Today, in Character Playlist, I’m so pleased to have fellow Crescent Moon Press author, Aaron Ritchey. He’s talking about the playlist he listened to while writing his novel, The Never Prayer, which I’m currently reading and enjoying.
When I sat down to write my angel book, I searched through my massive music collection for all songs with “angel” in the title. The nice thing about having so many MP3s I’ve acquired from friends over the years is that there are gazillions of songs I’ve never heard of before.
And it’s nice to have a playlist for a novel because the songs put me in the mood of that book, so during the revisions, the many, many, many, many revisions, I can get back into the groove of the book. What if I get out of the groove? Well, then I’m in trouble. That was a little Propellerheads reference there.
Like other writers, I’m a music lover, and in my debut novel, The Never Prayer, there are a ton of music references because when I was in high school, my life revolved around music. But I get freaked out about copyrights, and so I made up all my own bands. For example, my heroine, Magdalena “Lena” Marquez listens to an old 80’s band called The Sympathies, kind of like The Cure. And her loser ex-boyfriend, Santiago, loves opera and speed metal, so he listens to Bertoglio and Scattershot. I’ve had readers comment they googled the bands and didn’t find anything. Ha.
But let’s get on to the music! The song that probably captures the heart of the novel, or at least the climax, is Jeff Beck’s “Amazing Grace.” At the very climax of the novel, after Lena’s heartbreaking decision, it’s such a bittersweet moment, so full of tension, sorrow, and yet so much hope, that it reverberated with the power of Amazing Grace.
Before I did my search, I had never even heard of John Prine, but his song, “Angel From Montgomery” is Lena’s theme song. The line, “To believe in this living is just a hard way to go,” sent shivers down my spine because as Lena knows, life is hard. His version is good, but I like the Dave Matthews cover a little bit more. In the version I had, it’s from some little bar, and at the end of the song, you can hear the waitress asking for people to clean up after themselves. I couldn’t find that version, but the link below is almost as good. No waitress talking at the end though. Sad face.
My novel is tragic. Is that a selling point? Prolly not, but another sad song, “Seven Spanish Angels”. Again, never heard this song before in my life, but I love Ray Charles. And the song is about sacrifice and desperation, two more themes in The Never Prayer.
I would read my book, and listen to these sad songs and cry and cry. Ah, the life of a writer. Tears and bloodshed. However, there is hope in The Never Prayer. It’s not all heartbreak. I always liked The Black Crowes, and their song, “She Talks to Angels,” has such a fragile hope in it about a troubled girl, like Lena. But I think the song also points to change—hope for the hopeless. In my mind, this was Santiago’s song because he starts out as a drug addict, but things change.
Angels are a very human way to express our hope that there is something out there, some force that wants our lives to be good and for us to succeed. I could list a million other songs that I listened to while working on my book, and some would be far more hopeful, like Melissa Etheridge’s “Talking With My Angels” or A-Ha’s “Angel in the Snow.” But I’ll end on a song I found that I had heard before, but not the orchestral version of it. The Scorpions with the Berlin Philharmonic, “Send me an angel.” Well, the angels are on their way. There is always hope.
Bio: Aaron Michael Ritchey was born with Colorado thunderstorms in his soul. He’s sought shelter as a world traveler, an endurance athlete, a story addict, and even gave serious thought to becoming a Roman Catholic priest. After too brief a time in Paris, he moved back to the American West and lives semi-comfortably with three forces of nature: a little, blonde hurricane, an artistic tornado, and a beautiful, beautiful blizzard.
The Never Prayer: Shattered by the death of her parents, Lena will risk everything to keep her disintegrating family together. In love with two enigmatic boys, Lena must unravel the mysteries of heaven’s fury and hell’s desire before she loses everything. Who is the demon? Who is the angel? Lena can’t tell the difference and every minute pushes her closer to the edge.
For more about me and The Never Prayer, you can visit us both at www.aaronmritchey.com. And of course, I’m on Facebook, as is the book at http://www.facebook.com/TheNeverPrayer. And I tweet – @aaronmritchey. If you are at all curious about the novel, our friends at Amazon.com would love for you to visit them!