Thursday, December 1, 2011

Guest blogger: Aida Brassington author of Between Seasons

Last fall, a Twitter friend of mine asked me to be a pre-reader for her new novel. I was thrilled to be asked and enjoyed the experience. At first, I was nervous because I generally don't read mysteries or ghost stories....ever. I fell in love with this story and the main character Patrick. Today I am pleased to have the author Aida as a guest blogger.  Be sure to go buy and read this book for yourself  details are included at the end of her post. 

The first really important musical moment in my life was when I was five years old. This dates me quite a bit, but my mom gave me Shaun Cassidy’s album (yes, on vinyl) for Christmas, and I played the crap out of that thing on a tiny cornflower blue record player. I was in love with Shaun Cassidy. To this day I can tell you exactly what the album cover looked like and sing every word to every song.

When it comes to music, it’s usually a part of the big moments in everyone’s life: first crush, first love, marriage, funerals. It also figured prominently in my novel, Between Seasons – both the writing of it and in my main character’s life.

Patrick Boyle, the main character, dies in 1970 at the age of nineteen. I don’t know many nineteen year olds who don’t really love music, and Patrick is no exception. As a way of setting Patrick’s character, choosing the music he listened to was critical – what he liked defined him. Now, Patrick is guy who dug The Doors and the Rolling Stones and The Guess Who. He would have been a much different character had he preferred Tom Jones, Elvis, Neil Diamond, or The Zombies, you know?

It doesn’t spoil the plot to tell you that Patrick becomes a ghost in his parents’ house, and he spends forty years alone in that house. How would you pass the time in this kind of a situation? In Patrick’s case, he reads the books he’s hidden throughout the house, and he sings – the music he knows is comforting. It’s one of the things he misses the most: being able to listen to music.

Who can blame him? I’d go crazy if I couldn’t sing in the car or block out other people on the subway or bus with the help of my mp3 player.

Obviously, music is peppered throughout Between Seasons, but I listened to music – the same music Patrick loved – while writing the novel. The really exciting part of that is I was able to include more contemporary music, too, since Sara Oswald – the woman who moves into Patrick’s house in 2010 – also loves music.

So what songs are on the Between Seasons playlist? “Through Glass” by Stone Sour captures a lot about the way Patrick feels throughout the novel. “Touch Me” by The Doors is on the list, which is sort of a funny shout out to the fact that Patrick is a ghost. Poe’s song “Haunted” is on there, as is music by the Stones, Pink Floyd, and Bob Dylan. More contemporary choices are Counting Crows, The Postal Service (“This Place is a Prison”), and Eminem. And when you get to a scene in the novel that references Clarence Carter’s “Slip Away,” do yourself a favor and look it up on YouTube or Spotify or something – listen to it while you’re reading the scene. I heave out a dreamy little sigh just thinking about that song and that scene.

What about you? Do you listen to music while you read or write? If you write, do you use musical preferences to help you define a character?

You can purchase Between Seasons at Amazon or Barnes and Noble, and you can find Aida on Goodreads,Twitter , and her website