March 13, 2014

Band Geek Thursday: TWELVE STEPS by Veronica Bartles

Today we welcome lovely, amazing, super sweet debut author Veronica Bartles and her awesome playlist for TWELVE STEPS, coming March 25 from Swoon Romance. Without further ado, let's give a big Misfits cheer for Veronica and get our ears warmed up for some tasty tunes!

For me, one of the first steps to writing a new novel is to create the perfect playlist for the story. A collection of songs that describe the characters, songs that tell the story, and songs that the characters would dedicate to each other. I listen to this playlist on constant repeat to help immerse myself in the world of my novel.

The writing playlist for TWELVE STEPS included nearly eighty songs. But I’ve narrowed it down to the top 12 for the official playlist. I’m excited to share it with you!

But first, a little bit about the book:

Sixteen-year-old Andi is tired of being a second-class sibling to perfect sister Laina. The only thing Andi’s sure she has going for her is her awesome hair. And even that is eclipsed by Laina's perfect everything else.

When Andi’s crush asks her to fix him up with Laina, Andi decides enough is enough, and devises a twelve-step program to wrangle the spotlight away from Laina and get the guy.

Step 1: Admit she’s powerless to change her perfect sister, and accept that her life really, really sucks.

Step 4: Make a list of her good qualities. She MUST have more than just great hair, right?

Step 7: Demand attention for more than just the way she screws things up.

When a stolen kiss from her crush ends in disaster, Andi realizes that her twelve-step program isn’t working. Her prince isn’t as charming as she'd hoped, and the spotlight she’s been trying to steal isn’t the one she wants.

As Laina’s flawless fa├žade begins to crumble, the sisters work together to find a spotlight big enough for both to shine.

“Sisters” – Rosemary & Betty Clooney
Andi and her older sister, Laina, have a very complicated sibling rivalry relationship. On the one hand, they have always been best friends, they’re fiercely protective of one another, and they love each other like crazy. On the other hand, there’s a lot of jealousy and competition going on between them. I love how this song captures that whole, complicated sibling dynamic.

“Stepsisters’ Lament” – Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Original Broadway Cast)
When I was in high school, Cinderella was one of my favorite musicals. I watched it all the time, and I totally understood the stepsisters’ frustration in this scene. Every time one of my crushes asked me to fix him up with my sister, I’d hear it running through my head. “Why would a fellow want a girl like her? So obviously unusual? Why can’t a fellow ever once prefer a usual girl like me?” So when my sister told me that I had to write TWELVE STEPS, I knew this song had to play a prominent role in the story. And I love the way Andi makes it into something so much more awesome, turning the entire Cinderella story on its head.

“Who I Am” – Nick Jonas
Andi has harbored a crush on Jarod for years, not just because he’s gorgeous. They share a love of theater, and they understand each other in ways that no one else really does. But Jarod has been obsessed with Laina for years, and Andi feels like she’ll never be able to make him really see her. She desperately wants Jarod to return her feelings, but just getting the guy isn’t enough. She wants to be loved for who she is inside, flaws and all.

“Still into You” – Paramore
Yeah, this song is about a couple who still feel those butterflies and tingles, even though they have been in a relationship for a while. And that doesn’t technically fit the plot for TWELVE STEPS. But Andi has been secretly crushing on Jarod for years. She knows she should be over the butterflies feeling by now, but after all these years, she’s still into him.

“Cover Girl” – Big Time Rush
Andi might feel like she’s constantly living in Laina’s shadow, but she’s actually pretty awesome in her own right. And this song hits that sentiment right on the head. I could totally picture Dave singing it to her. – But I love that this song also fits Laina’s story too. The sisters are more alike than they realize.

“Take a Hint” – Victorious cast
I could totally see Andi singing this song to Dave at the beginning of the novel. Ever since he tried to kiss her back in fourth grade, she’s been trying to avoid him. But he’s everywhere. One of my favorite scenes in TWELVE STEPS is when Andi and her friends go to the movies, hoping to “accidentally” run into Jarod and his friends, and she’s totally incensed when Dave shows up. Because he’s obviously stalking her. Why can’t some people take a hint?

“Everything Has Changed” – Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran
It’s supposed to be about that thrilling moment when love grows with someone new, but to me, this song perfectly describes the complicated love pentagon in TWELVE STEPS. The line “all I've seen since eighteen hours ago is green eyes and freckles and your smile” sums it all up. Jarod’s green eyes, Andi’s freckles and Dave’s smile.

“Help Me, Rhonda” – The Beach Boys
This song represents two of the big turning point scenes in the novel. And I can’t really say much more about it without spoilers, but J

“The Prince You Charmed” – Youngstown
The community theater production of Cinderella plays a huge part in the narrative of TWELVE STEPS, and Andi may be the first “wicked stepsister” in the history of the fairy tale to steal Prince Charming’s attention away from ol’ Cindy.

“I Won’t Say (I’m in Love)” – Susan Egan
“Falling for You” – R5
“You Snuck Your Way Right into My Heart” – Love Handel

The messy love pentagon in TWELVE STEPS might have resolved itself quite easily if everyone involved just sat down in a room together and discussed their conflicted feelings openly and honestly. But let’s face it: life is messy and crazy, and sometimes admitting that you love someone isn’t the easiest thing to do. Although finally saying “I love you” is totally worth it.

Veronica Bartles grew up in Wyoming and currently lives in New Mexico with her husband and four children. As the second of eight children and the mother of four, Veronica Bartles is no stranger to the ups and downs of sibling relationships. She uses this insight to write stories about siblings who mostly love each other, even while they’re driving one another crazy. When Veronica’s not writing or lost in the pages of her newest favorite book, she enjoys creating delicious desserts, exploring new places, and knitting with recycled materials. 
TWELVE STEPS is Veronica’s first novel.


Cindy Ray Hale said...

Fun stuff! I still need to figure out how to put together a Spotify playlist. I'm sure it's not hard. I just haven't checked it out yet.

Fifi Islaih said...

I love the song EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED (: I love when writers share the book's playlist, it's like you see more in the characters world. And the book sounds awesome! Thank you.

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