July 11, 2013

Band Geek Thursday: Guest Post from Kim Johnson and HER ONLY ESCAPE

Note from the Misfits: We have a special guest for today's Band Geek Thursday. Kim Johnson make a generous donation to benefit the victims of the tragedy in Boston, and she is working on a book that I am so excited to read when it's on the shelves one day soon! We are so happy to be able to share her playlist with you today.

Welcome, Kim!

There are two things I absolutely love: books and music— to share my playlist with you for my YA Adult manuscript HER ONLY ESCAPE is an honor. When I first began writing the novel I needed absolute silence. I couldn’t even fathom to mix my love of music during the intense period of writing my first draft. But as I fell in love with my characters, and truly evolved to know who they are, music is now an incredible muse to tap into my characters. I hope you enjoy the playlist. 

Without further ado let’s get to jamming!

 When her younger brother Michael dies of cancer and her parents flee their hometown out of grief, they drag seventeen-year-old Samantha Powell in their wake. Sam’s life unravels faster than she can pirouette across a stage. She draws comfort from the one place in her life where she feels safe, loved, and in control: her “lucid” dreams. All things change when her dreams take a frightening turn and her world once again spins out of control. Michael shows up in her dreams, warning her of danger looming and taking her through dark and desolate places. Soon after, her good friend disappears without a trace, and Sam can’t let go of the guilt that it might be her fault she is gone. While police leads run cold and the town presumes her friend is dead, Michael feeds Sam clues to tell her something worse is on the horizon. 

Lost in my Bedroom by Sky Ferreira
Lucid dreaming is a tool Samantha Powell uses to create an escape from the difficult times in her life. This song represents how at first she relishes in the ability to control and manipulate her dreams. 

Let Go by Frou Frou
The death of Sam’s brother and the tension at home causes Sam to have a tendency to pull back. But her best friend Jenna Wright acts like a light that inspires her. 
Jenna is full of energy and life. All she wants is for Sam to let go of the bad and live her life with all that is good. First step—admitting she has a super crush on Caleb Matthews. 

Lights by Ellie Goulding
Sam’s dreams suddenly spin out of her control, and she can no longer lead herself in her dreams. Sam’s nights call her to strange and terrifying places.  She is beyond distressed, struggling to learn what they mean… or what Michael wants.  The dark symbolizes Sam losing control and feeling weak, while lights symbolize Michael appearing to call her to him.

Hey Love by Quadron
The classic crush is one that will drive anyone crazy.  It is a tug-of-war of emotions, and the one who is lovesick, convinces herself that the subject of her affection shows signs of interest one day, and despises her the next. Sam is overwhelmed by trying to figure out if Caleb likes her as much as she does him. Finally it hits her she has a crazy crush on him and she just wants to know what he’s thinking.

Don’t Kick the Chair by Dia Frampton
George Thompson is a character who helps Sam and Caleb investigate the disappearance of a friend. George struggles with friendships and his Asperger’s Syndrome causes him to be constantly bullied throughout school. This song really speaks to the lonely feelings of those who are bullied, and how several characters in the book were able to find strength and hope.

Gravity by Sara Bareilles
This song is a favorite of mine, and is reminiscent of Sam’s struggle to move into her future and not be stuck in the past. She feels in a constant fragile stage as she is challenged to reconcile the dreams that are taking control of her life, with wanting friends, a boyfriend, and a normal existence.  

I’m There Too by Michelle Featherstone
Before Michael died, he promised Sam that if she continued to dance, God would let him see her every performance.  Sam feared that she would disappoint Michael in not living up to his expectations of being a great dancer. This is Sam’s dedication song to Michael in one of her first dance performances after his death.  

Stay by Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko
After an incident where Sam is hurt and has to walk home alone in the dark, Caleb comes to her rescue. A spark touches them both and they try to figure out what’s really going on with their relationship. As Sam struggles to feel okay with finding happiness in the midst of so much pain around her, she’s still not sure if she’s ready to jump for love.

Dreaming with a Broken Heart by John Mayer
When her friend suddenly goes missing, Sam starts to fall into depression but fights to understand what really happened. This song balances the questions she has of what is real and what is not, and if she’ll ever see her friend again.

The Broken Ones by Dia Frampton 
Caleb transitions from being Sam’s dream crush to an important person in her life. He’s not only helping her investigate what happened to Sam’s friend but also caring for her in her broken state—trying to help her heal.  Sam learns more about Caleb’s life and where his compassion comes from, including that his unlikely friendship with the school outcast, George.  This is the perfect song to speak to Caleb’s gentle and loving heart.

I Can’t Stop by Flux Pavilion
The intensity of this song emphasizes that Sam has had enough of passively investigating what happened to her friend. She can’t have her life stalled anymore and she goes to face her fears; she won’t stop until she has answers.  The song crescendos to fierce drops as Sam battles her way through several thrilling and suspenseful situations. 

Love the Way You Lie by Skylar Grey
I love the emotion in this song and it speaks a little to a scene where Sam finally finds out the truth to what happened to her friend. Not only does she find out the truth, but she finds her life threatened in a place where she thought she would be safe.

Tell Him performed by Esperenza Spalding
When all is lost and Sam is stuck in a terrible situation, she is not sure she can save herself.  Her mind wanders to the moment she can tell Caleb everything she’s been thinking. If she can survive….

Halo by Beyonce
This song epitomizes the scene where almost all is lost. Sam took an incredible risk that has her facing death. Her brother Michael appears angelically in the room and embraces her. No more spoilers!

Thanks, Kim! It was great having you on YAMF today. 

Ms. Johnson scoured libraries as a kid reading stacks of books like Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, and any mystery or ghost story she could get her hands on. So immersed in the stories, she would hide under the covers with a flashlight because she thought it would continue without her if she put it down.  
Kim has a Bachelors in Ethnic Studies from the University of Oregon and a Masters in College Student Personnel from the University of Maryland College Park. She was an Assistant Dean at UC Berkeley where she mentored, advised, supported, and developed programs to enrich student experiences. Her energy and enthusiasm as a dynamic speaker bridges a great relationship with students and her audiences. Currently she works at a University focusing on international relations, recruitment, and graduate student success. This allows her to be grounded on a college campus while jetsetting around the country meeting people from all over the world.  
The diversity of her experiences helps shape characters to be filled with depth, complexity, and diversity. She loves writing across the genre of Young Adult but relishes on stories that are suspenseful, mysterious, and  bring perspective into peoples lives. Her plots have layers of issues to enlighten common problems in society while weaving interesting stories.

You can follow Kim on her blog at http://kimcjohnson.wordpress.com/about/ or on Twitter: @kimcjohnson


Dahlia Adler said...

Hey, Kim! Thanks so much for guest posting! Your playlist and book look great!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dahlia! It was so fun to put together the playlist and give a little more insight into my characters!

Unknown said...

This version of Ellie Goulding's Lights is everything I need in life! It totally captures the idea of panic. The background sounds like a deliciously creepy Halloween. Nice mix, great variety. I love that you have Frou Frou and Dia on there <3 Look forward to seeing the book

Maggie Hall said...

Such a great playlist! And that IS an amazing version of Lights. Thanks again, Kim!

erica m. chapman said...

Kim!!! AWESOME playlist!! Stay and Let Go ate regular staples on many of mine too!! Sounds like a cool story too!

Thanks for stopping by ;0)

erica m. chapman said...

I'm. "Ate"? Lol Should have been "Are" Lol!

kimcjohnson said...

Thanks Erica and Maggie! And also to all the YA Misfits!

Habi said...

Great Job Kim! Love the list and can't wait to read the book!

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