Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Do you remember where you were when you first heard “A Spoonful of Sugar” or “The Cha Cha Slide?” I bet both bring back a very distinctive memory. Do they remind you of a certain time in your life? Who you were with when you heard them? What you were doing at the time? A Spoonful of Sugar brings back two special memories for me. The first time I heard it was as a kid, watching Mary Poppins on my neighbor’s brand new VCR. The second time, I was watching the musical on Broadway with my young daughters. Both instances remind me of very different periods in my life—one of my childhood and the other of when my girls were younger. Music has the ability to trigger our memories, to transport us back in time, and to revive emotions with a simple melody or chorus. For example, every time I hear the theme music for Indiana Jones, I feel adventurous. 

How does this relate to writing? Many writers listen to music while writing. It helps get them in the mood and helps bring emotions to the surface. It’s a fantastic, creative tool for writers. Unfortunately, I can’t write with music playing or I end up typing lyrics rather than dialogue. However, I still love combining the power of story and the beauty of music. 

As I write, my stories play out like a movie in my head and songs spring to mind. While I don’t automatically match a specific song to a specific scene, I always know the tone and feel I’m going for. After the scene is written, I’ll go and search for a song that fits. Lyrics are most important to me when choosing a song, but melody is up there. Melody helps create mood and indicates the level intensity within a scene. 

With my latest release, Shattered, I went ahead and compiled a playlist of songs. As I listen to the soundtrack, I can feel the emotions Piper and Landon are experiencing at different points throughout the story. The really cool thing is that I’ve had readers email and ask if a particular song went with a particular scene because they felt it was the right fit. I love that!

As writers, we are always looking for ways to bring added depth and emotions to our stories. I believe music is one way to do this. Not only will it cement scenes in your mind, but hopefully will also be a fun extra for readers to resonate with. 

To see an example, you can visit the Fun page on my website and listen to Shattered’s soundtrack. www.danipettrey.com/fun/ 

Writing inspirational romantic suspense, most of the songs I choose reflect faith, romance and adventure. I hope you’ll enjoy the soundtrack and the story. Here’s a little glimpse at Shattered: 

Piper McKenna couldn't be more thrilled that her prodigal brother, Reef, has returned to Yancey, Alaska, after five years. But her happiness is short-lived when Reef appears at her house covered in blood. A fellow snowboarder has been killed--but despite the evidence, Reef swears he's innocent. And Piper believes him.

Deputy Landon Grainger loves the McKennas like family, but he's also sworn to find the truth. Piper is frustrated with his need for facts over faith, but he knows those closest to you have the power to deceive you the most. With his sheriff pushing for a quick conviction, some unexpected leads complicate the investigation, and pursuing the truth may mean risking Landon's career.

With Piper waging her own search, the two head deep into Canada's rugged backcountry--and unexpected complications. Not only does their long friendship seem to be turning into something more, but this dangerous case is becoming deadlier with each step.

Come on back Friday when Dani will be giving away a copy of her latest release, Shattered.

Dani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of one’s fath and plenty of romance. She’s a huge fan of dark chocolate, is always in search of the best iced mocha and her dream is to one day own a little cottage on a remote stretch of beach. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters.


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