Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Best - Selling author Jen Cudmore wants to know: "What's on Your PLaylist?"

What's on Your Playlist? The sound of an approaching horse met her ears and she returned to the living room to look out the window. It was Gunner. She headed straight for the door, slowing long enough to grab the Winchester rifle leaning against the wall. “Lynette, wait,” Ma called out behind her. The gun made a clicking sound when she cocked it. “Get off our property.” Gunner halted the mustang, his face grave. “Nettie, I need to talk to you.” “Talking time is over.” He raised a hand in the air. “Come on now, Baby.” Lynette lifted the rifle to her shoulder and leveled the barrel on his chest. Lynette Ellis, the female protagonist from my story Athena Creek, evolved one day when I was listening to Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats." Instead of smashing a truck, I could easily picture a jilted female, with her long braid and billowing skirts, chasing her fiancĂ© from the house with a rifle or stealing his horse in revenge. From there the story took shape into a novel about Lynette's dream of starting over and finding a hero. A feisty woman always makes for an interesting protagonist, and who better to tame her than a marshal! Authors find inspiration from numerous sources. Many of my characters and plot points sprouted from music. My second story, Willow Ridge, was inspired by the song "East to West" by Casting Crowns. In a series about lawmen, there must be at least one outlaw who struggles to overcome his past, and thus, Barrett Walcott was born. To round out his backstory, I was reminded of the testimony of Nicky Cruz, a gang leader turned minister who was never arrested for his crimes. I wanted to convey that sometimes our merciful God doesn't require a punishment.
Although the third story, Castleton, wasn't based of any particular piece of music, I did find several love songs that prompted some of the scenes. I won't bore you with a list, but what I've done to help harness the inspiration is to create specific playlists in my iTunes account. For example, I have a list of fast-paced country songs, 80's love songs, sad lost-my-love songs, and Lindsey Stirling's violin music. I choose the playlist that fits the scene I'm writing to keep me motivated. Honestly, I've even been inspired by High School Musical and Barbie! Go ahead, laugh. It's ridiculous even to me. But this is the way God made me, and it works. Maybe one of these days I'll list on my website which music inspired what scenes/characters/stories. You might be surprised by what you see on the list! Jen Cudmore's first story Athena Creek, separated into two volumes, was just recently released. The next book in The Lawmen of Clayton County series will be available later this summer. For more information, visit

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