Co-Authors Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke have stopped by to answer a few questions about the music that helped them create their novel, The Status of All Things!
How do you make your playlists for your books?
Lisa: I pick songs that I’m really in love with at time we are writing a book. I listen to a song, so many times, that after a while, I’m not even listening to the words. I’m so in the flow that the music fades into the background, motivating my writing, propelling the characters and the story.
Liz: Music serves as an essential soundtrack when I write—I can’t create without it! Usually, I surf iTunes for something slow and moody that will fade into the background of my mind.
Do you use the entire playlist for the whole book or specific parts for certain sections or types of scenes?
Lisa: I find between 1 and 3 songs from the playlist and play them on a loop while I write a chapter. It’s more about the mood I’m in than the type of scene I plan to write. For example, I can come up with funny dialogue while listening to a slow love song.
Liz: I usually choose 3-5 songs and obsessively play them—no matter the scene I’m writing! (Thank God for headphones or my family would go insane.)
How does the music impact your writing process?
Lisa: For me, music is everything. I could not write without listening to it. There’s always music playing in my house or my car or when I work out. And definitely when I write. It makes me feel good. Like when you hear a fast song, you run faster. When I hear a song I love, I write better.
Liz: It’s simple: Music is my muse. Every great idea, every great scene is born from the music playing in my headphones.
Do certain songs or artists continually come up in your book playlists?
Lisa: I love country music (in case you couldn’t tell from my playlist). So, Kenny Chesney, Little Big Town and the Zac Brown Band have been in rotation for each book we’ve written. They’re my writing buddies! Also, Grace Potter. She’s my writing girlfriend. She could sing the phone book and I’d listen to it.
Liz: I’m so in love with Sia. She’s so soulful and her music just speaks to me. Her latest album, 1000 Forms of Fear, is probably one an all-time fave of mine. I also tend to some old-school in there, like Debbie Gibson, early Mariah Carey and Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam!
Does the music on your playlists also get put into your casual listening?
Lisa: Absolutely! There are only a few artists that I only listen to when I write.
Liz: Since I tend to brainstorm while I drive (And I drive a TON), I find myself listening to my writing playlist there too!
What’s one piece of writing advice you would like to share?
Liz & Lisa: To be open to feedback and constructive criticism. It can be hard to hear, but it will make you a better writer.
Miley Cyrus: “Wrecking Ball”
Sia: “Breathe Me”
Keane: “Somewhere Only We Know”
Beyonce: “I Was Here”
Sara Bareilles: “Gravity”
Missy Higgins: “Where I Stood”
Madilyn Bailey: “Titanium”
Rixton: “Me and My Broken Heart”
Lana Del Rey: “This is What Makes Us Girls”
The Zac Brown Band: “Goodbye in Her Eyes”
The Civil Wars: “The One That Got Away”
Kenny Chesney + Grace Potter: “You and Tequila Make Me Crazy”
Pink: “Just Give Me a Reason”
Willie Nelson and Grace Potter: “Ragged Company”
Little Big Town: “Your Side of the Bed”
Kenny Chesney: “Always Gonna Be You”
Lady Antebellum: “Downtown”
Grace Potter: “Stars”