Character Playlist: Wendy Burke on Haste Ye Back

Character playlist is a new feature in which I ask authors to share how music influences their writing and their characters. If you’re interested in contributing to this feature please email me at phillips (dot) connie (at) gmail (dot) com.

Today, I’d like to welcome Wendy Burke to my little corner of the web to talk about the connection between music, her characters and her writing.

I met Wendy years ago at a local writer’s conference. I was helping to spread the word about our local MVRWA chapter and we roped her into coming to a meeting. At the bottom of the post, you will find the covers to her Decadent Publishing releases.

Welcome Wendy…

When Connie asked me to be part of her blog, I was thrilled. I’ve always had songs in my head for my characters and their situations.

Mostly, the songs are current or have been popular. So, you might be wondering what ‘Scotland the Brave’ is doing in here – certainly not a tune you hear regularly on say Sirius XM radio! And considering this blog is being written by someone of German/Russian-Slovenian-French-American heritage, it really doesn’t make sense.

But, it does.

You see, my latest offering, Haste Ye Back was born on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond on a sunny day in July 2007. I was in Scotland visiting my ‘family’ (after thirty-plus years of being pen pals, you become family) and while sitting on a big rock, listening to my pal Shelagh and her husband, George tell tales—well, the story of Bryn and Ian in Haste Ye Back was screaming to get out of my head.


So, I give you—Scotland the Brave.

Now you have a feel for the setting of Haste Ye Back, Scotland. How about a feel for my characters? I know some of you are already rolling your eyes, in the back of your mind saying, ‘Okay, here comes the Russell Crowe reference.’ Well, if this were a game show – DING! DING!! DING!!! – you move on to the next round.

In my head, here’s what ‘Ian’ looks like.  Shocker, huh—yep, he looks like Russell Crowe! So, wouldn’t it make sense to include one of Russ’ songs for my characters? He sings…really he does! How about this one with Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders? I think the sentiment fits Bryn and Ian’s relationship perfectly. (And, no, Bryn doesn’t look a thing like her!)

Then, of course, there’s that bit of paranormal which floats through the story. And this song, if you listen carefully to it, might seem a bit morbid, but it really goes with how long  Ian and Bryn have been destined to be together and what they went through in centuries past. I don’t want to give the whole story away, so I’ll leave it at that. No video for this one, however, and yes, it’s another Russell Crowe tune.

So, I hope you’ve enjoyed wandering around in my warped brain  for a while — or should I say ‘a wee bit.’ I hold my Scottish family responsible for this story, in a good way, of course. I did make one error, however, I didn’t use the best line ever inadvertently given to me by dear George while en route to St. Andrew’s. While squeaking the Vauxhall through a particularly narrow curve with a truck headed our way, I aloud wondered if we’d get past the ‘lorry’ unscathed. To which George replied, “Doncha be a worryin’ darlin’—no matter how big it is, it always fits!’

DAMN—I could have done SO MUCH with that line!

Wendy is a displaced Cheesehead, proud to have been born and bred in Wisconsin. She was a migrant worker for years in the radio business, until she landed in Ohio and refused to leave. When she isn’t writing for pleasure and publication, she is a TV newsroom assignment manager. She shares her clean, yet perpetually dusty, house with her way-too-cute chef husband and two spoiled rotten cats in the Great Lakes region of the mid-west. Find her on Facebook, or send her an email at


  1. it’s always fun to find out how other writers find their stories – and how music or a particular setting influences them. Now that I’ve listened to these songs, i’ve *got* to read this one. Hope the book is going gangbusters, Wendy!

  2. That George is priceless. He deserves his own book.