Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Lisa Jewell takes us "Somewhere in Time"

Introduction by Becky Gulc

I am a huge fan of Lisa Jewell, I can hardly believe it’s over ten years ago now that I read my first novel by Lisa (One-Hit Wonder) and I credit her excellent writing with being one of the reasons I started to love women’s fiction.

I continue to love Lisa’s novels and even though I adored the very first book I read I think each one she writes gets better and better and she’s clearly evolved as a writer over the years and she isn’t afraid to tackle some serious issues. Lisa’s eleventh novel (The House We Grew Up In) will be published in summer (I can’t wait!) but before that, I’m delighted that Lisa is joining us at Chick Lit Central today, as the paperback of her tenth novel, Before I Met You (reviewed here), is now released. You can find out more about Lisa and her novels through her website, Facebook and Twitter. If you haven’t read a Lisa Jewell novel yet, you’re missing out....I promise!

In honor of International Chick Lit Month, Lisa is here today to share some songs from the soundtrack of Before I Met You.

(Please note that this post contains potential spoilers for the novel.)

Once upon a long time ago, before I had children, I used to write to a soundtrack. The concept of writing without music was completely alien to me. I used music to inspire me and to help me build the mood of my set pieces. After the babies came the music stopped. I wanted to be able to hear what they were up to. But I still think that designing soundtracks for movies must be about the best job in the world. I also buy a lot of movie soundtracks because they’re so eclectic and full of unexpected treats. So I was as happy as can be to be asked to put together a fantasy soundtrack for my novel, Before I Met You.

Betty’s scenes:

"Born Slippy" by Underworld
Forget Blur v Oasis, this song was the real soundtrack to the 90s as far as I'm concerned. I remember sitting in a cinema in Soho, watching Trainspotting with my new boyfriend (now my old husband) and thinking I’d never before heard a song that felt as dark and glittering and anxious and exciting as going out at night felt. I would play it over the scene of Betty’s bizarre housewarming party in her bedsit.

"Live Forever" by Oasis
Having said that about Oasis, my new boyfriend (now old husband) put this song on a mix tape for me just after he’d declared his feelings for me. I listened to it at a deserted bus stop in deepest north London at 6.30am the next morning and realised the song was about us. It takes me straight back to the heart of 1995 whenever I hear it. I would use it in the scene in which Betty is travelling around London looking for clues in her hunt for Clara Pickle.

"Alright" by Supergrass
Like Born Slippy, this classic 90s anthem gets a name-check in the book. I was house-sitting in Chiswick when this came out and I remember listening to it on my Sony Walkman as I walked home on my 27th birthday and wondering if I was still technically young. Now when I listen to it, it makes me feel about 70. I can imagine it playing behind the scene were John and Betty are mucking about in Green Park towards the end of the book.

Arlette’s scenes:

"Jazzing Around" by Jim Europe’s Society Orchestra
Unfortunately no recordings of the Southern Syncopated Orchestra remain, but there are still recordings available of other ragtime performers of the early 1900’s. So for one of the scenes where Arlette is watching her lover, Godfrey performing with his orchestra, this one will do. It’s choppy and unsophisticated but just imagine how it would have sounded to the unaccustomed ears of post-War Londoners!

"Souvenir" by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
A song not from 1921 but from 1981. This song has always been on my personal top fifty and I think the bittersweet nostalgic feel of the music would suit the story of Arlette, Godfrey and Gideon very well. It is also an orchestral production, swirling and grand, rather like music of the period. I imagine it as the soundtrack to the scene where Arlette wakes up in Godfrey’s New Cross digs and then arrives at the burning house in Kensington, just before her life changes forever.

Special thanks to Lisa for sharing her soundtrack with us!

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