April 10, 2014

Band Geek Thursday: OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord

I am so, so excited about today's guest on YA Misfits! I like to think that everyone knows by now how utterly obsessed I am with this book (and in case you're not clear, I talked about it just last week), but guys, it is so good. If you love light contemp, or books about friendships, or romance, or road trips, or music, or anything, you need to pick this up ASAP. And, of course, since the book is so music-centric, I knew fabulous author Emery Lord would have the perfect playlist for it, and I was obviously correct. So, here's Em to discuss the fabulous soundtrack to her fantastic debut, which releases on Tuesday!


Hiya Misfits! Thanks for having me and my stupidly too-long playlist. What can I say? OPEN ROAD SUMMER is about musicians, so playlists were an integral part of writing this book. Sometimes I wasn't even sure where I was taking the story until I found the right song. (Plotting is...um, not my strong suit.)
So, while there's no excuse for how long this is, I've included 3 makeout songs and several pieces of insider info as apologies. And I'll give a few chapter mile-markers in case you own this book (I LOVE YOU) and might like to read a chapter with its song, which is something I enjoy doing with other writers' books.

Quick character overview:
Reagan: a seventeen year-old girl with a broken wrist, a broken heart, and a lot of anger. She takes off on a summer concert tour with her BFF across the US, vowing to get her life together.
Dee: Reagan's best friend and an up-and-coming country singer. She's excited to headline her first tour, but she's still reeling from a breakup with her longtime high school boyfriend months before.
Matt Finch: youngest member of a "family band" with sister and 2 brothers, which broke up a few years back. He joins the tour to open for Dee and lend credence to the rumors that they're dating.

"American Honey" - Lady Antebellum
This one is Dee's for Chapter One. Couldn't wait to get going / wasn't quite ready to leave.

"Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" - Bob Dylan
There are some musicians who are comfort-listens for us. Bob Dylan is one of Reagan's. I think this song in particular.

"Rowing Song" - Patty Griffin
Another Dee song, by one of her heroes. So much of her story is: what can she hold on to from home and what does she have to let go? (And The further I go / No letters from home / Ever arrive / And I'm alone / All of the way / All of the way / Alone and alive

"Cooler Than Me" - Mike Posner
This song HAS to be on the playlist because it was what originally inspired me to write Reagan. I was blasting it down the highway one day and was like: why isn't anyone in YA narrating from THIS GIRL's perspective? So I tried. This song still totally represents Matt's take on Reagan at first.

"Carolina" - Matt Wertz
Chapter 6. Matt Finch's songwriting style, in my head, is a combo of Matt Wertz, Matt Nathanson, Mat Kearney, and Ben Rector. You can...probably guess why I named him Matt. (Also because he looks like Matt Lauria to me.)

"The Beat" - Ben Rector
Another Matt song. Her heart is broken / but she won't say that.

"Born to Run" - Bruce Springsteen
Chapter 12. July 4th festival, so it's gotta be The Boss.

"The Swimming Song" - Vetiver
End of Chapter 12. Swimming & fireworks. The in-the-sky kind and the other kind.

"Good Man" - Josh Ritter
Finding this song was major for me in terms of developing Matt Finch's character. He's nineteen and kind of lost, identity-wise. He's had girls fawning over him and people kissing up to him half his life, and he's used to coasting by on charm. Reagan won't have that. So, Matt starts digging for what else he has to offer--and it's a lot. I think the first thing he comes up with is, hey, I'm a good guy. He IS a good guy. But nobody ever really asked him to be or expected him to be before.

"Mercy" - Matt Nathanson
Chapter 13. Mercy, mercy / Both hands. (...if you didn't get that this is one of the makeout songs from that, I'm not sure what to do with you.)

"Learning to Love Again" - Mat Kearney
This entire song is the thesis of OPEN ROAD SUMMER. I mean, "Trying to pull your hometown 'cross a telephone wire" is a lyric that I actively hate myself for not writing.

Your poker face ain't foolin' nobody, nobody here
That was the real you running through the fields of gold, wide open
Standing in the places no picture contains
That was the real you with the windows down, we could smell the mint fields crying
Singin with the radio to a song we can't name
Hey, brother, we're all learning to love again.

"Let's Be Still" - The Head and The Heart
Chapter 16. Another theme I tried to pull in.
The world's just spinning / a little too fast / if things don't slow down soon / we might not last / so just for a moment, let's be still.

"I Don't Want Love" - The Antlers or "It's Over" - Civil Twilight
There's a makeout scene in Chapter 17. Set to either of these songs, your pick.

"Tennessee" - Mindy Smith
Chapter 18ish, Reagan's, about how your sense of home can change once you leave it.

"You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" - Shawn Colvin
The inspiration for Matt's cover of the Bob Dylan tune in Chapter 21. Cried the first time I heard it.

"American Secrets" - Parachute
For Dee, Chapter 21. There's two parts to this song, joy and longing. It sounds like growing up to me, kind of angsty but perfect.

"Stubborn Love" - The Lumineers
I actually finished OPEN ROAD SUMMER before this song came out, but I listened to it during revisions, and it's uncannily perfect for the ending.

It's better to feel pain than nothing at all 
 The opposite of love's indifference 
So pay attention now: I'm standing on your porch screaming out
And I won't leave until you come downstairs.

"Compass" - Lady Antebellum
Cheesy/not sorry: This is 100% the song that Dee and Matt would write together, half-teasing Reagan and half really meaning it, about the summer together.
Ugh, this book is so good, and SO MANY MAKEOUT SONGS. (It's Dahlia again, obviously. Emery is far more subtle than I am.) And you can buy your own copy via any of these links!

Indiebound * Barnes & Noble * Amazon * The Book Depository

Emery Lord lives in a pink row house in Cincinnati with one husband, two rescue dogs, and a closet full of impractical shoes. Open Road Summer is her first novel. 


erica m. chapman said...

I want to read this SO bad!! Great playlist, Emery!!! I love how diverse your music taste is. I adore Civil Twilight.. such good songs to write to.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing it with us ;o)

Stephsco said...

Love this idea of playlists for books, especially those with music at the core. very cool!

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