Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Author K.L. Going shares about Music as Inspiration

Dear Friends,

Please welcome my very dear friend and Award Winning (and brilliant) author, K.L. Going, to the Holiday Bookfest and giveaway! Despite her many accolades and achievements, KL is an all around fabulous and grounded person!
K.L. Going
BIO--K.L. Going is the award winning author of numerous books for children and teens. Her first novel, Fat Kid Rules the World was named a Michael Printz Honor Book by the American Library Association, and was included on YALSA’s Best Books for Young Adults list and their list of Best Books for the Past Decade. Her books have been Booksense picks, Scholastic Book Club choices, Junior Library Guild selections,  NY Public Library Best Books for the Teenage, and winners of state book awards. They’ve been featured by Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Kirkus, and Children's Book Council as Best Books of the year. Her work has also been published in Korea, Italy, Japan, Germany, and the UK, and her novel Fat Kid Rules the World is now an independent film. It premiered at the SXSW film festival and won an Audience Award.

K.L. began her career working at one of the oldest literary agencies in New York City. She used this inner knowledge of publishing to write Writing and Selling the Young Adult Novel -- a how-to book for aspiring writers, published by Writer's Digest. She has also written short stories for several anthologies and currently has multiple picture books under contract. She lives in Glen Spey, NY where she both writes and runs a business critiquing manuscripts. She’s also a mom to the world’s cutest little boy.
(That's the truth!)

To visit KL on-line go to www.klgoing.com, www.facebook.com/klgoing, and http://twitter.com/#!/KLGoing.

                                        Music as Inspiration by K.L. Going

Many people ask about the sources of inspiration for my novels. Honestly, there are many of them: personal experiences, artwork, events in the news, an overheard conversation … but the most consistently powerful is music.

Fat Kid Rules the World was inspired by the music of Nirvana and the in-your-face bravado of vintage punk rock.

King of the Screwups celebrated the wild antics of glam rock.

Even Saint Iggy got its title thanks to one of my favorite musicians, Iggy Pop, with his larger-than-life personality and awkward mix of good guy and bad boy.

My latest novel, Pieces of Why, is also infused with music. Pieces of Why is the story of Tia, a young girl growing up in New Orleans who must come to terms with her father being in prison for murder. The plot is shaped by the deep soul of gospel music and the setting is infused with the distinctive strains of New Orleans zydeco and jazz.

Why is music such a powerful well-spring of inspiration? I think it’s because music captures the essential element of writing: emotion. Writers often talk about plot, character, and setting, and those are all important, but emotion is every bit as crucial, both for the author as we craft our text and for the reader as they experience the story.

My best tip for aspiring authors? Don’t leave out the emotion! And if you find yourself blocked, try letting music move your mind and soul. You might be surprised by the results.

 Review Quotes: Going’s new novel, with its nicely realized New Orleans setting, is a tender, accomplished story about the coming-of-age of a girl whose good intentions are challenged by uncertainties and her efforts to do what is right, even when that’s frightening and painful. Readers will empathize with Tia and wish her well as she struggles to deal with the truth and hold on to her dream.”—Michael Cart, Booklist

 Surrounded by a strong supporting cast, Tia is a sympathetic protagonist searching for that joy, and the answers she needs to rediscover her voice come from some unexpected sources. Going (Fat Kid Rules the World) skillfully tackles topics of race, class, and violence in a moving testament to family and friendship, love and loss, and the power of forgiveness.”—Publishers Weekly
Read more: www.klgoing.com

 Pieces of Why – Playlist

This is the list of songs I imagine would be on the Pieces of Why Soundtrack! Enjoy!

1. When the Saints Go Marching In
performed by Louis Armstrong – Classic New Orleans!
2. Come on Children, Let's Sing performed
by Mahalia Jackson – Mahalia Jackson is one of Ms.    Marion and Tia's favorite singers and this song showcases the spirit of gospel music.
3. His Eye Is On the Sparrow performed
by Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston is another one of Tia's favorites; this is an example of a slower gospel song.
4. Banks of the Pontchartrain performed
by Nanci Griffith – Tia's mom listens to Nanci Griffith; Lake Ponchartrain is located nearby.
5. Amazing Grace
– performed by The Mississippi Mass Choir – Here's an adult gospel choir showing us how it's done!
6. Deep River performed
by Mahalia Jackson – This is the song that Ms. Marion sings when she gives Tia her lesson.
7. There is Hope performed
by Mississippi Children's Choir – This is exactly the kind of song I imagine Tia's choir singing.
8. My Zydeco Shoes
– performed by Zydeco All-Stars – Not only is zydeco a classic New Orleans sound, but it's also the type of music Keisha's folks would dance to at Le Bon Temps Roule.
9. Burn
-- performed by One Voice Children's Choir – Another example of what I imagine the Rainbow Choir singing; one of the leads reminds me so much of Tia! (Available on YouTube)
10. Heal the World --
performed by CBS Children's Choir (of Seoul Korea) – Children's voices are so powerful! I love the fact that we can watch and listen to singers from all around the world. (Available on YouTube)
11. Note to God
-- performed by Charice – This is the song Tia imagines singing for the Raven woman.
12. Pyramid
-- performed Charice (featuring Iyaz) – This is Keisha and Tia's favorite song that they sing with Kenny at the end.

Thanks for sharing with us, KL. Your post got me thinking about what is the most powerful source of inspiration for my writing. Music is a source, but for me the power comes from nature--long walks in the woods and on the dirt roads where I live and reading poetry. So, dear reader, what about you? What are your sources for inspiration in your writing or in your other creative pursuits?

Please leave a comment below for a chance to win an autographed copy of Pieces of Why
You can just say, "Hi," share your favorite song, or tell us what inspires you--we'd love that! THANK YOU! Don't forget to visit KL's website to learn more about her books and school visits: www.klgoing.com

We'll be back on Saturday with more from KL and I'll announce the WINNER of Pieces of Why!!!!


  1. Everything I write begins with a "spark." That spark is usually an event, but can also be a place or a person. Music can often put me in a particular mood, but when I write, I have to turn the music off or it distracts me.

  2. Thanks for "tuning" in, Kathy, and for adding to the playlist! I'm more the quiet type, too, for the same reason.

    You're entered into the drawing for a chance to win Piece of Why!

  3. Nature is
    my "go-to" source of inspiration and since most of my current project takes place outdoors, the "music" is there for me when I'm in the woods by myself.

  4. Thanks for sharing, Leslie! And nice to hear from you. Nature is the music I love best, too--kindred spirits!

    Your name is entered for a chance to win the autographed book!

  5. This sounds like a great book-- love the connection to music. Since I just won a book off your blog, you don't need to enter me, but I'll share it on social media anyway!

  6. Thank you, Carol, for your thoughtfulness in spreading the word. :o)

  7. What a great idea. I never gave much thought to choosing a soundtrack for my book. Sounds like fun!Thanks for the idea.

  8. Thanks for stopping by, Gayle! I bet Rock Star Santa has some soundtrack ideas for you! ;-) Your name in entered in the drawing!

  9. Well, you know how I feel about music :) (darlene) wonderful article xo

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Darlene, aka Screamin Mama! Your name is entered in the contest for a chance to win PIECES OF WHY!

  10. Great background information Kelly. I, too, have often used music as the emotional background, and sometimes as the 'go-between' to help the plot along or aid in characters' connections and development. Shakespeare often used letters and messengers to help the story move along. I prefer music. I'm glad to see that others do too. Thanks for sharing. And, by the way, New Orleans is home to some of the best street music I've ever heard, and it's the only place for soft-shell crabs.

  11. Wow! Thanks for such a thoughtful (and erudite) comment, Jan! Loved the tidbit about Shakespeare! Your name is entered in the drawing.

  12. I LOVE the playlist! I love having theme songs in my head when I write. Can't wait to read the book!

    1. The playlist is cool, Wendy! Thanks for stopping by. Your name is entered into the contest! See you soon. . .

  13. Pieces of Why sounds amazing. Can't wait to read it!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Natalie, and for becoming a member of the blog! Your name is entered for a chance to win PIECES OF WHY.

  14. Hey KL,

    What insightful comments...it's always intriguing (to read) how writers think, how they process. The radio - music - is always on at my studio. And I must admit - certain music 'drives' me differently. Bu I agree - emotion is key in writing. When I;m printing, good old rock and roll does the truck.
    But when I'm painting...folk does it best. Thanks for the insights and "Pieces of Why' is on my Xmas list. Happy happy!

  15. Thanks, Lindsay, for sharing how different kinds of music work for you as an artist, a writer, and a printer! Your name is entered for a chance to win PIECES OF WHY.

  16. Great advice, Kelly! I love the idea of creating a playlist for your novel. I wish I was able to listen to music *while* I write without getting distracted. Like James Frey:


    Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to reading Pieces of Why!

    1. Thanks for sharing music you love, Jamie. Like you, most music pulls me from the fictive dream. Your name is entered for a chance to win an autographed copy of Pieces of Why. :D