Aural Pleasures

Aural Pleasures: BITTERSWEET CREEK by Sally Kilpatrick

Bittersweet Creek Sally Kilpatrick

Today we have Sally Kilpatrick sharing her thoughts on how music has shaped her books as well as her playlist for new release, Bittersweet Creek! Pick up a copy today!


I get really excited when it’s time to talk playlists. I don’t think I’ve written a novel yet that didn’t have a soundtrack, and the musical selections of my characters are often a little. . . odd. My first novel, The Happy Hour Choir, began as a “what if” from an old hymn: what if your name was Beulah Land but you didn’t behave yourself like a perfect Christian? Hijinks ensued.

My second novel, Bittersweet Creek, has several scenes that revolve around the same little honky-tonk where Beulah Land plays piano. In my mind, the story is a prequel and takes place when there was still a karaoke machine. And what duet do my hero and heroine like to sing? “Islands in the Stream” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. That song—for whatever crazy reason—became the theme song of the book.

Me being me, however, there are plenty more where that song came from. Sometimes I reference songs by name, and sometimes I know in my mind what song was playing in a scene even if it isn’t mentioned. Here’s your aural guide to my southern fried take on Romeo and Juliet: Bittersweet Creek:

Sally’s Playlist

  1. Islands in the Stream by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. It’s where Romy and Julian’s relationship began and also where our story ends.
  2. Boondocks by Little Big Town. I love this song so much, especially the opening about feeling no shame about where you were born and raised. I hope it becomes a rallying song for my character Romy, too.
  3. Maggie May by Rod Stewart. Romy’s mother names a calf after this song, but Maggie is all grown up by the time our story begins.
  4. Ebony and Ivory by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder. Julian’s friend Ben likes to tease him with this song even though neither of them can really sing in that range.
  5. Love Is Here to Stay by Harry Connick, Jr. If I’m being honest, Harry comes up a lot while I’m writing. In this case there are references to When Harry Met Sally and the rock of Gibraltor, so I found myself humming this one often.
  6. Strangers in the Night by Frank Sinatra. Ben, Julian’s friend, loves Sinatra. I don’t mention him singing this one, but I like to think it’s his favorite.
  7. Shining Star by Earth, Wind, and Fire. Romy names her calf after this song because the calf has a little black star on her white forehead.
  8. 1999 by Prince. This song is playing at the class reunion because that’s when Romy and Julian graduated.*
  9. I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor. Romy sings this one to remind herself she doesn’t need Julian. It also tells you, the reader, that if she can sing this and Dolly then she has a set of pipes.
  10. M.C.A. by the Village People. This song is suggested by Romy’s friend, Genie, when she gets well into her cups.
  11. Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy by Big & Rich. Romy winces when a minor character murders this one on karaoke night.
  12. It’s Hard to Be Humble by Mac Davis. This is the theme song for Romy’s father, Hank. Not that he knows that.
  13. Big Green Tractor by Jason Aldean. There may or may not be an important scene that has to do with tractors and rides. . . .*
  14. Ticks by Brad Paisley. This one isn’t mentioned in the book, but every time I hear it I can imagine Julian singing it to Romy in a ploy to get her naked. I bet it worked.

Well, if you like my eclectic little playlist and also have Spotify, you can find it here!

*Alas, Spotify didn’t have Prince or Jason Aldean.


And if you’d like to read the book that inspired the playlist, you can find Bittersweet Creek wherever books are sold. After you read the book, I’d love to hear which other songs you think would’ve fit in with my book or even come tell me about the songs you use in your books. I’m a band geek and love that sort of thing. You can find me on Twitter or on Facebook. Oh, and you can always find me at SallyKillpatrick.com.

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