Two of the songs that inspired me during the high points of Ari and Blake’s relationship were by Sixpence None the Richer: “Breathe Your Name” (http://tinyurl.com/dnmlpe) and “Kiss Me” (http://tinyurl.com/ykbgvc6). These songs portray the strength of Ari’s romantic feelings and the fragility of her emotions. Another song, “Here’s Where the Story Ends” by the Sundays (http://tinyurl.com/27wurvo) sounds so much like Ari—it reflects what she goes through in the story, her sensitivity, and her feelings of being an outsider.
In addition to helping me delve into my protagonist’s (and other characters’) psyche, music also worked to clarify setting. It helped me to depict what my characters were doing and hearing and seeing. For example, when you’re sitting alone in your quiet office, staring at a wall as you ponder a scene in which a group of teens are inside a Manhattan nightclub on New Year’s Eve, music can put you at the club with them. As an author, the right song can often transport you exactly where you need to be.