Undercover Soundtrack

The Undercover Soundtrack – Linda W Yezak

‘If you can’t live it yourself, the song will take you there’

Once a week I host a writer who uses music as part of their creative process – perhaps to tap into a character, populate a mysterious place, or explore the depths in a pivotal moment. This week’s post is by award-winning contemporary western romance writer Linda W Yezak @pprmint777

Soundtrack by Chris LeDoux,

One touch of a button on my CD player, one second of the galloping beat of Hooked on an 8-Second Ride, and I’m there – dead middle of the rodeo arena. Dust, cowboys, bulls so big they measure a foot and a half between the eyes. The smells of cotton candy and popcorn vying against ranker odors. The chorused groan of the crowd when their favorite crashes to the ground just an instant before the buzzer. The booming voice of the announcer echoing through the speakers. ‘Sorry folks. Maybe next time.’

Feral beat

The lyrics tell me all I need to know about the bull rider. But it’s the beat, the raw, driving, feral beat of adrenaline, that shows me how it feels to sit aback a brawny Brahma with tension steeling my nerves and determination throbbing through my veins.

This one song by Chris LeDoux puts me there, ready to ride. Doesn’t matter that I’m female. Doesn’t matter that I’m too old. With that song, I’m a young man with jangling spurs and a hat firm on my head. I feel the animal shift under me, feel his restless power, smell his dirty hide. My hand’s secure in the braided rope, my teeth are clamped. All it takes is one short order barked at the gateman: Pull it!

The gate swings wide, and the bull explodes from the chute . . .

That’s the wonder of music. If you can’t live it yourself, the song will take you there. It will lift you out of your skin, whisk you from where you are, and settle you where you want to be like nothing else, except maybe a gripping novel.

City girl – and Chris

When I was writing Give the Lady a Ride, I employed a variety of tricks to keep me in character, to inspire me, to immerse myself in this world I’d created. Although my mother’s family owned a ranch, I’ve never lived on one. Although several friends were involved in the rodeo, I’d never participated. So I needed all the help I could find to get this city girl on the ranch and rodeo arenas. I didn’t have a soundtrack of different artists. All I needed were my Chris LeDoux 20 Greatest Hits and Chris LeDoux: The Early Years CDs.

His cowboy and rodeo songs, like Hooked on an 8-Second Ride and Stampede, kept me in my setting, but all his music – not just his western genres – also played a huge role in my characterisation. Through his lyrics, I gained an insight into the personality of a ranch/rodeo cowboy. He’s a practical joker and a little on the wild side. Loves his friends and family. Loves the land. He’s high tempered and foolish sometimes, quietly wise other times. Quick witted. Resourceful.

Is this an idealised portrait? No doubt. But when the hero in your romance novel wears boots and a Stetson, a little idealism doesn’t hurt.

More than any other tactic I employed, music put me where I needed to be, introduced me to personalities and a lifestyle I’m not familiar with, and provided a rhythmic realism to my bull riding scenes. (Thanks, Chris. RIP.)

Linda W Yezak holds a BA in English, a graduate certificate in Paralegal Studies, and a bucket list as long as her arm. Among the things on the list is owning a stable full of horses, and since that’s not likely to happen any time soon, she includes horses in each of her novels, from her contemporary western romance Give the Lady a Ride and her current work, The Cat Lady’s Secret, to her work-in-progress, a contemporary western romance series tentatively called Family First. Until the day she can retire with her husband to their land in Central Texas and ride to her heart’s content, she’ll continue with her writing and freelance editing careers. Find her on Twitter @pprmint777, on her blog, 777 Peppermint Place, and on Facebook as Linda Yezak. Give The Lady a Ride won the 2011 Grace Award for romance and is published by Port Yonder Press through the SkySail imprint.

54 thoughts on “The Undercover Soundtrack – Linda W Yezak

  1. Music can be so important for getting and maintaining the feel I’m looking for in a story. Great tips for staying in character. Although if I stayed in close contact with some of my characters, I think my family would have me committed. BTW, I love catching up with you on Facebook 😉

  2. Great post! I can totally see how the music would inspire and help you, Linda! I listen to TV a lot–I love mysteries and I write well when I have them on. Hmm . . . maybe it’s the mysterious and ominous music that’s moving me along! Yaaay, Linda!

    Aloha! –Cheryl

      1. Yes, Beethoven and Schumann both suffered from musical hallucinations. Schumann thought he was taking dictation from the ghost of Schubert. I researched that for my protagonist in “Rhapsody in Red,” whose life is like a movie mismatched with the sound tracto another.

    1. Thanks, Jody. Roz has had several guests on this site who’ve written about how music affected their writing. Check out K.M. Weiland’s and James Scott Bell’s posts in the side bar!

  3. I don’t generally listen to music while I’m writing, but I do take paper and pencil to church. The music there often turns me on, and I jot down ideas. Other times, just listening to music anywhere brings out the ideas.

  4. Great to get the background to the story. I found your blog through a post on Facebook. Keep up the writing as there can never be too many books!

  5. Thanks for the inspiring post. My second novel began with an idea from a song on Pandora. One track let to another, and pretty soon my lead character was the female lead singer for a symphonic metal band in Europe! During the writing, I listened to a few of those groups. I could procrastinate all morning, but if I put on one of those songs, it was like Pavlov’s dogs: I was instantly in the writing mood and frame of mind! I now find music essential.

      1. Linda, you can check out the group Within Temptation on youtube.com. Not for the faint of heart, but interesting themes on angels, redemption, evil, etc. Not Christian. Many groups are wild heavy metal, while others, like Within Temptation, are milder and use choral backup as well as symphony orchestras. Overall, very operatic in presentation.

        1. Oh my goodness–is that what you meant? Giggle! Now I feel like a total idiot! I’ll check out Within Temptation, because I’m curious now. Thanks for setting me straight!

  6. This sounds like a great read. I’d love to win a copy of it. I saw this contest on FB! 🙂


  7. Good stuff, Linda! I felt as if I had been transported from my Caribbean home to a rodeo arena, and I’ll admit I’ve never found rodeos particularly interesting. I sense a change on the horizon. 🙂 So glad I decided to check my email today.

  8. I caught part of an interview yesterday with Brent Bill and Beth Booram, authors of Awaken Your Senses: Exercises for Exploring the Wonder of God. Not unrelated. With that interview and your post in mind, I will try listening to instrumental music as I write devotionals. (Can’t listen to anything with words–I’ll start singing along!)

    1. I know what you mean, Julie. Usually, I’m the same way about singing along. I kept the music low when I was writing, and cranked it up any other time!

  9. God must be trying to tell me something. Over the past few weeks I’ve heard more about listening to music for writing inspiration than I ever have before! I’d better start listening–to God and to music!

  10. Most excellent post, Linda, and I also love Chris LeDoux! I never would have guessed that you listened to his music while writing your award-winning Give the Lady A Ride 🙂 But after reading this I can see where his two songs would put you in the frame of mind that you needed in order to bring your reader in.

    I love listening to Native American drum music when I write some of my stories. Hard for me to write when there are lyrics to music. The drum music seems to instill a peace within myself so I can become the character I’m writing.

    I’m a bit late to this conversation because I’m not on Facebook every day. Glad I decided to “listen” today!

    1. It’s awful, but I’m not familiar with drum music outside what they show in the movies–and I doubt that’s authentic!

      Thanks for stopping by, Alice!

  11. Since I didn’t get a response from my ads placed with Twitter and LinkedIn, I choose three winners from my Facebook ads: Murray Pura, Dana Patrola, and Suzanne Williams. Congrats to all, and I’ll be in touch to send you a copy of Ride.

    Only one responded from my Goodreads ad, so, Alice Trego–congrats! I’ll be in touch!

Leave a Reply to rozmorris @dirtywhitecandy Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.