Saturday, November 10, 2007
Guest blogger: Karen E. Olson
Today, I'm pleased as punch to be hosting a guest blog by mystery author Karen E. Olson, whose new Annie Seymore mystery, Dead of the Day is just out. This is the third in the Annie Seymour series, which is set in Karen's home city of New Haven, and really give readers a feel for the neighborhoods, the people, and the marvelous food! I've loved these books, which feature a very real and very spunky reporter, since the first, Sacred Cows, and cannot wait to read the new installment. I'll get to hear some of the stories behind it, too: Karen and I will be speaking together at Brookline Booksmith on Dec. 11.
In consideration of my overall theme, Karen wrote today about music:
One thing I’m asked a lot is whether I listen to music when I write. I don’t. I think it’s all those years of working in a big newsroom, with no walls or cubicles, and learning how to shut out the sounds of people talking, phones ringing, keyboards clacking. Sometimes I try to put a CD on while I write, but usually I realize an hour later that the music hasn’t been playing for a while and I just never noticed.
But music does have its place in my books. My reporter protagonist, Annie Seymour, has a real fondness for the Rolling Stones. In every book, she’s listening to their music in her car as she drives around covering stories. I’ve said that if there’s ever a movie made from the series, the Stones have to provide the soundtrack.
I did wrestle with this decision, though. It’s the old Stones vs. Beatles question, and I sit squarely on the Beatles side of that. I’ve always liked the Stones enough, but the Beatles were who I lipsinced to when I was in elementary school with my best friend Alison Prendergast. I wasn’t quite sure just who the Stones were for a few more years (I blame my parents for that; they were quite unhip in the Sixties and for years I thought Jose Feliciano had written “Light My Fire.” I was shocked to find out it was a Doors song.)
But because readers think that Annie is me (writing in first person does lend itself to that, and it doesn’t help that Annie’s a longtime journalist, like I am), I wanted to give her something that really wasn’t me, even if my readers might not know that.
In DEAD OF THE DAY, the third in the series that’s just out this week, I wanted to throw Annie out of her comfort zone a little, in more ways than one. One of those ways was to take away her Stones tapes. She loses them in a unique way and is forced to listen to borrowed CDs. I gave her the White Stripes and Our Lady Peace, in order to expand her horizons a little.
Let’s just say that Annie is a creature of habit and while she listens to the CDs because she doesn’t have any others, she’s back to listening to the Stones in the next book.
As readers, do you notice the music in the books or is it just background noise?
I'm curious, too! Please let us know.