Hi everyone – Francesca Hawley here!
My latest release is Cupid Rocks and it takes place in my shapeshifter universe at Valentine’s Day.
My hero, Joe Blackwolf, is a lead singer/lead guitarist in a rock band. The story opens on his fortieth birthday where he’s wondering what he’s got to show for his life. Years of touring, but no home and no pups. Complications arise when he meets his True Mate, Mandy Goldwolf. He discovers she is the only daughter of two True Mated musicians in his new band, The Pack. Even worse in Joe’s eyes, he thinks Mandy is a cheater and he has some negative experiences of that.
Mandy isn’t mated, but she told her mother she was in order to get some breathing room on the ever present topic of “when am I going to get some grandpups?” Well, Mandy has some ‘splaining to do because she doesn’t tell Joe the truth right away. Instead, they do the wild thing in an empty office between sets. Now she has to straighten out the mess she created by lying to her mother and not telling Joe the truth before he found out in a very public way.
Music always has a really important role when I’m writing. I use it to get myself into the right frame of mind, to help me deal with rough patches, and the get those pesky love scenes just right. So what do I listen to in order to get in the mood to write this story? Well, I’ve created a playlist of songs that I might expect to hear The Pack play during a concert. Here are some of the songs I used for inspiration and why. I’ve collected a number of these into a playlist on YouTube. Click here to see the video playlist!
Sweet Child O’Mine – Guns and Roses
This one opens the concert at the opening of the book. One of the most recognizable opening guitar riffs ever. I can see Joe playing this clear as day. He hasn’t met Mandy, but this is who she’ll come to represent to him. (No, not his child – find the lyrics and you’ll know what I mean).
Joe Fabulous – Bad Company
This one should be pretty self-explanatory. Joe Blackwolf is fabulous. At least Mandy thinks so and this song is a great showcase for Joe’s guitar playing.
Wanted Dead or Alive – Bon Jovi
Great guitar riffs at the opening and it describes life on the road really well. It fits Joe’s mindset at the opening of my story. Tired, jaded, but loving the life he’s led for the last twenty years. Like Bon Jovi – Joe’s “seen a million faces and he’s rocked them all.”
Turn The Page – Bob Seger
Another song about life on the road. The mood of this song is mournful. I love the sense of “other” Seger sings about when going into restaurants. “Is that a woman or a man?” Joe’s always had long hair so this is part of his background. Sometimes listening to the right songs, gets me inside the core of a character faster than anything else, and when he sings it, his parents get a sense of who he is.
Bouree (J.S. Bach) – performed by Yngwie Malmsteen
When I first started writing this story, I didn’t know who Yngwie Malmsteen was. I’d heard of Hendrix, Beck, Clapton and Van Halen. I sat down with musician/guitarist Dorian Michael and shared info about my guitar player and picked his brain for ideas. Little things that would be useful to know. As I described Joe, Dorian mentioned Malmsteen and how the Swedish artist was a heavy metal guitarist and shredder to the nth degree who had a classical background. It was almost like he was describing Joe to me and I knew that Malmsteen would have been a huge influence on Joe when he was starting out as a musician. So when The Pack plays, they always include at least one Malmsteen cover so Joe can rock out.
My Father’s Eyes – Eric Clapton
Since Joe joined The Pack, the band has always opened the second set with two songs about fathers. Joe sings these songs in tribute to his own father but he never expected his father to hear him sing because of Leopold’s disapproval for rock music.
Leader of the Band – Dan Fogelberg
At the concert that his parents attend, the band begins the second set the way they always do, despite Joe’s uncertainty. Joe loves his dad a lot but he’s never been able to tell him. This song allows him and his brothers, who join him on stage, to tell Leopold how they feel.
Malaguena – Steven Pasero
Originally the sixth movement of the Suite Andalucia by Ernesto Lecuona. I heard a live version played by Steven Pasero and it evoked Joe in classical mode. I knew the passion and intensity of this performance was in Joe’s soul and it would inspire and arouse Mandy when she heard him perform it. She’s a guitar chick, after all.
Rockstar – Nickelback
This is just tongue in cheek funny. Joe’s a working rock musician, not a rock star. He almost can’t imagine the “Rock Star” life. He’s good enough to have made it but wasn’t really willing (as he feels ) to lose a piece of himself to make it. So he makes fun of the life by singing a cover of this song. Most of his band mates are influenced by the sixties and seventies greats. Joe is more eighties and nineties because he’s always been the oldest member of a band in the past.
BTW, if you’ve never seen the video for this song, seek it out. It is hilarious. You’ll see one of the guys from ZZ Top, Ted Nugent, Gene Simmons, Wayne Gretzky, blond Playboy bunnies and many more in cameo appearances. Nickelback doesn’t even appear in this video until the last couple of bars of the song. It is a killer video. (You can’t tell I’m a Nickelback fan, can you?)
The Load Out/Stay – Jackson Browne
Encore time. More life on the road, but this is dedicated to the audience. Kind of a “thank you” for coming. I’ve always loved this song, and I’m sure a lot of bands have covered this tun through the years. Mandy’s mom plays the keyboards, but Joe sings it. I love the way The Load Out just segues into Stay. It’s a great encore tune.
Faithfully – Journey
Mandy has never liked life on the road, but Joe is a musician. He can’t stop or he’ll stop being who he is. In his past, long distance relationships have crashed and burned. But with Mandy, he’s willing to try…Faithfully. Mandy is willing to give up some of her security to travel with him at times, while she provides him a home base to come back to. The love and passion between them
Angel Eyes – The Jeff Healey Band
Joe’s view of Mandy. He can’t believe she could or should want him. I’ve loved this song ever since Jeff Healey was featured in RoadHouse. This song has a real blues flavor mixed with the rock and Healey’s rough voice makes this song a must hear. It fits Joe’s view of Mandy – untouchable – yet there’s nothing he wants more than to touch her. Love her. sigh… Yeah, I love this one.
Angel – Aerosmith
Angel is Joe’s nickname for Mandy. Great love song with good guitar riffs. He’s crying and aching for her. He wants her to come and save him. Totally fits the story and the characters. I love Aerosmith. Between Steven Tyler’s vocals and Joe Perry’s guitar, they’re gold practically every time they perform.
Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton
This song is bittersweet for Mandy and Joe because of the context of its appearance in the story. I’ve made up my mind to have it make a reappearance late in the story. This kind of becomes “their song.”
Hope you enjoyed my playlist. When you are writing what do you listen to? Do you create a playlist? Do your songs have words or are they classical so they don’t distract you?
If you’re a reader, do you turn on background music when you’re reading or do you prefer silence so you can immerse yourself in the story?
Here’s the story blurb:
When her parents’ rock band, The Pack, performs at Zach’s bar, Mandy discovers her True Mate, Joe Blackwolf, the band’s lead singer and guitarist. All she has to do now is convince Joe that she told a little white lie to make her mom happy, her father that rock musicians aren’t all alike, and her new mate’s family that rockers aren’t all that different from classical musicians.
Joe Blackwolf is celebrating his 40th birthday. And what he wishes for when he blows out the candles is to find his True Mate. He succeeds when he meets Mandy Goldwolf. Problem is…she belongs to someone else. Finding out the truth leaves him free to explore every inch of her smokin’ hot curves, but now, Joe and Mandy are neck deep in overbearing relatives and everyone is in for a rockin’ Valentine’s Day!
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