Guest Blog: Book Soundtracks by Mara Valderran

Today I have a special guest, Mara Valderran. She’s been a great friend and supporter in the writing world. Her new book, Heirs of War, comes out soon. So in order to spread the word, she’s running a blog tour. Since I love it when authors put soundtracks together for their works, I grabbed this. Enjoy!

Music is a huge part of my writing process. There are times when I just need to quiet to focus, but nine times out of ten, I have my soundtrack blaring as I type away furiously. The last guest post I did on music, I talked about what songs inspire my battle scenes. Today, I’m going to explore the more character specific songs I write to, with a bit of an emo focus on the broken hearts and damaged souls I’ve managed to create.

I don’t have any real specifics beyond the obvious: the lyrics. Lyrics mean everything to me with a soundtrack. That being said, the music and voice both have to be good too. I don’t care what awesome lyrics he spews out, I don’t think I could ever like a Justin Bieber song. The lyrics and the music have to tell a story, and that story has to reflect parts of my characters’ stories. Otherwise, it’s just a really good song, but not soundtrack material.

Within Temptation “Hand of Sorrow”

“The curse of his powers tormented his life. Obeying the crown was a sinister price. His soul was tortured by love and by pain. He surely would flee but the oath made him stay. He’s torn between his honor and the true love of his life. He prayed for both but was denied.”
One of the first characters I really had a firm grasp on was Alec, the mysterious prisoner Ariana finds herself trapped with. I heard this song, and everything about him came to light. He’s a protector, but really just wants to be a man. In order to do what is right, he would have to give up the chance for love and a life of his own beyond his duties. He fled from this destiny, but helping Ariana is going to bring him back to it, and his feelings for her are going to make him resent it all the more.

Side by Side “My Heart”

“Leaving heartbreak behind takes too long. Living tragic tales as we move on. And I’ll be gone forever. Days go by. And I won’t make it back home even if I try. Keeping on, going strong, though I think that I’m blind. Lost in doubt, faded out, and this feels like a crime. You and I, we should try just to breath in time. Woh, let’s say goodbye.”

Sadly, Side by Side is no longer together. But before they split, lead singer Joelle Kittrell’s voice found her way onto my soundtrack with a song I view to be about Kyle. I think Kyle probably has it the roughest of all. Here’s this normal guy, no magic, no idea what is going on…He just loves Zelene. But he knows they don’t fit in each other’s lives. He’s willing to do anything to keep her safe, even if it means breaking his own heart in the process. It’s a constant struggle for him to be strong enough to do what he’s been told is right and his longing to be with her.

Breaking Benjamin “Evil Angel”

“Hold it together, birds of a feather. Nothing but lies and crooked wings. I have the answer, spreading the cancer. You are the faith inside me. I’m a believer. Nothing could be worse. All these imaginary friends hiding betrayal, driving the nail, hoping to find a savior. No, don’t leave me to die here. Help me survive here. Alone, don’t surrender.”

This is such a heartbreaking song for me, because it is all about Sheridan. When I first came up with Sheridan, she was just as much of a psycho as Kellen. But she changed over time and ended up surprising me with just how vulnerable and scared she was. Sheridan has been raised to be the same monster as her mother, and to believe that they must use any means necessary to further the Cahiran cause. But she’s not a monster. She’s a compassionate young girl who is desperate to find her place in this world, just like a lot of teenage girls are. She’s broken, and I don’t thinks he realizes that until she meets Ariana and gets to live a few weeks in this normal life. And that’s when the inner conflict for Sheridan begins. She doesn’t want to hurt Ariana. She wants to be like her. Ariana is her evil angel, both here to save her and destroy everything she has known to be true and real in her world at the same time.

Thank you, James, for giving me the opportunity to talk about what inspires me with music! And thank you, kind readers, for exploring my writerly world for a bit. What about yours? What songs have helped you develop characters or plots?

If you want to win her new book, she’s hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway! I’ve read the beginning, and it’s going to be great!

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