Good Morning My Dears!
I'm back with a shiny new first draft and a shiny new playlist for you! I just finished my third Oceanside High novel, THE RHYTHM OF BREATHING. BREATHING follows Abby, Bria's best friend in FALLING, as she falls for a boy despite her best effort to keep things casual. I never really intended Abby to become a main character, but she was so much fun in the other two books that I had to write her story.
And then I started writing Jackie. He has maybe two scenes in FALLING and is mentioned in LANDING, so I knew I liked him. But I had no idea where his back story would take me, no idea how healing it would be to write about the kind of trauma he experienced before meeting Abby.
It's easy for me to writing kissing scenes - and there is plenty of that in BREATHING. Their entire relationship takes off from a kiss between strangers on New Year's Eve. The challenge in this book was delving into the deeper emotional landscape without making it too heavy. Abby isn't a heavy character, but she's deep and their story needed to reflect that. I hope I did their story - and the true stories that inspired it - justice.
A hastily written blurb, then the good stuff: the play list!
With six months until graduation, seventeen-year-old Abby Harris is so done with boys. Already accepted into the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, she should be on top of the world. There’s the tiny problem of her best friend, Bria, falling in love with her brother, Ben. And an ex boyfriend flaunting his new happiness around the school. And that big fat F in English that just might derail all her plans for escaping Oceanside.
While Bria and Ben prepare to go to college together, Abby is determined to solve her problems on her own. But with her old arch nemesis insomnia back to haunt her, it's harder than ever to keep up the charade that everything is fine.
When social-butterfly Abby finds herself alone on New Year's Eve, she's ready to give up on life. At least until Jackie, the dispassionate, tattooed drummer in a metal band, offers to kiss her at midnight. A no-strings-attached make out sessions may be just what Abby needs to shake her funk.
But when that no-strings-attached kiss snowballs into an entire hidden relationship that's deeper than anything Abby has experienced before, she'll have to accept that life doesn't always play by her rules. Sometimes a kiss isn't just a kiss and learning to pause is just as important as moving on.
Animal - Neon Trees
Oh oh, I want some more/Oh oh, What are you waiting for?/What are you waiting for?/Say goodbye to my heart tonight
This was the first song on this playlist. It's on the radio rather frequently and while it's not like I dislike it, I just don't love it. But once I started brainstorming Abby's story, I knew this would be her jam.
Broken Heart Still Beating - The Darlings
I cut away all this innocence/You can't bring me down/Buried emotion/Made myself a rock/Broken heart still beating
Abby and Jackie come from very different places, but this could be an anthem for either of them. I love the way their different kinds of brokenness work together to make them both stronger.
Everlong - The Foo Fighters
And I wonder/When I sing along with you/If everything could ever feel this real forever
I have wanted this song to work on a playlist forever! Abby and Jackie both desperately want love and yet push so hard against it. The sense of waiting and fufilment in this song perfectly fits with the emotional arc of this story.
Homesick - Sleeping At Last
All revelations come to us in recovery/Cry wolf, cry mercy, cry the name of the one you were raised to believe/Cry heart, cry yourself to sleep, cry a storm of tears if it helps you breathe
This one is definitely for Jackie. For me, it's about coming to grips with the person your past has lead you to become. Not that we're defined by our pasts so much as our past inform who we are.
Tonight You're Perfect - New Politics
Tonight you're perfect/I wanna fall in love with the stars in your eyes/Tonight you're perfect/I wanna fall in love but only for the night
After three heavy songs, you guys need a pick me up, right? This one is perfect for their New Year's Eve kiss.
Learning to Breathe - Switchfoot
I'm living again, awake and alive/I'm dying to breathe in these abundant skies
Are you noticing the breathing theme yet? This song captures the idea of finding release in giving up and letting go. Abby tries so hard to hold on to her control, but when she reaches the point of letting go and opening up to another person, that's where she finds freedom.
Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop - Landon Pigg
Aside from how pretty this song is, it perfectly fits with the plot of this story. I hope you all love Cafe Volta as much as I do. If only it were a real coffee shop...
Foreign Language - Anberlin
Boys speak in rhythm and girls in code
This is the first Anberlin song I ever heard and I wasn't sure how I felt about it. But it's just so perfect for Abby and Jackie, a drama kid and a drummer. Lies and rhythm.
Alarm the Alarm - Write This Down
We've been caught up in the moment/And our beds are crowded where we sleep
This one is a little harder than I usually write to. I keep stuff like this for long car rides, but Jackie is the drummer in a metal band. I needed something more than sad indie and peppy radio tunes to get into his head.
Falling Out Theme - Boysetsfire
gravity forces us/back to where we started from/love and weapons kill much the same way/with shaking hands we start again
Risking love again after a breakup is always hard. After a bad breakup, it's even worse. Leave it to a post-hardcore band to express that so perfectly.
Swan Song - Brightwood
I wish I would have listened when I figured out/You knew me from the inside/Your eyes on mine, on mine, and I'm/I'm afraid and alone with your eternal love in my hands
More than falling in love, Abby is afraid of being loved. Her biggest struggle is that she knows her own weaknesses and doesn't want Jackie to open himself to the hurt she could inflict on him.
Sleep Alone - Two Door Cinema Club
Oh hold, hold, hold/Hold me close/I've never been this far from home/Hold, hold, hold me close
A playlist for a story about two insomniacs has to have an ide to sleep. I love the way this song feels. It has that kind of catchy melody and sing-a-long lyrics that make it perfect for me to write to.
Say Goodbye to Neverland - The Choir
Breath in, breath out/Heart don't fail/Embrace the moment
This is Abby's theme. Keep breathing, embrace the moment. Face life head on, even when it's hard.
Pagan Poetry - Further Seems Forever
This time/I'm gonna keep me all to myself/She loves him, she loves him/And he makes me want to hand myself over
This is a cover of a Bjork song and one that resonates with me on some level I don't quite get. But it fits so well with Abby's black moment. I kind of adore fatalistic love songs.
Different Now - The Classic Crime
Oh I was as surprised to find the love inside your eyes/as you were, to see mine/And our friends all laughed and we were warned/It was the calm before the storm, that comes/like it always does, like it always does
Let's end on a hopeful note. Love doesn't prevent the storms - especially for these two - but it does provide a safe place amid the storms.
(And if all this leaves you wanting more, my Pinterest board is here)