Please welcome Hank Fielder with
Make Someone Happy
Greetings and Happy Halloween! It’s wonderful to join you here at My Fiction Nook.
I’m Hank Fielder and my new MM Fiction novella is called “Make Someone Happy,” and it’s an urban fantasy. I’ve written two previous MM romance novels, both published by Dreamspinner Press.
Each of my novels is unique (that is, not like the others) in terms of characters, setting, even genre. But I think they all have one thing in common. They all were written with music in mind, and all contain references to music.
Music can be a powerful muse for me. Does it have a similar effect on you? How do you harness this energy?
I love to write about “behind the scenes” stuff that goes into creating a fun story, so today my topic is all about music: the music I listen to when I’m writing (name-drop alert), the music that inspires me, and how I decide whether I’m going to reference a song directly in the narrative.
It’s all about choices that go into the structure and building of a story that I hope feels real and well-rounded.
Making these kinds of “background” decisions is one of the best and most fun parts of crafting a story. I’ve heard of the “grocery cart” theory of compiling resonating details that an author can use to create verisimilitude. Maybe I could call my musical process the “playlist package” approach.
When it comes to what I listen to while writing or planning, the specific music needn’t enter the story explicitly. It’s really more about energy and inspiration and drawing out emotion I can try to capture in a new way.
For example, for energy, I love to listen to old disco and have a special place in my heart for British 80s -- Soft Cell, Human League, Depeche mode. My first MM novel, “Emerald Idol,” is set in part in London in the 80s. In that novel I mentioned those groups and their incomparable hits, like “Tainted Love” and “Don’t You Want me.”
Readers either instantly know those songs or perhaps they grow curious and want to seek them out.
I still get pumped up listening to that stuff today, but I don’t reference 80s music in “Make Someone Happy,” which is set in the present.
Since my new story is about what happens when some magic goes haywire, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (I grew up in Wisconsin), in an ordinary place, I wanted to ground the story in the real: the here and now. Hard realistic details like familiar music helps balance us when we take a leap into fantasy (I hope!).
For example, in an early scene my main characters Joe and Andre go to a fictional LGBT bar for a drink, and of course music is playing. I think I could have done worse than to choose Adele for that musical moment when the guys are walking into the bar, coming in off the night street.
The moment when the music of a club washes over you can feel exciting and romantic. It’s part of a fun world we’re entering. I wanted to capture this feeling. And since I love Adele’s music, it was easy to imagine the scene. I listened to Adele foremost on my playlist while writing this tale.
Not mentioned in the story, but building atmosphere in my writing process, are other contemporary musical artists. I just took the newest stuff I enjoy and transferred it to my main character’s tastes. Even if I don’t mention such details directly in a story, this process helps me learn who these characters are. So who does Joe really get into musically? Think Drake, Frank Ocean, Beyonce, Taylor Swift -- the list goes on.
Being a music-lover isn’t a required trait for an author; I wouldn’t presume to suggest that. I know authors who like to write in strict silence.
I need music and my tastes range all over the place. Driving to work, lately, I like music that can double as a caffeine-accelerant. My wake-up music on weekdays is high energy.
When I’m writing in the evenings, it’s music that accentuates the emotion of the story I’m writing.
My partner is getting into jazz, so if we’re having people over we go for up-tempo stuff, from older or vintage recordings (Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald), to Latin, to some truly mind-bending new stuff by American saxophonist Kamasi Washington and Cuban jazz pianist Chuchu Valdes.
My favorite TV show is “Dancing With Stars,” even though I am probably a worse dancer than Rick Perry. If there’s music and dancing, I’m so there!
I like it quiet when I read, or maybe with a bit of classical playing softly.
On Sunday mornings, the tradition at our house is a few hours of classical music with our coffee as we slob around in our sweatpants. I’m getting into choral music, too, and my favorite composers are Bach and Mozart.
I also like plenty of country music, and I like Christmas music -- the more the merrier, come December (I know I’m not alone in this!).
Just sitting there listening to music is, for me, a gift that keeps on giving.
But before too long, I’m back to my laptop, working away on the loves and lives of my characters. Music is an indispensable tool in my tool-kit. The way it drives emotion in a story reflects how it enriches my everyday life.
A lot of the fun of creating something like a story is joining in a larger world of creativity, beauty, and goodness. The achievements of the artists filling up my room with their heartfelt songs helps me shoot for the moon.
About the book:
|Cover Design: Paul Richmond|
Massage therapist Joe Wells is in a little over his head with his first job at the posh Magic Touch Sports Spa. He’s also secretly falling for his friendly, sexy coworker, the top-notch masseur Andre Swift. All the clients clamor for Andre, and so far none have taken to Joe.
On the verge of being fired, Joe saves the life of a mysterious kitten belonging to a white witch, who grants him a wish: a magic touch that could save his job and maybe even win him Andre’s love and respect. As Joe’s stock at the spa rises to crazy and barely manageable levels of success, demand for Andre’s services drops off. Will Joe lose Andre to an out-of-control spell? Or worse—Andre’s love might prove to be only a result of the magic, just like Joe’s sudden talent.
Format: e-bookGenre: Urban Fantasy (Fiction)
Publisher: Dreamspinner PressPublication
Date: October 26, 2016
Get the book:
About the author:
Hank Fielder is from Wisconsin and has lived in London and California. A passionate devotee of soulful romantic music, he has worked a variety of jobs, but his favorite occupation is storyteller. He counts his blessings every night before bed. His published books and stories include MAKE SOMEONE HAPPY, EMERALD IDOL, WHEN WE PICKED APPLES LAST AUTUMN, and CHRISTMAS IN THE JOINT
Visit him online at his blog and on Twitter at @HankFielder on Twitter.
Promotional post. Materials provided by the author.