Monday, May 22, 2017

Playlists by Patty Blount

All this month, we're blogging about music.

I'm super-pumped for this topic because I have a new book coming out this August -- my first in two years. It's called THE WAY IT HURTS and is about two teens who want more than anything to become famous. He's got a rock band called Ride Out and she has her heart set on Broadway.

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After I pitched and sold this idea, it suddenly hit me -- a guy in a rock band is gonna need um, you know, songs to sing. Which means...I had to write them.

Yeah, that turned out to be harder than writing the book.

I have no idea how to write songs and figured I should approach that the same way I did writing books -- by immersing myself in the sort of work I enjoyed. I listened to old songs and new and concluded that songs, like books, became my favorites because they spoke to me on some emotional level.

For example, Say Something by A Great Big World, is a song that makes me ache. Full disclosure, I have a hard time keeping friends. I make them easily, but none stick around. My friends tend to be transient. They're here for a few years and then, they disappear from my life. There's no big scene or drama. They simply ghost away. I've had this happen so many times now, where people refuse to speak to me, refuse to tell me what it was that I did (or didn't!) do, and don't hold me in high enough regard to even grant me a trial before they convict and punish.

This happened with friends my husband and I had met through our sons' hockey teams. Our boys grew up together and for about a decade or so, we were tight.

And then, they disappeared, ignored messages and cards.

A few months later, my husband and I were on vacation in Montauk. I was sitting on a near-empty beach listening to the waves crashing and gulls crying when a fire alarm pierced my ear drums. I'd grown deaf to that sound back home, but the change of scenery somehow opened my mind to it and a new book idea formed for what would become NOTHING LEFT TO BURN, a story about teens who volunteer at their local fire house.

And then, I happened to be station-surfing in the car one day and heard Say Something. The song just broke me in two. I had to pull over and sob for several minutes. I'm always the one people give up on and would LOVE if once, just once, I'd be given the chance to say something before they leave. Suddenly, the character of Reece formed in my mind. He's a broken kid -- the object of his father's blame and hate for his brother's death. Reece is giving up on his dad. But before he leaves for good, he's going to give his dad that chance to say something.

This book remains my favorite of all my titles to date. It's also been my least successful, which hurts on a whole other level.

In THE WAY IT HURTS, my main characters bond over a song by Seether called Words As Weapons. I'm delighted that Seether granted me permission to quote their song in this book. The story is about two teens whose personal quests for fame suddenly combine after a tweet goes viral. The resulting backlash gives them more fame than they can handle. I'm proud to tell you this book was inspired by a conversation I had with our own Kimberly Sabatini. Her encouragement compelled me to write the story.

When I was writing SOME BOYS, the Eminem/Rihanna song Love The Way You Lie was part of my inspiration for writing Grace and Ian. This is significant because I despise rap music and ordinarily change the station when Eminem plays. But one day, I happened to hear the Rihanna part of that song and it spoke to me. That song was entirely responsible for a scene in Some Boys set in the school cafeteria a week after Grace and Ian bond. Ian betrays Grace because his friends are watching.

Dan in SEND loved rock music. I listened to tons of Stone Sour, Metallica, and Slipknot to find the right head space for him. The song Snuff is the one I used to help me write the violent climax of the book, where Dan finally faces Liam Murphy's father, a man determined to kill him for what Dan did to his son.

My own taste in music is impossible to pin down. The songs on my iPod run from Neil Diamond to Drowning Pool. I might listen to instrumentals, country, and then hard rock in a single sitting.

Music, they say, is a piece of art that goes in the ears and straight to the heart.

I hope I've been able to do that with this new book. Here is the original song I wrote for it, The Way It Hurts. It's a loud hard rock hot mess in my head. Elijah sings the lead and Kristen sings the end.


The Way It Hurts by Elijah Hamilton and Kristen Cartwright (Patty Blount)
(duet)

It can’t get worse, this is the way it hurts
It can’t get worse, this is the way it hurts

(him) Don’t know how it all went wrong
Thought what we had was so damn strong
I showed you my heart, tore down my defenses
They said I’m a jerk, said I’m offensive
And you just turned away

(chorus) What can I say?
What can I do?
Everything I am means nothing much to you.
It can’t get worse, this is the way it hurts.
I got nothing but my name
Nothing but my songs
Feelin’ so much pain but the words still come out wrong
It can’t get worse, this is the way it hurts

(Her) You’re wrong and baby, I’m sorry.
but there’s a whole other side to this story.
The hell with the fame, keep all the glory
Just don’t turn away.
What else can I say?
What else can I scream?
The man that you are is everything to me
It can’t get worse, this is the way it hurts.

(chorus) What can I say?
What can I do?
Everything I am means nothing much to you.
It can’t get worse, this is the way it hurts.
I got nothing but my name
Nothing but my songs
Feelin’ so much pain but the words still come out wrong
It can’t get worse, this is the way it hurts


(him) I watch you battle your way through the night,
Every little thing puttin’ up a fight.
I’ll be there next to you, just for you, for the rest of my life

Baby, I’m yours
          (Her) I’m yours
but this is too tough.
                  Yeah, things got rough
Why am I not enough?
                  I’m sorry I messed up.

What else can I say?
                  What else can I say?
What else can I do?
                  What else can I scream?
Everything I am means nothing much to you.
                  The man that you are is everything to me
It can’t get worse, this is the way it hurts.

This is the way it hurts



8 comments:

  1. I get the friends conundrum pretty well. Never had more than one or two at any time. Personally, I thought Nothing Left To Burn was one heck of a book, sorry it didn't do better.

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    1. YOU READ IT???? OMG, thank you so much

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  2. I LOVED this book <3 and know that your friends in the writing world don't plan on being transient. We're always here.

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  3. I'm really looking forward to the new book, Patty! Great job on the song!! Lyrics are not easy to write.

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    1. They really aren't. I am astounded by how challenging it was to write the songs for this book. It's meter, it's flow, and then, it's rhyme!

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  4. Man, I love this. Those are GREAT lyrics.

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    1. I'm so happy you think so! The original title of the book was supposed to be NOTHING LEFT TO SAY, but because NOTHING LEFT TO BURN crashed and well, burned, my editors decided it needed a completely different title.

      Yet it did inspire the lyrics...

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