Monday, September 10, 2012

Music Monday (1)

Music Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Ramblings of a Daydreamer where we get to share our favorite music: singers, bands, videos, concerts, or anything else that catches our attention.

Sealer's Promise Edition #1: Sarena Lengton

Image by Kattling
Who Is Sarena Lengton?

Sarena is the heroine of my upcoming fantasy romance novel, Sealer's Promise. She is a seventeen year old girl living in a town called Sterling Falls which was given to the Kindred by the Canadian government after they arrived on earth during Y2K.

Sara has spent most of her life avoiding the Kindred. Her mother is a member of Godless, a group who wants to wipe them out. Her father is a member of the BAI (Board of Alien Investigations), the branch of the government that deals with them. Needless to say, growing up in this environment has not been easy.

Today I'm going to share some of the music that has helped with Sarena's development. I hope this is as interesting for you as it was enlightening for me. Music plays a huge role in my writing, so getting to share stuff about my book this way is pretty awesome.

Song #1: Fly by Nicki Minaj (featuring Rihanna)

Why?: "Fly" quickly became Sarena's theme as I worked on the book last year. It's not a typical piece of music for me. I only found out about it because my brother I bought a ton of stuff for iTunes and dumped all of it on my computer. I had heard about Nicki and decided I'd drop her CD onto my iPod. As with most rap / hip-hop / whatever that I listen to, she has a few songs I like and a larger majority that I don't care about either way.

The chorus is definitely what initially got my attention for Sarena. Considering all she has gone through, is going through, and will go through in my series she has to remain very kick-ass in spirit (and often has to kick ass physically as well.) But what really sold me on this as a theme for her was:

I hear the criticism loud and clear
That is how I know that the time is near
See we become alive in a time of fear
And I ain't got no mother **** time to spare.

Cried my eyes out for days upon days
Such a heavy burden placed upon me
But when you go hard your nays become yays.

For the most part (and I'm really watching for this as I edit) Sara is not a whiner. If something has to be done, she'll do it. She is willing to admit that she doesn't necessarily feel equipped for what people are asking of her, but she has the guts to step up and do what she feels is right.

As an added bonus, I hadn't seen the video until this morning when I went to set up this post. I freaking love it. Definitely worth a watch. :) Great costumes, awesome mood from the setting and a kick ass fight scene at the end. Good stuff.

Song #2: The Sweet Escape by Gwen Stefani

Why?: I first heard this song at a Karaoke where my friend Sally played it during an intermission. At the time it made me think of a current romantic situation I was in. But when I realized part way through writing Sealer's Promise that Kess and Sara were going to be dealing with a similar theme, I downloaded this from iTunes and added it to my playlist for the book.

What I love about the song is that it has this light, bouncy feel to it and yet the situation it's talking about is something that could be taken very seriously. It's broad enough that it can apply to a lot of problems, too. Did the girl cheat? Is she materialistic? Does she lose her temper a lot? For Sarena and Kess, this song is all about what happens at the theater. (Sorry people, that's all you're getting from me. *wink*)

The lyric that I think most applies to these two and my book is:

I can see that you're angry
By the way that you treat me
Hopefully you won't leave me
Wanna take you with me. 

The video for this one is pretty kooky. Dresses that have stripes like prison uniforms, a contrast between a 'guilded cage / prison" and the outfits and then, of course, the contrast between the video and the song. I'm not as crazy about this as I am about the video for "Fly" but it's still pretty cool.

Song #3: American Soldier by Toby Keith

Why?: I've loved Toby Keith's music for ages. I sing and listen to a lot of country. It's what I grew up with and is something I still love today. But I usually wouldn't go for a song like this. I'm not a big fan of stuff that promotes war or violence. With that in mind, I steered very clear of any military related stuff up until last year.

I was having trouble understanding the way Sarena thought. Here was this girl who owns a Hello Kitty plush, a copy of My Villains' Collectors Edition monopoly and who practically squees over getting an iPhone ... and I was going to have her kick peoples' asses to protect some guy who technically has more powers then she does. Right. Developing and writing a female heroine who actually *does* stuff, while keeping her both relatable and believable, is *hard*.

I let my iPod just play one day and "American Soldier" came on and I didn't auto-skip it the way I normally would. And then I played it again. And again. Sarena doesn't *want* to be a hero. As I mentioned earlier in this post, she actually tries to avoid it. (Most memorable heroes do; it's part of the Hero's Journey). But as I sat listening to this, I also realized that Sarena doesn't choose to do what she does because she isn't any of the things I show her to be when she isn't facing a threat. She's doing it *because* she is, and wants to continue being, that person.

She wants to save her brother from the mess he gets himself into. She wants to save her mother from her blind hatred. She wants to save her father from the realization of what his wife has become. She wants to save her new friends from being hunted down and killed--by Godless or anything else that decides it wants to come after them. "American Soldier" became a huge driving force in developing Sarena because it took the huge 'concepts' I had for her personality, motivation, etc. and it actually made these something tangible that I could hear and understand.

The part that I like most, which will likely be Sarena's song quote when I make her page on my author blog:

You can bet that I stand ready
When the wolf growls at the door
Hey I'm solid, Hey I'm steady
Hey I'm true down to the core. 

As with the other two videos, I watched the video for this for the first time this morning and I found it very moving. The way that any situation that requires people to fight to protect others--fictional or not--fences us away from those we love is one of the heaviest prices that anyone put in such a situation pays. There is always the risk of dying, but to counter that there is always the hope of remaining alive. The isolation from loved ones, on the other hand, is a price that no one in this situation can avoid.

So, what music is on your mind this week? If you're taking part in Music Monday feel free to link to your post and I'll drop by. Thanks for visiting my blog, learning a bit about some of the music that has inspired me and getting to know Sarena a little better.


  1. Yay, thank you for participating in Music Monday, Kat! I loved getting to learn a bit more about your characters through your song choices. I love Fly and The Sweet Escape, but wasn't as familiar with American Soldier. It's amazing how much music can affect our writing isn't it?
    PS - I'm so jealous that you're going to the blogger meet-up! I wanted to go so badly but didn't have a ride, same as last year. I can't wait to hear all about it!

  2. Cool insight into your characters! I'd never seen the video for Fly before, but those costumes are awesome!


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