One of the joys of having my own characters and universe to play with is that I keep thinking of ‘scenes between the scenes’ from the novels. Much like DVD extras and missing scenes from films, these are the moments that I haven’t actually committed to paper in the novel, but that I visualise now and again as happening; the inessential, but rather pleasurable ‘gaps’ in the characters’ lives where linear time in the novel moves on, but the reader knows there have been events in between. These tend to occur to me while I’m driving – a song will come on the radio/ipod and I’ll suddenly get a really strong visual of a moment, either included in the novel or a missing extra. Mostly I don’t feel the need to write the extras as scenes – they’re kind of my own private head candy, personal fanfiction for the Little Somerby if you like, but they’re fun to imagine! Although occasionally I’ll squeeze one in here and there if the opportunity arises. So here’s a selection of songs that have triggered these moments, and a brief description of those moments themselves.
Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud
Anna and Matthew, dancing in the evening light in the orchard. Can’t decide if it’s summer or winter, but they’re swaying ‘under the light of a thousand stars’, lost in their own world…
Stevie Nicks – Trouble in Shangri-La
The moment, around a decade prior to the start of Far From the Tree,when Matthew’s world implodes. I visualise the entire duration of the song as a flashback to Matthew’s former married life, ending when his first marriage spectacularly shatters into a million pieces. And the final visual of this moment makes me cry – because that’s exactly what he does, with his four year old daughter in his arms.
Climie Fisher – Love Changes Everything
Although the lyrics aren’t strictly accurate, I love this song as a representation of Matthew’s rather traumatic love life. I imagine him being kind of skittish in a scene (no mean feat if you’re six foot three in your socks!), possibly getting ready for his first date with Anna (don’t worry, no spoilers here!), and panicking over his clothes, his hair, his aftershave…and Meredith not helping, but having a well deserved giggle at her father’s expense! Perhaps if I do a ‘Grey’ and write FFTT from opposite points of view one day, I’ll include this scene ;).
Ed Sheeran – Photograph
This is another one that, at the wrong moment, will make me cry! This song is for pre-FFTT Anna, bruised, bereaved and embattled, after the death of her husband. I imagine her clinging to the photographs as she does her memories, and, late at night, when Ellie is sleeping, staring for hours at that photograph that we all have; the one that sums up a moment we never want to lose. Photographs have a huge resonance in FFTT, and even before the story starts they’re important.
The Ballad of Midsomer County – Seth Lakeman and Lucie Jones
This is a song that I was introduced to, as a lot of people were, by an episode of ITV’s popular cosy crime drama Midsomer Murders. I imagine a kind of montage of village life when I hear this one; scenes from the pub, the village green, the High Street. It’s a real scene setter, and it led to me listening to a lot more Seth Lakeman!
I’m sure there are lots more that will come to me the minute I publish this post, but I hope that’s been a fun foray into the music that creates some of the pictures in my head, especially those that haven’t yet made it to paper :).