Some authors put together playlists for each book, carefully adding songs that set the right mood for the story and they listen to nothing else while they write it. I was never that particular, until I started writing my 2016 NaNoWriMo novel. Unlike most of my books, I had a vague idea of characters and plot before I started. I had the names of the three main characters: Flynn Chancellor, Pia Donovan and Yancy Frederick. I knew they would be living in an old, run down building awaiting repairs. I knew that Flynn would be an artist, Pia a musician and Yancy a business major—all three in college working on advanced degrees. That’s far more than I usually approach a novel with.
Another difference, I had a few songs I had to start each writing session with. The rest that followed didn’t matter that much, but I had to have Harlem Nocturne – Duke Ellington, Bang Bang – Kaleo’s cover of the classic Cher song, Seen It All Before and Arms of a Woman – Amos Lee and Can’t Go on Without You – also by Kaleo. Those five songs, that order—no deviation, or the words wouldn’t flow. Not something I’d ever experienced before as an author. I have to admit, I think this playlist produced one of my best books ever!
Below is an excerpt for you from So Much It Hurts, my 2016 NaNoWriMo novel.
Exactly thirty minutes later, she was dressed and heading to the door, when someone knocked. It was Flynn and he had a friend with him.
“Pia Donovan, my completely undeserving roommate is tagging along. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Not at all. Pleased to meet you—” She waited for one of them to supply a name.
“Yancy Fredrick. I hear you’re a musician.” He held out his hand, grinning.
“Yes. What do you study?” She closed and locked her door.
“He’s a sellout,” Flynn remarked as he opened the elevator door. “Business major.”
“Someone has to write the checks,” Pia said.
Yancy flashed her another grin. He wasn’t as tall as Flynn, but more solidly build—all muscle, if she didn’t miss her bet. Where Flynn looked like a swimmer, Yancy was built more like a rugby player. His russet hair was full and curly, though he tried to tame it with hair gel. His eyes were vivid blue and he was, for lack of a better word, gorgeous.
Flynn was no slouch, but he didn’t have the style of his roommate. Dressed in chinos and a Polo shirt, Yancy carried off the prep look with flair. Flynn was dressed in another pair of faded, baggy pants, this time brown, an oatmeal colored shirt clung to his lean, but muscular frame, and had on another pair of suspenders. These were dark red and blue stripes. The Fedora had been replaced with a coordinating red and brown roadster cap.
“We decided Thai?” Yancy asked as they rode downstairs.
“If that appeals,” Flynn replied. “There’s also Italian, Mexican, or a Mongolian grill.”
“That’s a fun place,” Yancy replied. “The guy has a big steel drum on his food truck and goes all over the city. He’s not there tonight, dude. That’s Thursday.”
“You are correct. Pia, what sounds good?”
“I’m actually in the mood for Thai,” she said with a grin. “I’m real picky about Mexican. I’m half.”
“Do you cook?” Yancy asked.
“I do. Why?” Her eyes narrowed with suspicion.
“Because we get tired of eating out. If we pitch in on ingredients and assist in the kitchen, will you cook?”
“I’d love to.”
“Sweet. You don’t mind cooking for a crowd, do you? Because when word gets out….”
“Not at all. Dad runs a restaurant back home. I’ve worked there since I was ten. I can make a vat of chili that will put hair on your chest.”
“As long as it doesn’t put hair on my ass,” Flynn said, shoving the elevator open. “I don’t like waxing.”
Pia snorted. Yancy leaned over, speaking in a stage whisper. “Flynn hasn’t reached puberty yet. His ass is hairless as a baby’s butt.”
Flynn reached around and rapped him on top of the head. “At least I don’t have back hair.”
“I don’t have back hair.”
“Seriously, you should see him at the full moon,” Flynn remarked as they walked out the front door. “Werewolves howl and try to hump his leg.”
Pia looped her arms through theirs, laughing loudly as they crossed the yard. “I’m going to love it here. You guys remind me of my brothers.”
© 2017 Dellani Oakes