Saturday, July 14, 2012

Music is a Feeling, Stacia Kane talks music as inspiration

Music is a feeling.

Well, obviously it’s more than that. But it evokes feelings, and memories, and it does it more strongly than almost anything else can do. Think about it: you’re driving along and suddenly a song comes on the radio that you haven’t heard in ages. Years, even. And suddenly, for that one brief second, you’re right back where you were when you heard it the first time. Or maybe the fiftieth time that summer or winter. Or that road trip where you and your friend played the then-brand-new
Danzig II (on cassette!) over and over for three solid hours. Or when you sat in your then-brand-new love’s bedroom listening to the Buzzcocks and drinking beer and the whole world was out there waiting for the two of you to take it by storm. And now when you see how everybody and their brother is using “Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)” in their car ads or detergent ads or whatever else it’s almost like they’re stealing that time from you, like they’re turning it into something cheap, and it’s a physical ache in your chest. It’s a reminder of how that time is gone and you can’t ever have it back, not ever.

But luckily most of the time it isn’t so painful. Most of the time it’s sweet, or even funny. It’s nostalgic, which is pain, yes, but can also be warm and cozy.

The point is that nothing can transport you, nothing can inspire you, nothing can make you feel the way music does.

I try to do it in writing. I want my work to make people feel. I want it to make them remember, to think, to really dig deep. I want it to make them lose themselves. Just like hearing a song—not even a sad one or an old one or one full of nostalgia, just a really good, fun one, the kind that makes you want to roll the windows down even if it’s pouring down rain and turn the volume up really high—can make you forget where you are, what you were doing, so I want my books to do that. I want my readers to feel, even for only a few minutes, that they are my characters, too, that they live in that world. I want them to forget their troubles and just immerse themselves.

I’m not a musician, not really. I can play a couple of Ramones and Sex Pistols songs on the guitar; I haven’t played in years, but I’m pretty sure I still remember those, although I believe Buddy Holly’s “Rave On” is forever lost to my sad little fingers.

And honestly? Sometimes I hate that I’m not a musician. If the ticket is to make people feel, nothing does it faster or is more accessible than music. Any music. Hell, those of you who’ve reached a certain age can stop reading right now and think “I’d like to teach the world to sing.” I bet you just got all prickly-eyed, didn’t you? And that’s a commercial!

I can mention music in my books, and I do. Those who know the songs will hopefully feel they add an extra layer to the scenes and stories. Those who don’t, well, hopefully it doesn’t take anything away from the scenes and stories, and there’s always iTunes, right? I want that music in there because I want to set the scene. I want readers, in CITY OF GHOSTS, to “hear” those opening bars of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and know what they mean—what they mean to Chess, what they mean to Terrible—instantly, without being told. I want that music in their head to make them feel just the way the music in her ears makes Chess feel, before a word is said about why that song is important or when it was last mentioned in the story.

I’m always trying, you see, to evoke what musicians can evoke. I’m always trying to take that raw feeling and find a way to…to pin it down with words, to transmit it in a silent medium. I want to distill that emotion and sensation, and make the reader hear music even when there is none.

Because I think that’s the point of art, and it’s the point of storytelling, and I think when a writer does it well it’s like hearing that favorite song for the first time all over again. I can’t say whether or not I do it well or ever have, but I’ll keep trying.

Stacia Kane has been a phone psychic, a customer service representative, a bartender, and a movie theatre usher. Writing is more fun than all of them combined.
She currently lives with her husband and their two little girls. She wears a lot of black, still makes great cocktails, likes to play music loud in the car, and thinks Die Hard is one of the greatest movies ever made. She believes in dragons and the divine right of kings, and is a fervent Ricardian.

Stacia's website~
Stacia Kane

On Twitter~
Stacia Kane

You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, and at your favorite Indie bookstore.


  1. Unfreakinbelievable how accurately you nailed the concept of music. And Lucifuge...sigh. Still listen to it at least once a week.

    Great post Stacia.

  2. Wonderful post Stacia, you really brought the point home, thank you for being here '

  3. Exactly right! This IS one of the many things I love about Stacia's books. The music she references is usually music that is from times in my life when I was living a lot like Chess so it all comes together in a really brilliant way that is so familiar and recognizable.