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Covet Playlist Explained: Why Did I Choose These Songs?

  • January 10, 2014

Hello everyone!

I wrote a post a while back for Penguin UK and I thought I’d share it here, too. My UK editor wanted to know if I could explain the reasons behind the songs I’d chosen for the Covet playlist. In case you’d like to know, here they are!

1. “Her Diamonds” by Rob Thomas  – The opening line of the song is, Oh what the hell she said I just can’t win for losing. When I first heard those words I thought they perfectly captured how Claire was feeling when she tried to help Chris through the stress of losing his job and the depression that followed. She wanted to help, but nothing she said or did seemed to be right.

2. “Daniel” by Elton John  – Somewhat self-explanatory, since Daniel is one of the main characters in Covet. But because of a decision that was made in the book, this line especially hit home: Lord I miss Daniel, oh I miss him so much.

3. “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” by The Police  – At one point in the drafting of Covet, I had Daniel tell Claire that he’d assigned this ringtone to her. It was a not-so-subtle way of letting her know that he thought she was pretty special. The song is performed by The Police (get it?). I later took it out of the book, because it seemed a bit juvenile, but I love this song and it remained on the playlist.

4. Don’t You Wanna Stay” by Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson  – *Sigh*. These three lines say it all: Don’t you wanna stay here a little while? Don’t you wanna hold each other tight? Don’t you wanna fall asleep with me tonight?

5. “Bring It On Home” by Little Big Town – I love this song. I listened to it over and over while writing the ending to Covet (so it really should be last on the playlist). The theme of this song, at least to me, is that home is where you need to be when things are really tough. It’s where your spouse is. It’s where problems can be fixed. When things are at their worst you still have each other, so don’t shut the other person out.
When your long day is over
And you can barely drag your feet
The weight of the world is on your shoulders
I know what you need
Bring it on home to me.

I also love these two lines: 

Baby let me be your safe harbor
Don’t let the water come and carry you away. 
Claire was very close to being swept away, and Chris had some work ahead of him to convince her that he could be that safe harbor for her.

This last one just makes me teary-eyed because of what it conveys:

You got someone here wants to make it alright
Someone who loves you more than life right here.
It reminds me of what Claire and Chris have at home.  

6. “The First Cut Is the Deepest” by Sheryl Crow – The opening line of this song is, I would have given you all of my heart. This is especially significant because Claire tells Daniel, “If things had been different, I would have given my whole heart to you.”

7. Good Is Good” by Sheryl Crow – The song opens with, Good is good and bad is bad, You don’t know which one you had. I chose this song because that line sums up how conflicted Claire was throughout much of the book. She knows she is lucky, and that she has a lot to be thankful for, but there’s a part of her that wants and needs more. But she doesn’t want to rock the boat too much and risking losing it all.

8. “Say” by John Mayer – Oh, this song.
Walking like a one man army
Fighting with the shadows in your head
Living out the same old moment
Knowing you’d be better off instead,
If you could only . . .Say what you need to say.

Claire had tried to talk to Chris in the past – and been shot down – so she stopped trying. Chris internalized everything and never shared the way he was feeling with Claire. Their lack of communication almost ended their marriage.

9. Mockingbird” by Rob Thomas  – These two verses highlight the way Claire felt when she knew the marriage was on shaky ground. She knew something had to change, but she needed Chris to work with her, not shut her out. This one was one the darkest times for her.
Here we stand
Somewhere in between this moment and the end
Will we bend
Or will we open up and take this whole thing in?

Maybe you and me got lost somewhere
We can’t move on and we can’t stay here
Maybe we’ve just had enough
Well, maybe we ain’t meant for this love.

10. Whatever It Takes” by Lifehouse – This whole song applies to Claire and Chris’s marriage. I can picture him saying the words in the first verse to her, and her saying the words in the second verse to him.  
I’ll do whatever it takes
To turn this around
I know what’s at stake
I know that I’ve let you down
And if you give me a chance
Believe that I can change
I’ll keep us together whatever it takes.

She said if we’re gonna make this work
You gotta let me inside even though it hurts
Don’t hide the broken parts that I need to see
She said Like it or not it’s the way it’s gotta be
You gotta love yourself if you can ever love me.

So, there you have it! I played that playlist so often my kids know the words to every song (my daughter has become quite the Rob Thomas fan). I love being influenced by music when I’m writing a book. 

Here’s the playlist for my new book, which I’m sure I’ll be adding to as I go along. All of the songs are relevant to the story in some way (I’ll be sure to explain why I chose them after the book has been released). If you’re on Spotify, please follow me. 🙂 

Happy Friday, all!

The Power of an Informative Review

  • October 13, 2011

As a debut indie author, I depend heavily on reader reviews. The more reviews I receive, the more likely a reader is to take a chance on me, especially if the reviews are positive.

A favorable review is a helpful tool for prospective readers. It gives peace of mind and lets them know ahead of time what kind of reading experience they can expect to have. When I buy a book on Amazon, I pay attention to not only the number of stars given, but more importantly, what the reviews say about the book. I want to know if the book is well written, with fully developed characters and a plot that is fast-paced and engaging.

But sometimes I need more from a review. I have an ever-shrinking amount of time to read these days, so if I’m on the fence about choosing a book, I read the reviews carefully, looking for not only the positive attributes of the story, but also answers to any questions I might have. The question is usually, “I’m not sure if I’ll like this book due to _______.” Sometimes it’s because the genre may not be one I usually read, and I’m looking for a review to sell me on it. Maybe it’s because I’m not sure if I’ll like the subject matter or premise. Sometimes it’s because I’m skeptical of the recommendation become I’ve been burned by the source too many times (I’m looking at you People Magazine). Reading a book’s reviews to see if any of these questions are answered will usually make or break my decision to buy it. A favorable review is a wonderful tool, but I’ve come to realize just how important informative reviews are. This type of review goes beyond whether the reader liked the story, and examines in more detail why they decided to read the book.

I’ve received several informative reviews for On the Island. One of them was from Raven. She wrote:

“I was hesitant to buy this book but after reading all the reviews I decided to read it. I started reading it last night & read until my eyes wouldn’t stay open. I stopped because I didn’t want to miss a word of this book. During the night I woke up several times thinking about the book…couldn’t get it off my mind. I just finished the book and I can honestly say I haven’t read a book this good in so long. What they endured on the island was so real. I loved TJ & Anna. I can’t wait for the author’s next book although I don’t know how she can top this one. If you haven’t read this book, read it, you won’t be disappointed.”

The reason I like this review so much is twofold: for one, it’s a wonderful review that brought tears to my eyes when I read it. I didn’t know who Raven was, but I greatly appreciated the fact that she read On the Island and then took the time to leave a review. What I also liked was that she was honest. She didn’t know whether or not she wanted to read the book (unanswered question: Will I like this book?). She used favorable reviews to help her decide, and she wasn’t disappointed. But the other thing I like about this review is the fact that she admitted she wasn’t sure if she wanted to read it. She was hesitant. And yet not only did she take a leap of faith and read it anyway, she liked it. A lot.

I know that potential readers who read the product description for On the Island might have some questions. The premise is very easy to have pre-conceived notions about; it’s a desert island book with a teacher and her much younger student. They’re probably thinking, where in the world is the author going with this? Will I want to go there with her?

I understand this hesitation, and I’m happy to report that those who have read the book know that I didn’t take the storyline anywhere they didn’t want it to go. They were surprised at how invested they became in the characters. Some of them have reached out to me to ask about a sequel because they want more T.J. and Anna.

I also received this review from heath1005.

“i was very reluctant to read this story, didnt know if i was going to like the premise of the old trapped on a deserted island relationship, especially with the age difference between the characters. i am soooo very glad took the chance though because this story was so much more. i never once thought about the age difference, just the characters. i believed this to happened due to the great amount of detail that went into this book. i found myself feeling as though i was right there with t.j. and anna and felt every triumph defeat and love that they went through during their ordeal on the island. i really loved that it was not all romanticized and perfect especially during the 2nd half of the story. i would highly recommend this story to anyone looking for a great love conquers all story!”

The reason I appreciate these reviews so much (disclaimer: I appreciate ALL my reviews, and I’m grateful to anyone who takes the time to leave one) is because they are answering questions potential readers probably have, too. And they’re answering them in a positive way. It’s like they addressed the elephant in the room and said, “Yes, the elephant is there but you won’t care and you should totally read this book.”

Last weekend, Raven reached out to me via e-mail. In her message, she elaborated a bit more on her decision to purchase On the Island. She told me it took her about 3 weeks to finally decide to download it, and she reiterated again how glad she was that she did. She said she wasn’t sure if she wanted to read a book about a teacher and a student (which I totally understand, because at one point I thought I was TOTALLY CRAZY for writing one). She said she adored Anna and T.J., and if I hadn’t already guessed, she loved the book. Frankly, her e-mail made my entire day.

Raven and heath1005 have done something for On the Island that I couldn’t do myself: they’ve provided a positive and, more importantly, an informative review that will greatly assist other readers in deciding whether or not they want to read On the Island.

As a debut indie author, you can’t ask for more than that.


P.S. I’m waiting patiently for the paperback version of On the Island to go live on Amazon. I thought it would be out there by now, but it’s not. I’ll let you know as soon as it shows up 🙂

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