Making Music

June 16, 2017

In my upcoming novel, All the Wrong Chords, eighteen-year-old Scarlett Stiles joins a band during a summer with her grandfather. She's trying to push past the grief of her brother's recent death, and it doesn't hurt that the band, the Beastings, is fronted by the hottest guy in town. I interspersed lyrics from the Beastings' songs throughout the novel, and my brother (musician/writer/producer extraordinaire John G. Hurley) wrote the music and recorded them. Words can't explain what a blast this has been, and I'm thrilled to announce that the album will be available soon on iTunes. Check out the first single from the album and lemme know what you think: https://soundcloud.com/user-710816222/sailing-on...

A Journey of a Thousand Miles. . .

June 16, 2017

Today's to-do list: Come up with a great idea, commit it to an outline, then write a 70,000-word kick-a$$ novel. Granted, I won't actually accomplish all that in one day. But the list has taken up urgent residence in my brain, and my brain has dutifully committed to an action plan. An unmanageable action plan, but an action plan nonetheless. The result? The same feeling I get when I'm knee-deep in laundry, clutter and unwashed dishes. My high-maintenance brain's only focus is the desired outcome: a clean house, or a finished novel, or whatever. Its message, delivered with all the subtlety of a drill sergeant, is, "GET TO WORK AND MAKE THIS HAPPEN!" It doesn't care to be bored with the tedious details. But the devil is in the details, and major projects involve so many of them that it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Here's my strategy for dealing with this potential avalanche of anxiety: First, I humor my brain. ("Oh, you want me to write a novel/clean my house/solve world hunger,...

Mourning My Imaginary BFFs

June 8, 2017

Oooooohhh, Zach and Scarlett, how I miss you! Zach and Scarlett, the main characters in my upcoming young-adult novel, "All the Wrong Chords," have been my imaginary BFFs for the past year. What stellar hang-out buddies they've been: Zach, with his unassuming sweetness, Scarlett with her razor-sharp wit, the smoldering chemistry that each is too shy to act on. . . I've dreamed their dreams, captured their nuances and basically lived their lives for months now, and their abrupt vacancy from my brain is daunting. Much has been written about "flow," the creative state of mind that transcends time and ego so completely that you feel more like the passenger than the driver of the journey you're creating. Oh, how this book flowed! I've never loved characters so completely, unabashedly and unconditionally, flaws and all. And this book includes an additional source of joy: Zach and Scarlett are in a band, so music is basically another character in the book. (The soundtrack will be availabl...

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That Wristwatch on a Pay Phone

June 8, 2017

"Breaking Bad" junkies remember that shortly before Walt White's last trip home to settle his scores, he stops at a gas station to make a call from a pay phone. After the call, he glances significantly at his wristwatch -- a gift from Jesse Pinkman, his hapless partner in crime -- then takes it off and leaves it on top of the pay phone. The camera lingers on the abandoned wristwatch. Oh, the symbolism! The poignancy! Walt's time has run out. His bond with Jesse has been broken. He's leaving everything behind. What a deep and powerful metaphor! Not. "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan laughingly explained in an interview that the scene was a last-minute addition to the episode for a purely pragmatic reason. The last scene of the series had already been shot, and an astute crew member noticed that the wardrobe department had forgotten to outfit Walt with the watch during the shoot. He wasn't wearing it, and he should have been. Oops. How to explain its disappearance? Enter the gas s...

© 2020 Christine Hurley Deriso