What is Tuesday Tunes?
Tuesday Tunes is Kaylie Jones Books’ latest series and explores the connection between music and writing. Each month, we’ll invite one person from the Kaylie Jones Books collective to share their playlist, and their writing process, with us. This week, it’s Lauren J. Sharkey.
Who is Lauren J. Sharkey?
Lauren J. Sharkey is the Marketing and Web Coordinator for Kaylie Jones Books, and also serves as an Managing Editor. Sharkey is also the creative nonfiction editor for Reservoir Journal and is Executive Assistant for the James Jones Writers Workshop Retreat in New Harmony, IN. Sharkey’s debut novel, INCONVENIENT DAUGHTER, is forthcoming in 2020, and is loosely based on her experience as a Korean American adoptee.
Lauren, how would you describe your playlist?
LJS: It’s kind of all over the place, lol.
Does music play a role in your current writing project?
LJS: Tremendously. My novel jumps back and forth from several time periods and the music of those time periods is really integral to the story. Additionally, I believe the music we listen to is a reflection of who we are. So, when different characters have certain band posters on their bedroom walls or a song playing in the background, it’s telling of who they are or what might be going on at the time.
How does music factor into your writing process?
LJS: Whenever someone asks me about my writing process, I always say, “I don’t have a writing process.” and, for the most part, it’s been true. Some days I’m really lucky and the words just come and other days I get stood up. But, ever since the Westworld trailer dropped a few months ago, I couldn’t get that tune out of my head. It was soothing and yet epic. When I Googled it, I was surprised it’s actually a cover of Kanye West’s Runaway. While West’s version definitely has a righteous beat to it, I still prefer Ramin Djawadi’s cover and find myself playing it before I sit down to write to sort of get myself in the zone.
Songs like City of Dreams and Unstoppable I throw on whenever I’ve hit a wall and need to psych myself up again. Most of these songs, though, are the songs of my characters.
Is there a particular band band you feel a connection with?
LJS: I’d have to say, without a doubt, Blue October. About ten years ago, I met this guy and I swear, he was one of the most beautiful guys I’ve ever dated. As cliche as it sounds, he had these eyes that just…anyway, on one of our first dates, he played Blue October’s Balance Beam while we were in the car. I immediately went out the next day and bought Argue With a Tree and listened to every song.
That guy is long gone, but Blue October is still one of my favorite bands ever and, funnily enough, one of my dad’s favorite bands as well. Blue October usually swings back to Long Island around October, and we always get tickets to see them. Their front man, Justin Furstenfeld, is one of the best performers I’ve ever seen. He’s actually better live than he is on CD or anything like that.
I think the reason they’ve stuck with me so much is because when you listen to Justin’s music, it gets into your bones. He’s been through some shit and has come out the other side.
He lays everything about himself on the table, and that’s the kind of writer I want to be – someone who leaves everything about themselves out there.
What’s your favorite song on this playlist?
LJS: That’s a tough one lol. I guess, if I had to choose, it would be The Graveyard Near The House by The Airborne Toxic Event. The last few lines of the song, the singer is promising to keep loving the girl – I’m assuming it’s a girl – he loves, even if she dies first. He says he’ll defy everyone who tries to tell him to move on and love her till his last day. I cry every time I hear it because I always worry I’ll be the one left behind. That’s why it’s my favorite – it reminds me what my story is about.