Star Wars, Publishing, and a Guest Post

So I made it through my first quarter of teaching middle school Language Arts–WooHoo! I’m still loving it and to celebrate, I decided to do a Power Point Presentation with my classes on Wednesday and Thursday (Friday was a teacher work day for report cards) about the Top 10 Things Star Wars Taught Me About Writing, embedded with video clips from the movie to illustrate each point. We also enjoyed Yoda Soda and Wookiee Cookies and had a lot of great discussion. It got me wondering . . . are there any movies that have inspired your writing?

I’m also presenting a workshop titled 18 Things You Should Know About Publishing at the Lee County Reading Council Conference this coming Saturday, so if you have any top tips, please share them with me:-)

And now I have Mara Valderran, author of Heirs of War, to share about what inspires her: Music!

heirsofwar

Soundtrack Series Part 4: Worlds Turned Upside Down

I could really spend more than four posts discussing the music that inspires me to write, but I’m going to contain myself and wrap it up here. So far, I’ve talked about songs that inspire battle cries, broken souls, and broken hearts. But one of the most immediate conflicts in Heirs of War is the fact that the main characters’ worlds have been turned upside down. And fortunately, I have just the songs to help us understand their plights.

Skillet “Awake and Alive”

“I’m at war with the world and they try to pull me into the dark. I struggle to find my faith as I’m slipping from your arms. It’s getting harder to stay awake, and my strength is fading fast. You breathe into me at last. I’m awake, I’m alive. Now I know what I believe inside. I’ll do what I want, cause this is my life. Here, right now, I’ll stand my ground and never back down. I know what I believe inside. I’m awake and I’m alive.”

Isauria has been dreaming about Estridia and all its troubles for years, but I think, in some ways, that world was always more real to her than the one she lived in. If someone had given her the choice to either stay in the world she knew, where she has little to no social connections and felt constantly out of place, or be sent to Estridia with all its war and strife, she would have still chosen Estridia. Estridia felt more real to her. And once she gets there, she finds out she has this power to see other people in her dreams, and feels she has a responsibility to use it. Even though she has to be unconscious to use it, she feels more awake and alive than she ever has before. She has a purpose, and she is holding tight to it and never letting go.

Katy Perry “Wide Awake”

“I’m wide awake. Yeah, I was in the dark, I was falling hard with an open heart. How did I read the stars so wrong? And now it’s clear to me that everything you see ain’t always what it seems. Yeah, I was dreaming for so long.”

Sometimes, worlds getting turned upside down can be really hard and hurtful. That’s exactly how it is for Rhaya. One of my best friends, who knows this series almost as well as I do, actually introduced me to this song and informed me that it was Rhaya’s. After listening to it, I couldn’t agree more. True, Katy Perry might have been talking about a relationship with a person when writing this song, but to me this is about Rhaya’s relationship with the world of Estridia. When she’s first dropped into Anscombe, she loves it. A world full of magic? It’s every fantasy lovers’ dream! But the more she gets to know the world and the society around her, the more problems she sees. She’s forced to realize that she’s been viewing the world through rose-colored glasses, and the fall to reality is very hard for her. It’s something I can’t wait to explore in the next book with her.

That wraps up my musings on musical inspirations for Heirs of War! Thank you, Jamie, for letting me spend some time on your blog! And thank you, readers, for spending that time with me. I’d love to hear what inspires you. Is it music? Or television? Other books?

~Mara Valderran
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10 comments on “Star Wars, Publishing, and a Guest Post

  1. I have to have a good soundtrack to write. When I was writing the first draft of Little Ragdoll, I was mostly listening to The Hollies and The Four Seasons, so much so that my mental picture of my protagonist’s eventual husband is a very young Graham Nash.

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