Ever since I was a child dreaming up stories, music has always triggered ideas for me. I tend to have a few songs that get me in the zone for each book, as well as music that’s woven into the story. It’s fun to listen back over my music and note my fluctuating favourites and how the songs from each book run together.
There is one song I was listening to as part of my writing for My Christmas Number One, by a Colombian singer called Fonseca (whose songs are gorgeous) and it accidentally became Lou’s song in Italy Ever After. It’s not because of the content, because the song is in Spanish and not really related to Italy Ever After at all, but because of the mood of the music. It helped me to picture Lou at the top of a mountain, noticing the gradual changes in her outlook. That song is called Vine a Buscarte and it’s just beautiful. Have a listen.
Music plays a key role in Italy Ever After as well, and there is a playlist of all the songs that feature in the story, including the works for string orchestra that the kids rehearse with Mr Romano, to the songs they sing the night they do karaoke. One of the choir pieces I imagined the kids learning, then segued neatly into my next book, which I’m currently editing.
That song was Va’ pensiero, or the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves from the opera Nabucco. Now, the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves is usually played in the New Year’s Concert at La Fenice theatre in Venice and, of course, Venice has a long opera tradition. It just so happens that my next book takes place over a winter in Venice, including New Year’s (although they don’t go to the concert). And I do have a minor character who is an opera singer (and I’m still wondering if I’ll get to write her story!)
The music in book three doesn’t come through quite as strongly as in My Christmas Number One and Italy Ever After, but there was enough in it to create the seque into book four, which I’ll start drafting soon (I’m absolutely itching to get going because the characters in book four are so much fun!) This segue also happened before the sad announcement this week of Daft Punk’s retirement. Daft Punk gets two mentions in book three (along with the opera!), and Daft Punk is what’s going to carry over into book four, which is the following summer in Venice.
I’ll have to wait and see what song forms the bridge between books four and five! I have no idea what book five is going to be! Eek… Here’s the Italy Ever After playlist, for your listening enjoyment. Palladio by Karl Jenkins is a fantastic piece and I picture Nick conducting it every time I hear it! Bruch’s No.1 also makes me think of him playing it when he was a teenager.