But just what is inspiration? As a writer you work to improve your craft through techniques, writing exercises, or attending workshops. This is the technical aspect all writers need to do.
But where does that dreamy quality come from then? That flash of idea that pushes our fingers to fly over the keyboard? For me its music that pushes me to new emotions that envelop my characters. Some writers listen to music while writing. Some write in total silence. I listen to music before I write. In A Human Element I gave my characters and scenes theme songs that inspired me to write the book. And when I drew near the end of the book I listened to their theme songs more and wrote slower, for I didn’t want the characters to leave me. I wanted them to stay. And here are their songs.
In A Human Element, Laura Armstrong has an early foundation of love and a free-spiritness about her that carries her through life, even as tragedy follows her. Hope keeps her going and the memory of love. Her song “Incredible Machine (Interlude)” by Sugarland calls to me of Laura’s gentle strength. For, like the song, Laura has ‘a heart that beats. An incredible machine made of blood and love and hope and lust and steam’.
Laura looked back up at him. She remembered all the people she had lost in her young twenty-six years. She didn’t want to lose Ben too, but she feared getting too close. She could lose him too. Then something swelled inside her. She barely recognized it. It was hope that maybe love could win out over evil and Ben would be the one to help her stop it. She hoped.
And then she could only think of one word to say to him.
Ben is a loner who exiles himself from life after suffering at the hands of cruel and pitiful characters. He is Laura’s opposite twin of darkness to her hope and yet he is cut from the same song, “Incredible Machine” by Sugarland. Only Ben’s song is the primitive version of the song, full tilt. For he too is ‘an incredible machine made of blood and love and hope and lust and steam’. A raging machine.
Ben fell into a deep sleep but couldn’t escape the night. In his nightmares the Samoans laughed as they whipped him. His foster father joined them, snapping the whip on his back and cursing him for letting him die. Murderer! Then he fell off a cliff. The wind rocked his body but didn’t push him back to safety.
He screamed as he fell into the darkness. He tried to grab onto something but it was a black, empty abyss. Then a bright green light appeared above him. It grew larger and larger. He shielded his eyes as he fell, terrified. The green light rushed faster and faster towards him. It came for him. It would crush him just like it crushed his parents.
And he knew he was headed straight to hell.
Laura and Ben’s Songs:
Ben finds himself drawn in by Laura. “Come a Little Closer” by Dirks Bentley reveals their tenderness together that exists outside the dark that follows them.
He wanted to love this woman. He wondered what he was to do with this new feeling. Could he feel love for a woman finally at thirty-six years old? It felt foreign and terrifying yet it pulled him in like an addiction.
“I’m not going to let you go. Not yet, anyways,” he told Laura, as she slept. “But you just might let me go when you find out my past. Can I keep it from you?”
In keeping love in her heart, Laura tries to teach Ben that love never forgets. “Love Remembers”. And this is their song by Craig Morgan.
Ben withdrew from her and fell back into bed. “No one ever showed me love before. I haven’t known love since my parents died. I guess I forgot what it was.”
Ben stared at the ceiling with his hands under his head. She sensed he tried to resist telling her his deepest feelings. Laura could see his profile clearer now as the room grew lighter with sunrise.
She felt him freezing up on her. “Love remembers.”
“Does it?” He twitched his mouth and shook his head. “I don’t know if I believe it.”
Ben and Laura, unravel a frightening mystery that binds them together and they find themselves in a race to stop a mad man. When hope falls away they fall into one another. One more night may be all they have left. “Tonight” by Sugarland is their song as they grasp ‘a lifetime for a day would be an even trade. I know how it feels to breathe with you beside me’.
“Do you still want me?” Laura’s voice cracked, with need and emotion.
“What do mean?”
“I’m not all …you know…real.” She hid her face in his arm holding her. She wanted one more night with Ben. Then she could say goodbye. But just let me have one more night.
“You are real. You’re the most human person I’ve ever known.”
She just looked at him and tilted her head, unsure what to believe. Ben’s feelings burned over her, leaving her awash in want and need and belonging.
There comes a time in A Human Element when Laura finally loses hope, yet Ben’s heart breathes hope for the first time in years. Hope that Laura won’t give up on him. He can’t forget her and for him “Every mile a memory” by Dirks Bentley haunts him.
So Ben held her and murmured words of reassurance to her. He loved her. They could make a life together. It was over. But it didn’t matter in the end, after all. When he woke up she was gone.
He stood at the motel window overlooking fields that graced the highway. Trucks roared by to their destination. He had no destination now, without Laura.
He watched the sun rise on another day, determined to find her.
The villain: X-10’s songs:
X-10 is a tormented man, unloved and forgotten. Is that enough to forgive the awful acts he commits? Music from the Gladiator soundtrack by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard permeated the writing of X-10 including the battle scene, barbarian horde, and now we are free. Who is this X-10? Part man, part other-world, part mad man, part lost soul? Find out for yourself. These songs reveal the dark emotions within this villain.
X-10 tore off his remaining clothes as he ran. He was finally free of all that held him in the human world. He would show them. They couldn’t hurt him. So pathetic were these humans who needed one another. They were weak in mind and of mortal flesh. They could not kill him. If they injured him he would heal himself.
He was not human. He was the strong one. He would survive.
He needed no one.
How does music inspire you in writing? Does it help you capture that extra emotion in your characters and what they do? For me I couldn’t write without it. And now my characters will come back to me as I write the sequel, A Hidden Element. Oh, how I’ve missed them.
About A Hidden Element
One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next.
Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test.
With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.
Readers who devour paranormal books with a smidge of horror and steam will enjoy A Hidden Element, the new novel about loss, redemption, and love.
Reviewers are saying…
“A Hidden Element is an elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart. Highly recommended.” –Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author of ASSASSIN’S CODE and DEAD OF NIGHT
“A Hidden Element is a haunting look at what it means to be human. It’s a suspenseful ride through life and love…and death, with a killer so evil you can’t help but be afraid. An excellent read.” –Janice Gable Bashman, author of WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE, nominated for a Bram Stoker Award.
About the Author:
Donna Galanti is the author of the dark novel A Human Element (Echelon Press). She won first place for Words on the Wall Fiction at the 2011 Philadelphia Writer’s Conference. Donna has a B.A. in English and a background in marketing. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, The Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group and Pennwriters. She lives with her family in an old farmhouse in PA with lots of nooks, fireplaces, and stinkbugs. Visit her at: www.donnagalanti.com
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