Monday, April 25, 2011

Jeri Smith-Ready Dishes on Awesome Shade-y Music + GIVEAWAY!

Holy crap, you guys. Jeri Smith-Ready agreed to do a guest post for me.
But that's not all.
She agreed to do a guest post for me ON MUSIC.
She agreed to do a guest post for me on music FOR SHADE.

This is kind of a big deal. I need to go pass out and/or do somersaults outside.
Time to let the infinitely more eloquent Jeri take over.


Thanks to Jen for hosting my very last purely SHADE guest post before the release of SHIFT!

I have a special reason for being here, discussing the topic of readers and music. You see, last year Jen made me cry. She blogged about a song that made her think of my YA paranormal novel SHADE, “I Remember” by Damien Rice. Go read the post now if you haven’t, and watch the video. It’s all beautiful.

As I said in the comments, not only did the song itself blow me away, but I was so, so touched that Jen thought of SHADE when she heard it. It meant that the book and the characters were real to her.

Music and books are just different ways of telling stories and exploring emotions. For me, songs can drill down deeper into feelings, whether they’re pure and explosive or complex and paralyzing. I wish I could be half the storyteller someone like Damien Rice is.

SHADE, of course, has an official soundtrack, which consists of songs or bands mentioned in the book with a few extra tunes to flesh things out. I wanted to make sure every major turning point in the book had a musical “marker.”

Then I put out a call for soundtrack suggestions that would go toward a “readers playlist,” made up of songs that reminded readers of SHADE. The response was great—people answered on my blog, in e-mails, and on my publisher’s teen-reader site, Pulse It. Based on their contributions and what was available on, I put together this reader playlist:

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

(This playlist is available—with bonus track!—for purchase from iTunes’s iMix site. Note: I make no money off the sales of my iMixes—I just like to spread the word about bands I love.)

Isn’t it awesome? Readers rock!

I tried to put the songs in order of where I thought they would correspond to the book, at least as I interpreted them, so that the playlist itself would tell a story. For instance, “Come On Get Higher” by Matt Nathanson is near the beginning, when Logan and Aura’s future looks bright and carefree. Then “Just Friends” by Gavin DeGraw is clearly about Logan figuring out the Zachary means more to Aura than just a study partner. And “Roses” by Meg and Dia had to occur near the hospital scene, for obvious reasons (obvious if you’ve read SHADE, and if you haven’t stay tuned for a chance to win a signed copy).

But of course I also tried to make the songs flow into each other and give the soundtrack a good rhythm. That’s part of the art and fun of building a playlist—I guess it’s a lot like being a DJ. Just like with a book, I sometimes have to cut some of my favorite songs (scenes) because they make it drag on too long, or just don’t fit the overall feel.


(please review contest/privacy policies prior to entering)

Answer Jeri's questions below and leave your email for a chance to win!

So what about you? Do certain songs make you think of characters in your favorite books or movies? Do you listen to movie soundtracks to remind yourself of your favorite scenes? Do you make up playlists for books or look for authors' playlists online?

We’ll draw a winner May 13, 2011 from the comments to win a copy of the SHADE paperback, which was just released this month. And be sure to check out my blog tomorrow for a link to Logan’s playlist, “Sucks to Be a Ghost (Sometimes),” kicking off the SHIFT blog tour.

Thanks for listening!

Jeri Smith-Ready’s next release is SHIFT (May 3), the second in the YA ghost trilogy that began last year with SHADE (which just came out in paperback April 5). She loves to hear from readers, so please visit her at her site, or better yet, on Facebook or Twitter, where she spends far too much time.


  1. Awe I love this post! I just love music as well as books so I loved to see a playlist to go along with shade. Awesome awesome songs btw.

  2. This is so awesome. I'm bookmarking it now so when I read Shade (*hides*) I can listen along! :)

  3. Woo I have a lot of these in my itunes already! Love playlists!

  4. I love the idea of pairing books with music, this is fabulous! I've never been very good at pairing them on my own though-so this helps immensely especially since I just bought Shade.

  5. I love having a playlist to go with a book. I love listening to music as i read.

  6. Interesting question. I'm going to comment with the FIRST song/book connection I remember making. It was . . . 1982 or 1983? I was reading The Thornbirds by Colleen McCullough, and the Fixx's Red Skies became vividly connected in my mind with the book. Probably evoking the "fire on Drogheda!" scene. I haven't reread it, but I still think of it whenever I hear the song.


    I listen to music ALL the time when I read! And before I start a book, I always search out the author's website to see if they have a playlist! I always prefer it when they do because then I don't have to choose my own songs - although sometimes I do isn't that bad! ;)

    I like listening to songs that relate back to the book somehow, some way. But that's not always the case - sometimes I listen to a song because overall, it's just perfect for the book!

    I think music enhances one's reading experience. I've become really good with not listening to the lyrics of the song and just reading it. It kind of becomes background music.

    But what I love about listening to music while I read is sometimes the book and the music run parallel to each other's hard to explain but YES, music is always a must for me.

    And Jeri! Awesome list! I love half the songs on there! :)


  8. Shoot, I got so wrapped up in answering the questions, I forgot my email. Here it is:


  9. Those are some awesome songs!

    I've listened to so many songs that remind me of books, such as "Everywhere" by Michelle Branch for Kissed by an Angel by Elizabeth Chandler. I also love listening to movie soundtracks, like those from Inception, Beastly, The Chronicles of Narnia, and many more. I love finding out about authors' choices for songs that correlate to their books. One of my favorite questions to ask when I can communicate with an author is whether they have a specific playlist that flows alongside the novel.

    Also, thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  10. This was such an interesting post - thanks Jen and Jeri!

    I have to be honest, I don't listen to music much while reading. I mean, it's usually on, but I don't think about it all once I really get into a book.

    I don't know if this makes me a masochist or not but if I'm crying in a book, I want to really cry. To help this, I sometimes put on extra sad music that tends to make me cry when I'm feelin' emotional anyway. Some examples are: When You're Gone by Avril Lavigne and Desperate by David Archuleta.

    The only real exception for this is Harry Potter in which I love listening to Hedwig's Theme :D

    I do like listening to playlists for books if they're available but normally not until after I've read the book so I can just relax and digest the music.

    Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  11. Love this, LOVE Jeri -- she is so kind and interactive with her readers -- love Shade, love Shift, LOVE Makeshift Bookmark...aka total lovefest.

  12. I started doing this about 4 years ago with manuscripts. This is the first I've heard of it with a published book, though. Congrats.

  13. ah! Amaze! Best series in the history of ever! Love all the songs *blows nose* they make me sooo *sniffle* HAPPY, because they are so *hiccup* Aura, Logan & Zachary!

    p dot s- i was not crying at all listening to them #InDenial :P
    p dot s s- you know you're on twitter too much when you hash-tag in blog posts! lol

  14. Oh this whole guest post is full of AWESOME!! Thanks to you Jen I have read & LOVED Shade!! I can't wait to go buy Shift on May 3rd!!!

    Most people who know me, know how much music plays a huge role in my life. I find a soundtrack for EVERYTHING. Always have. One of the best things about reading is being able to find a song (or band) that connects with that story or that character. I DO IT ALL THE FREAKING TIME!!

    I just finished reading the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty (2 days ago!) and that last & final book is still stuck to me. I can't pry it off. However, I'm not sure I want to? I've listened to the song "Breathe Me" by Sia for awhile now, but when I heard it yesterday I immediately thought of Jessica & Marcus. Wow! The song talks about going back to the one thing that keeps hurting us (yet loving us at the same time) and having no one else to blame but yourself. So much of their relationship was that.

    Thank you for the awesome playlist Jeri! and thank you Jen for hosting!

  15. I do indeed associate certain songs with certain books. I listened to Norah Jones the whole time I read Beautiful Creatures and now every time I listen to Norah, I think of that book!

    I have never made a custom playlist before...but I love that idea! A good challenge, methinks.

    I would love to win a copy!

    Thanks for such an awesomely creative post! LOVED it

  16. I do this all the time. Connecting songs to movies, books and characters. You see alot of it on my blog where I do mini book playlists on my reviews. I love when authors post playlists too because there are some things that are slightly spoilery, and because it kind of shows me where their head is at when they wrote the book or what the characters are like.

  17. Forgot email!

    I love reading and listening music.. and sometimes I listening music which suitable with the book I read..
    love it..!! love it.!! love it

    and thanks a lot to make it internationally..

  19. I can't listen to music as I read...messes my head up. but I do like going back after I read a book and seeing what the authors listened to or what song they put in a scene.
    thanks, mandy

  20. So what about you? Do certain songs make you think of characters in your favorite books or movies? Do you listen to movie soundtracks to remind yourself of your favorite scenes? Do you make up playlists for books or look for authors' playlists online?

    Oh, absolutely!! I have playlists on iTunes for Eomer (LOTR), Valek (Poison Study), Commodore Norrington (Pirates), and a bunch of others. I listen to the soundtracks all the time and have the scenes memorized. I also try to download author playlists as much as possible so I can feel like I'm somehow sharing in the creative process.

    Awesome post!!

  21. I love seeing authors posting their playlists. I don't listen to movie soundtracks so much anymore, but back in the day some of them really made me think of certain scenes. (For example, "Unchained Melody" will always make me think of the pottery scene in Ghost...)

    Thank you for the giveaway! These look like great books.

    TweetyB99 at aol dot com

  22. They do! I love putting music to books. I don't usually make a playlist but I do pick and choose certain songs for certain scenes in a book. I love to see it authors made a playlist. If they do I listen to while reading the book or after and try to guess what song inspired which scene!

    Great giveaway!

  23. To be honest, I don't really... When I'm reading a book, even if there is music playing in the background, it barely registers. Once in a while, I might associate a book with a certain song or tune, but only for the book as a whole, not for separate scenes. For example, when I was reading Lament by Maggie Stiefvater, I had Irish tunes stuck in my head for days! Or when I was reading The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde I kept imagining sinister scenes with that atmospheric music you find in films when you know you are waiting for something to happen!

    Great guest post and great giveaway! Thanks!

  24. Hey everyone, thanks so much for all your comments! I love to hear people discuss my two big loves, books and music. I am definitely writing down some of these bands and songs you're mentioning--absolutely ravenous for new listens.

    Good luck in the drawing!

  25. I like to have music associated to books and movies. more than half the music on my Ipod comes from playlists the authors and fans make.

  26. I love shade. It seemed to close to me, considering I live in maryland and I know all the places mentioned in the book. I love your music choices in the book and I can't wait to download them for my ipod. For every book that I read, I have to make an ongoing playlist. So many 'On-The-Go' playlist on my ipod. Lol. Books and Msic go hand-in-hand for me. I also enjoyed the actual playlist made for the book. Alot of the songs are already on my ipod :]loveloveloveeeeeeee Death Cab for Cutie, Dashboard Confessional, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and more on the soundtrack<3

  27. Ever since I read Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon, every time I hear Bon Jovi I can't help but remember the book, especially if it's Save Me. Soooo cute! *_*
    Thank you for this awesome chance! :))

    kah_cherub at hotmail dot com

  28. I think songs do remind me of scenes in movies because when you hear a song, you will then associate that song with a scene in the movie that you enjoyed.

  29. SOme songs do remind me of books. Don't make music for books, though

  30. I don't usually associate music with books unless the author specifically writes about a song!


  31. I love books and music! So it makes sense to put them together! I'm just not very good at it. Every once in a while I think of about one song that describes a book, but not most of the time. I do love when people share a list of songs that go along with a book! =)

  32. I love this soundtrack. Some of those songs I have never heard before and love to add new music to my IPOD. Thanks

    hootowl1978 at gmail dot com

  33. I do have songs in mind for books, and strangely enough all of them are always either alternative or acoustic. I don't make playlist but i just listen to the over and over on loop. maybe i do make a playlist lol but its long list for just 1 playlist.

    TValeros18 @ gmail [dot] com

    Thanks for this chance for your giveaway!!

  34. i definitely need to read this! i've been hearing SO much hype about shade! i have to say though, my favorite music connection is the official playlist to the perks of being a wallflower :)

  35. I am so SO glad I'm not the only one who hears books in songs! I loved reading this post and it made me want to read Shade even more :) I've heard so many good things about it from Lindsi from Books, Sweets, and Other Treats.

    Two books I love that have a lot of music references in them are Amy & Roger's Epic Detour and Audrey, Wait! I enjoyed the soundtrack to both books because it made them seem so much more alive! There are a lot of Jimmy Eat World songs and Snow Patrol songs I relate to in lots of YA books, among other good music!

    Great post, Jen! :) I'm really excited to read this now!


  36. As a music major, I'm always hearing music when I read books. Because I'm classically trained on the piano, I often relate scenes in the books to classical pieces. Mostly Chopin!

    There's something special about the way music can draw out the little details in books. Where words are amazingly detailed, music has a way of taking those words and giving them meaning. When I listen to music and read, I can see it, feel it, smell it, and obviously hear it.

    A soaring crescendo as the book scene escalates makes my heart start beating in double time. I love, love, love having a music soundtrack on while I read.

    Thanks for this lovely post, and I'll definitely be listening to this music list!


  37. If I'm listening to a CD when I'm reading a book, I always associate that book with that music. Songs and music can bring back deep and emotional feelings from my past. One song can remind and make me feel something I haven't thought about or felt in years. It's amazing what music can do.

  38. I read all the Harry Potter books about a year ago. At that time I was really getting into One Republic. Now anytime I listen to any of their songs I always go back to Harry Potter. For instance when I hear Mercy I always think about Snape. Lol. I love it.