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Music Behind The Story: Aliza Mann


Greetings! Welcome to the Rock 'n' Romance Blog! Today I'm hosting a new pal, Aliza Mann. Aliza and I met at BLC where we were in an event together, but THIS YEAR we were scheduled to have some major fun in Nashville before the world decided to take a big crap on our plans. She will forever be my Bus Babe, even though I won't be able to join the BLC crew in Nashville for the rescheduled dates. I'm so happy to have her on today and I LOVE this post! I'm ready to grab some Skittles and Jolt Cola and turn on some LL Cool J. Take it away Aliza!


Bass Line: How Music Informs My Stories

Aliza Mann

Hey, hey, hey! I’m Aliza Mann and I have hijacked R.L.’s blog today. Thank you for having me! I wanted to share a bit about how music acts as completion for my stories. As an author, not uncommon for a lot of authors, I have a strong relationship with music. The right song can explain a whole mood for a character, or a scene, or even a story. Of course, this varies from author to author and while I cannot listen to music with words while writing, I don’t think I could be able to write a story without music included on my ‘mood board’. Co-dependent much? I am and I guess that goes back a long, long way.


Come with me for a moment to the late 80s, a time when MTV and BET cable TV channels were so prominent, us latch-key kids would rush home, let ourselves in, get some really junky food and channel surf between our two channels, praying our favorite video would show up. For me, the songs were Duran Duran with Hungry Like the Wolf



or Slick Rick’s Children’s Story or Denice Williams belting out Let’s Hear It for the Boy.




To clarify, we had to wait because there were no streaming services or YouTube back then. Tragic, I know… Back to the point at hand, I remember every word of those songs, not because of the superior sound quality of our televisions and radios, but because those were the first that inspired a story. I recall characters beginning to flicker in my mind’s eye while watching the videos and listening to the music.


Of course, that was easy to dismiss as a career choice. I had always made up stories. Some of my earliest memories are of me making up a backstory for my dolls and my brother’s army men – don’t ask, it was a whole thing. But when I first heard the sounds of my generation, INXS and LL Cool J (I won’t even start with the stories I made up about him – hawt!!), it was a completely different ball game. That’s when the characters, the stories, got a backdrop.



Somehow, my imaginary worlds aren’t complete without some favorite song, some record playing punctuating the hero’s mood, underscoring the tone and heartbeat of the story.

I use music to fill in the blanks of my story. The very first romance novel, still unpublished, the hero heard "Pretty Wings" by Maxwell playing in the car as the heroine darted across the street, narrowly avoiding a collision with a car turning the corner. Of course, he got out to help her and thus a relationship was born on the page. Now, every time I hear the song, I think of Andrew and Kristen (hero and heroine). When Maxwell sang “Your face will be the reason I smile…” I can still just see Andrew bringing Kris horrible tasting coffee and her admonishing him for it before they collapse into one another. That’s what I mean - stories should be a full neural and sensorial experience and without music, I’m not sure that can happen.


The story I’m writing now is a paranormal about the Djinn and the full soundtrack is completely bananas. The hero has based all of his pop culture research on the 90s and he loves artists like Prince, Teddy Riley & Guy, and Eminem.



My heroine on the other hand, who is a stand-up comic and has a somewhat cynical view of the world, is a big Lizzo and Beyonce fan. Even their choices in music lend to who they are as people. Musical choices work to inform the story for me, and that is so damn exciting. Some authors plot the scenes and as a pantser (someone who has no idea where the story is going before sitting down to write), I don’t do that. I do, however, have a full-on mood going with colors and town images, and so much music to help guide my characters' lives and choices.


Here’s some of my current playlist for each character. See if you can’t picture what a day out with Tarek and Shelby is like:

Lizzo - Juice

Beyonce – Pretty Hurts

Prince – Let’s Go Crazy

Guy – I Like

So, that pretty much covers my relationship with music. If there is a world without music in it, it’s just not somewhere I want to be.


Take care and if you ever want to check me out, visit me at www.alizamannauthor.com.

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