Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Little Music, Please!

I am pleased to introduce Allyson Roy, husband and wife writing team, as my guests on Make Mine Mystery today. I'm pleased for several reasons: one, having them as guests got me out of my scheduled post today and I am, as per usual, behind in my writing due to the usual reasons (work, cats, life). Second, I absolutely adore the Saylor Oz books and am delighted to help promote them any way I can.

If you enjoy a large dollop of humor in your mysteries and haven't read APHRODISIAC (first in the Saylor Oz series), hie yourself hence to your local bookstore, pick it up and settle in for a rollicking read. Then when you're done with that, grab the second book BABYDOLL, which is even funnier than APHRODISIAC. Saylor, sex therapist and amateur sleuth, is one of the most original heroines I've ever encountered. I'm not gonna say anything else for fear of accidental spoilers, other than please welcome Allyson Roy!

First of all, a big thank you to Dana, Morgan and the authors of Make Mine Mystery for hosting us here today.

We thought it would be fun to talk about background music. Yes, in books. Don’t you ever imagine a soundtrack to go with the books you’re reading? Or writing?

We expect it in film. And over the years musical accompaniment has proven to be a major influence in increasing a film’s impact on its audience. Certain sounds can rev up the emotions. And a particular song can take us back to a time and place in our past. It’s powerful medicine.

Hearing a soundtrack in your head is a great tool for helping a writer create a mood or capture the feeling of a particular scene or setting. We like using music to help identify certain places in our books, conjuring up the atmosphere of a dark street in the rain or a windy beach or a cramped, musty cellar.

We also like to come up with songs for some of the characters in our books. It’s safe to say the most memorable personalities in both literature and film have an aura that makes them captivating, whether they’re heroes or heavies. If you stop and think about your favorite characters, you can almost hear certain music floating around them.

In BABYDOLL, our second book in the Saylor Oz series, we introduce Terry Carew. He’s an Irish pretty boy who’s good with the ladies and with a knife. While Terry’s done some nasty things, he’s a complicated young man. A sad, lost orphan with a tragic past. Terry is sick of being screwed over by the slippery dudes in fancy suits who hire him to do their “darty work.” Irish charm and handsome looks combine with a mentally unstable, vulnerable and dangerously unpredictable nature.

No, we didn’t choose one of the many disturbingly gorgeous Irish tunes for him. Terry is an illegal immigrant, immersed in the best and worst of the American dream. Our choice was an old rendition of Patsy Cline’s hit song “Sweet Dreams,” sung by Swamp Pop legend, Tommy McLain. His soulful tenor voice in the 1966 version is positively angelic. And there is an eerie, angry, yet helplessly resigned quality to this sorrowful lament.

How people handle broken dreams is the thematic thread that runs throughout BABYDOLL. So we decided to let Terry’s song follow him onto the pages, where he is obsessed with hearing it over and over. Tommy McLain’s 1966 cover of “Sweet Dreams” can be heard on YouTube and we think some of our readers might get off on listening to it as part of their soundtrack for BABYDOLL.

In the meantime, we’d love to hear which music matches up to your favorite characters.

Allyson Roy translates as Alice and Roy, husband and wife collaborating authors and winners of a 2009 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.

Their Saylor Oz mystery series combines gritty, urban suspense with wacky comedy and a dash of romance in a style they call Madcap Noir. Their second book, BABYDOLL, hits the shelves on August 4th.


Hagelrat said...

oooh sounds fun and I can never resist a recommendation from Dana

wstridgerunner said...

First thing, let me congratulate you on your new book! I'm still waiting for Aphrodisiac to become available on bookmooch too....there are so many requests for it! And a series??!! Oh, I do love series!!

F. M. Meredith, author said...

What a great sounding book. I'll be looking for it.


Mark Troy said...

I'm going to look for the Saylor Oz books.As to your question about writing and music, what I listen to depends on where I am in the story. It might be screaming guitar blues like Fight (Joanna Connor) or copulatin blues like I Need A Little Sugar In My Bowl (Bessie Smith). It's never mellow.

Allyson Roy said...

Thanks, guys! So great to be be here today.

And, Mark, your blues choices are so cool! They sound perfect for the noirish stuff you write.

Morgan Mandel said...

Actually, I like to listen to the Great American Country TV station when I write. There's enough sad and happy songs on there to keep me forging through my novels, blogs and other writing. I never thought of a special song for a book or character. Sounds like a great idea.

Morgan Mandel

Dana Fredsti said...

Adele, trust me, you will LOVE these books!

For me, the music depends on the story. When I wrote MFH: The Peruvian Pigeon, I listened to the score for Witches of Eastwicke pretty much non-stop. For Ripping the Bodice, a lot of Celtic music, and various film scores (Don Juan, for one), depending on the fantasy sequences. Finding the right music to write to is almost as important as the right names for characters as far as I'm concerned.

Thank you, Alice and Roy, for being our guests today. Now get going on the next Saylor Oz book!

Dana Fredsti said...

Oh yeah, and just to make things easy for those of you who want to read these books as soon as possible, the Babydoll bookcover clicks through to Amazon!

Allyson Roy said...

Hi Morgan. There are some really beautiful songs in the country venue. I particularly like those with the haunting sounds of the whiney violins and guitars in the background. As we wrote in our post, the song we chose is a classic from 1966(off youtube). Mostly I (Roy) tune into rock when I write, while Alice goes for classical. Thanks for commenting.

Hi Dana, Alice and I flip on itunes a lot for music although lately I've been going to youtube. The 'tube' has some amazing hard to find music. I love it.