How a Lullaby Sparked the Darkest Book I’ve Ever Written

Music is a huge part of my life. From the twenty bajillion songs on my iPod to all the bands I’ve been in to Resident Hottie’s mad composing skills, every memory I have comes with its own soundtrack. This probably explains why I love Adam and Mia from Gayle Forman’s IF I STAY series so much. I see a lot of Resident Hottie and myself in their relationship, particularly in why he’s drawn to her:

“I’ve never seen anyone get as into music as you do. It’s why I like to watch you practice. You get the cutest crease in your forehead, right there,” Adam said, touching me above the bridge of my nose. “I’m obsessed with music and even I don’t get transported like you do.” – IF I STAY by Gayle Forman

Music also drives the books I write, and not just because of the insane playlists I put together. All it takes is a particularly brilliant lyric to set me off, sometimes a single harmony, and I won’t be able to stop until I’ve bled every emotion I feel onto the page. It’s a crazy process that takes me deeper and darker each time, but it works. At least Resident Hottie is used to listening to the same eight or nine songs 48 times a day for thirty days straight. He’s my Adam. He gets me.

FLAWED came about four years ago when I stumbled across the lyrics to You Are My Sunshine. Who knew a lullaby about the light of someone’s life would turn out to be so dark? I came away from that writing frenzy with a book about obsession, betrayal, and how easy it is to throw your life away because of misplaced loyalty. FLAWED follows the downward spiral of You Are My Sunshine‘s lyrics closely. I can only hope reading the book affects you as much as writing it affected me.

You Are My Sunshine
© 1940 Peer International Corporation
Original lyrics by Oliver Hood

You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You’ll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don’t take my sunshine away.

The other nite, dear,
As I lay sleeping
I dreamed I held you in my arms.
When I awoke, dear,
I was mistaken
And I hung my head and cried.

I’ll always love you
And make you happy
If you will only say the same.
But if you leave me
To love another
You’ll regret it all some day.

You told me once, dear
You really loved me
And no one else could come between.
But now you’ve left me
And love another
You have shattered all my dreams.

10 thoughts on “How a Lullaby Sparked the Darkest Book I’ve Ever Written

  1. Wow, talk about flipping a line! lol I never noticed it, but those lyrics are a bit downward, huh? Thanks for reminding me that inspiration hides in even the least obvious places! 🙂

  2. You know those wind up musical boxes that play You’re are my sunshine? They always gave me the chills, especially when it get’s really slow before it stops playing. If you make a book trailer this lullaby played slowly would fit your story perfectly. Verse 3 is particularly creepy.

  3. I didn’t know all the lyrics for this. Wow… Definitely makes me even more anxious to read your book.

    I love posts like this–where you get to see how an author was inspired on their book.

  4. Good God! Didn’t even know there were other verses. When I read it the song played slow and creepy in my head. You are a genius woman. And I second the book trailer idea. Would probably be the spookiest thing I’ve seen in years.

  5. I’ve finifhed the book and any time I sing the song burst in tears, I really can’t see right now because I’m still crying and humming the song, I’ve like this for 3 hours now…. I will never sing YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE ever again

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