclusively to the National. For The Summer of Firsts and Lasts I took out a bunch of old tapes my sisters had made for me, and listened to those. Writing Criminal [Terra's upcoming book], I listened to Depeche Mode constantly.
Once the book is finished, I also have fun making playlists for them, whether they are songs that describe the characters' feelings. (See my Summer of Firsts and Lasts playlist in my blog archive.) I've also made a playlist from Trip to Charlotte for Being Friends with Boys, but I haven't released it yet because it might spoil things for folks. Maybe when the paperback comes out...
If you had to choose a sort of "theme song" for your books, what songs would you choose for Being Friends With Boys and The Summer of Firsts and Lasts?
Choosing just one theme song is pretty tough, because there's often so much going on in the books. But I think "Summer Girls" by LFO really captures the feeling of The Summer of Firsts and Lasts, and "Brainy" by The National for Being Friends With Boys, because the lyrics there apply in more than one instance, and that's one of the first songs by them that I heard, and I was in love straight off.
The band in Being Friends With Boys is called Sad Jackal -- what real-life band would you compare their music to?
Gosh what a great question that nobody's asked me yet. And, not to make this a giant advertisement for The National, but I was listening to them so much while I was writing because I like that their lyrics are very dreamy and nonsensical in some ways, and they don't follow strict rhyme like a lot of other songs do. This would be something Charlotte would really dig and try to emulate, and I think she'd listen to them a lot. But Oliver's voice is nowhere near as deep as Matt Berninger's, broody as Oliver might be, so saying they sound like The National isn't quite right. When I think of Oliver singing, the word "crooning" really comes to mind, so I think he probably sounds more like someone classic -- maybe Chet Baker. Overall though there's more in synth in Sad Jackal than in The National too, so I think they're ultimately closer to Death Cab for Cutie once Fabian and Eli come on board. So, yeah, a combo of The National, Chet Baker, and Death Cab, and you've got Sad Jackal.