Monday, January 24, 2011

Jillian Chantel on Writing Soundtracks

I got another groovy author coming by to visit and talk about writing and the process. When I spoke with Jillian she told me about her writing process and I was so intrigued by it that I wanted to learn more and share it with my buddies.

(Now pay attention because she's got some prizes at stake here folks!)

Without further delay...Jillian Chantel!


First, I want to thank Amber for letting me be here today to talk a bit about my writing process as well as my book release with Desert Breeze Publishing coming out in July 2011. Yes, it’s early for me to talk about that and yes, it’s not a science fiction story and yes, Amber is brave for letting me on her Sci-fi blog to talk about a historical novel that occurs in 1920. Please don’t throw tomatoes at her. I’m sure she’ll be back to her normal self soon.

As to my writing process, I told Amber about the habit I have when I start a book and she thought it was an intriguing thing, so here we are, going to tell you about it. The first thing I do when I get the idea for a new story in my head is brainstorm songs for a soundtrack. I like to get songs in my head that may play into the story I plan to write. Not so much be in the story but have some lyric or something in it that relates to what I think the plot will be. I’m a panster as it’s known in the industry so I start with a vague idea and build on it. Sometimes, the songs fit and sometimes they don’t. Take Stardust by Hoagy Carmichael, for example. I have it on this soundtrack as it seemed to fit the era and was going to be sung by the heroine, but when I actually did the detail research, I found out that it wasn’t written until 1927 so I couldn’t use it. Wanted to, but I knew the historical police would come and haul me off if I did such a thing. So, it was tossed.

For my book coming out in July, Redemption for the Devil, I woke up with the male character, Liam Cormac, in my head. He’s a member of the Irish Republican Army and was involved in the Easter Uprising in 1916. I also thought about the fact that the hero was estranged from his own family. Then the heroine came to me, an Irish lass that lost her father, sings, and is looking for a new life in America. So, from that, I thought of 1920s songs for her to sing as well as others that may relate to her life. These characters are also of opposing religions, so I thought of that in choosing some of the songs. The hero, being a member of the IRA, has done some bad things in his life. This also factored into my choices.

Once I had all those facts in my head, I picked the following songs and burned them to a disk and also as a play list on my I-POD. That way, I can listen at work, home, and on the road. Once I have the soundtrack, I immerse myself in these songs. Day and night. I play the songs over and over. It helps me with the scene development.

Here are the songs I picked for Redemption for the Devil:

Three Dog Night: One; Paul Anka: Lonely Boy; Nat King Cole: Stardust (and yeah- I was gonna have her sing it but it was written after my time period- dang!); Harry Connick, Jr.: Danny Boy; John McCormack: Wild Irish Rose; Chris Isaak: Yellow Bird; Tom Jones: She’s a lady; Billy Joel: Always a Woman, The Stranger, and Only the Good Die Young; Back Street Boys: Bad Boy and Don’t Wanna Lose you; George Michael: Kissing a Fool and One More Try; Soundtrack from Poseidon Adventure: Morning After; and Pink: Stop Falling.

I’m sure you can guess why some of the songs were on the soundtrack. Others may be harder. Just for fun, I’d like some guesses on these. I’ll give away a magnet with a Cunard ship on it to one commenter. Leave me a comment on why you think I chose a certain song for this soundtrack and I’ll have pick a number from the comments. I’ll start: The Poseidon Adventure song, Morning After, was on there just because a lot of the action takes place on an ocean liner- The RMS Mauretania. I just couldn’t have a soundtrack related to a cruise ship in peril without this song.

If you want to learn more about me, you can visit me here on the web: Or email me at

Thanks again, Amber, for letting me come by. It was fun!!


Thank you, Jillian, for stopping by. I'm totally going to try this method. Usually my soundtrack is four kids going loop crazy in the background.

'Kay, blogger buddies...get the competition going!


  1. Thanks for having me today Amber- Been up since 3:45 am and am knackered but happy to be here!

  2. I love your soundtracks. I'm a big fan of Three Dog Night and you just can't go wrong with Harry Connick, Jr. thanks for sharing this piece of the process.

  3. thanks for coming by dandwh. I was getting lonely over here! Glad you like some of the choices.

  4. Hello Jillian! Sorry so late! Life interferes with my good intentions at times.

    Writers can share creative ideas no matter their genre! Thanks for sharing yours! And thank you, Amber, for daring to blur the lines, you brave girl! lol

    Knowing Jillian allows me to share something about her I hope you've just discovered; she has a way of encouraging writers of all genres. The idea of a soundtrack is fascinating. Music is the universal common denominator, and it's said "Music soothes the savage breast". So it must inspire as well!

    Can't wait to read REDEMPTION FOR THE DEVIL! Continued succes with your writing!

  5. Thank you Jillian for stopping by. I loved your article for today!

  6. DandWH. I love her song choices too! Harry COnnick is one of my all time favs.

    Thanks for stopping by the site.

  7. Hi Jillian.

    Sorry, my posts responses didn't post for some reason (my own blog's against me...go figure).

  8. LOL! Love it Runere.

    I don't mind having nonSF come by because I love reading everything. Most of the time my non SF writer buddies don't want to come visit. They aren't as daring as my new bud Jillian here.

    I'm just glad she decided to take the chance. I think all genres learn from each other and we all face the same joys and struggles.

    I'm learning a lot from Jillian and have enjoyed getting to know her.

  9. Runere- thanks for coming to check out Amber's blog as well as visit me. I agree about music and beasts- works on me! LOL! And you're right about the genres learning from each other.

    Amber- thanks for having me and for being you. Glad you liked my song choices and glad you're brave enough to have other genre writers pop in. I bless the day I joined Desert Breeze as it has made me lots of new friends!

  10. Wanted to say that Runere won the magnet. Congrats to her and I'll make sure she gets it.