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Music Behind The Story with Priscilla Oliveras

Greetings! Thank you so much for joining me on the Rock 'n' Romance blog today for another episode of Music Behind The Story. For those of you that were fans of Behind The Music on VH1, my goal is to bring you a look behind the curtain of how music impacts the crafting of a story.

Priscilla Oliveras is one of the most positive and encouraging folks I've met in Romancelandia and I am dying to read this book (oh, life, why must you interfere with my reading time?) I asked her to share how music affected her latest release, Island Affair, and she shared with me a fantastic writeup she did on the 'soundtrack' to the book. As someone who uses theme music when I write as well as when I read, I loved this piece. I hope you enjoy and check out Priscilla's stories.

LatinxRom Mood Music: An Island Affair Soundtrack

Music has an uncanny way of evoking emotions within us.

Sometimes a melody worms its way into your heart, filling you with warmth and yearning…whenever Luis Miguel’s “Amarte es un Placer” (“Loving You is a Pleasure”) starts to play, inevitably I’m drawn to stop whatever I’m doing. My eyes drift closed as the beautiful rhythm and words envelop me like a loved one’s embrace.

Sometimes, the lyrics or beat of a tune lure you to your feet in the middle of your office or kitchen or living room, and you’re unable to resist creating your own personal dance floor…barely a few notes into either Marc Anthony’s “Vivir Mi Vida” (“Live My Life”) or Elvis Crespo’s “Suavemente” (“Gently”) and this chica is up and outta her chair.

Lyrics, melodies, harmonies. They tap into our hearts, spirits, moods, and memories. When I’m writing, music helps me fall into my story world. There’s one specific Pandora Radio station I typically listen to, one I created ages ago, called Luis Miguel Romances. With my earbuds in place, I’m swept away by classic and new Spanish love songs…ones about the trials of searching for a partner, the giddiness of a new love, the difficulties of relationships, the pain of heartbreak, the beauty of finding your happily-ever-after. Basically, the beats we explore between the pages of a romance novel.

As I’m writing and listening, I often find myself jotting down a song title that captures a specific moment or feeling in my characters’ romance. By the time I get to “El Fin/The End,” I’ve wound up compiling a book soundtrack.

To help you get in the #LatinxRom mood for Island Affair, my April 28th Key West-set romance about a hunky, firefighter paramedic and the savvy social media influencer who shakes up his staid life, here’s the playlist that spoke to me while writing Luis and Sara’s love story. It’s a mix of hopeful, heartachy, and romantic songs I hope you’ll find as emotionally moving as I do.

· Mi Verdad (My Truth)—Maná con Shakira (one of my favorites!)

o This duet has beautiful lyrics as the couple sings about how through the lies, pain, and struggles they experience in the world, the other is their love, happiness, light, and truth.

· Tu Amor Me Hace Bien (Your Love is Good for Me)— Marc Anthony

o This Marc Anthony favorite always warrants a writing dance break, no matter where I am when the song plays. Just as the song has an impact on me, he sings about how this person’s love completely overtakes him… it controls him, disarms him, thrills him, and, ultimately, is the absolutely best for him.

· Sólo Para Ti (Only for You)—Camila

o In this song by the Mexican band Camila, the lyrics have the lead singer telling his love that they are all that he has asked for, what his empty soul has longed to feel. He croons about how destiny knew they were meant to be together and when he looks at the past, he sees that by his lover’s side is where he has always belonged. It’s definitely a song that speaks to Luis’s need to understand how right Sara is for him, and he for her.

· Nunca Voy a Olvidarte (I’ll Never Forget You)— Cristian Castro

o This title definitely fits the “big, black moment” in a romance when it seems like the romance is doomed and there’s no way they’ll get their HEA. Castro opines about how he’s leaving now because his partner has decided they should part, but he’s gathering all the details from their time together to help him remember this time that made him so happy. It’s a great breakup song that tugs at your heart.

· Eres Mi Religión (You Are My Religion)—Maná

o Maná…I love almost all their songs. In Eres Mi Religión, they sing about how they were going through life wounded, broken, alone…then this person’s love healed them. How their love is now their moon, sun, and sustenance for each day….pure romance…true sigh-worthy lyrics.

· Yo No Se Mañana (I Don’t Know Tomorrow) — Luis Enrique

o Luis Enrique sings about how he doesn’t know what tomorrow holds for him and his lover…will they be together, will the world end; is his lover for him, is he for them, they shouldn’t ask for more…kind of like Luis and Sara try to tell themselves and each other that seven days together will be enough, why mess things up by thinking about or talking about the future…until they realize that seven days isn’t nearly enough. And then what?

· Me Enamoré de Ti— Chayanne

o Then comes Chayanne’s song about how being with his lover makes his hope grow and feeds his soul. Without his lover, the air he needs to breathe escapes him and everything is gone, leaving nothing left to feel. This is what I imagine Luis thinking when he leaves Sara at the rental home and for all intents and purposes they’ve parted for good. He knows, deep in his soul, that he’s messed up…only, he’s not sure if or how he can fix it.

· Nunca Te Olvidaré (But I’ll Never Forget You)— Enrique Iglesias

o This is Luis & Sara’s true breakup song. This song brings tears to my eyes. Honestly, I played it multiple times while writing Luis and Sara’s breakup and post-break up scenes. Iglesias sings about no matter how many years (“three thousand years”) pass, no matter who else he kisses, he will never forget his love. They can erase his memory or even remove his soul (ouch!), but he’ll never forget his lover. Exactly the truth Luis is confronted with…can he live with this or can he do what he needs to do so he’s worthy of Sara. #youcandoitLuis

· Si Tú Me Amaras (If You Loved Me)— Cristian Castro

o Another all-is-lost love song about what he would do if the person he’s pining for loved him in return—his tired heart would have a home, his life would begin, he’d make his loved one feel as if they were the only important person to him, and more. This one might be a bit of a grovel song…lyrics Luis might consider saying to Sara when he’s trying to win her forgiveness.

· Amarte es un Placer (Loving You is a Pleasure) — Luis Miguel

o This is my ABSOLUTE favorite swoony-sigh love song. From the first line to the last, the lyrics and music sweep me off my feet, just like a good romance novel often does.

I hope you enjoy listening to this “soundtrack” while reading Island Affair and spending time with Luis and Sara!

Note: This article first appeared in Word Wonders as part of the “Color the Shelves” series, March 2020;

Available here:

Island Affair blurb:

Sought-after social media influencer Sara Vance, in recovery from an eating disorder, is coming into her own, with a potential career expansion on the horizon. Despite the good news, her successful siblings (and their perfect spouses) have a way of making her feel like the odd one out. So, when her unreliable boyfriend is a no-show for a Florida family vacation, Sara recruits Luis Navarro—a firefighter paramedic and dive captain willing to play the part of her smitten fiancé . . . Luis’s big Cuban familia has been in Key West for generations, and his quiet strength feeds off the island’s laidback style. Though guarded after a deep betrayal, he’ll always help someone in need—especially a spunky beauty with a surprising knowledge of Spanish curse words. Soon, he and Sara have memorized their “how we met” story and are immersed in family dinners, bike tours, private snorkeling trips . . . sharing secrets, and slow, melting kisses. But when it’s time for Sara to return home, will their fake relationship fade like the stunning sunset . . . or blossom into something beautiful?

Here's what readers had to say!

One of O, The Oprah Magazine’s “27 of the Best Beach Reads of Summer 2020”

One of NetGalley’s “Most Anticipated April Releases”

“Oliveras has been steadily growing her presence as a romance author, one with a knack for heartwarming family ensembles and a cozy sense of home. But Island Affair is her strongest work yet, perfectly calibrating its inviting family scenes with a sweet, heart-melting romance. “

--Maureen Lee Lenker, Entertainment Weekly

“I finished Island Affair with a big smile on my face. I can’t decide what I adored more: Luis and Sara’s love story; their relationships with their complicated and difficult and loving families, or the setting of Key West, which sounded so beautiful I wanted to jump on a plane. I can't wait to read more by Priscilla Oliveras!” New York Times bestselling author Jasmine Guillory

“Priscilla Oliveras writes about families and love with warmth and charm. If you love nuanced characters & big emotions, read her books. —HelenKay Dimon, author of The Secret She Keeps

Island Affair delivers a captivating love story that demonstrates the power of forgiveness and strong family bonds.”

USA Today bestselling author, Farrah Rochon

Author bio:

Priscilla Oliveras is a USA Today bestselling author and 2018 RWA® RITA®double finalist who writes contemporary romance with a Latinx flavor. Proud of her Puerto Rican-Mexican heritage, she strives to bring authenticity to her novels by sharing her culture with her readers. She and her work have received praise from O, Oprah’s Magazine, the Washington Post, New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Redbook, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist, amongst others. Priscilla earned her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and currently teaches the online class “Romance Writing” for ed2go. To follow along on her fun-filled and hectic life, visit her on the web at or on Twitter and Instagram @prisoliveras.

Thanks so much Priscilla! I love so many of these artists, I can't wait to listen while I visit Key West in your story. I've always wanted to go there and now I can!

Stay Tuned for more Rock 'n' Romance...

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