Character Theme Songs: Reg

A friend of mine, Jenn Burke, has a series of posts called ‘Audibly Inspiring’. I find her choices interesting and, well, inspiring. We have similar tastes in music, but differ enough to find new musical crushes in one another’s playlists. After reading back through a few of her posts, I decided to start my own collection of musical musings.

(This ramble may or may not be related to the fact I recently figured out how to link YouTube videos to my posts.)

A lot of writers find music inspiring. I know I do. Oddly, though, I don’t often listen to music while I’m writing. I used to. Back in the fan fiction days (I say that as if they were sooo long ago, when really, they’re not; I posted a story just last month), I listened to a lot of music while I wrote. It seemed a natural part of the process and I often chose artists and songs that inspired the character I planned to write that day.

I did not write Less Than Perfect under any musical inspiration. But, afterwards, when asked if Reg had a theme song, I felt really bad that he didn’t! And it seemed as if I’d done one of my characters a great disservice by not loving him enough to give him one, to have even thought about giving him one. I put a lot of thought into what he looked like, after all.

Want a peek? You know you do.

Model Ben Hill served as inspiration for Reg. Lovely, isn’t he? (If you’re not attracted to men, you need not answer that. I’ll understand.)

I chose Mr. Hill to represent Reg because he had the sort of face I imagined Reg might have: good looking, but not so absolutely stunning he seemed unreal. He needed to be ‘less than perfect’. To me, this is the face of a man who looks like, well, a man. He might care about what colour his shirt is, but he’s not going to spend all day dithering in his closet. He’s forgotten to shave for a week or more, but it’s the apocalypse. There are more important things to think about than personal grooming. Still,  he has an over all clean-cut sort of look about him. And he smells nice. All forest-y.

So, when choosing a theme song for Reg, I took his looks into account. This gave me an excuse to scroll through my (not creepy) collection of photos references. I also thought about what sort of man he is and here is where I got my first hint of what his song might be. He’s a reluctant hero.

I love writing reluctant heroes. I agree that some of us are born heroes. We have a driving need to serve and protect. I say that as if I’m one of the few, the proud… I think when push came to shove, I’d stand up and fight, okay? Anyway, back to my reluctant heroes. We have those who are born, and then, we have those who are made. The folks who who will stand up and fight, not because they have to, or not necessarily because they believe in a cause, but because it’s the right thing to do. Because they want to protect something important to them. It might be something small and selfish, but more usually it’s an ideal, one they might not even be able to articulate. Am I making sense? They fight because they have to. But lack of choice does not mean lack of conscience. Once involved, they become invested.

Reg is one of these men and he shares this trait with a lot of my heroes. So when it came to choosing a song for him, I picked the same one I use for my Warden, Aedan Cousland: “Superman (It’s not Easy)” by Five for Fighting.

This is a beautiful song. Listening to it has reduced me to tears on several occasions. It’s annoying when I’m driving. But, I think that regardless of reference–mine, yours or the artist’s–this is a song many of us can relate to.

The story does not end there, though. Characters should be mutable, in my opinion. Even after you set them down on paper you can discover new facets. I recently stumbled across another song that I thought suited Reg very well. It’s a more cynical take than I had imagined for him, but the earnest soulfulness of the melody really seemed to speak for him.

Ironically, it’s the theme song for the video game Borderlands 2: “Short Change Hero” by The Heavy.

Okay, that’s it for Reg, so far, but the search for music that inspires the voices in my head is an ongoing thing. Even characters who no longer get written still pluck at my thoughts and, now and again, I collect a new song for them. I have playlists over on YouTube devoted to each one. Yes, this means I’ll be writing more Musical Muse posts 😀 Enjoy!

My Three Favourite Things

My three favourite things in fiction are: apocalypses, aliens and love stories. It’s an odd combination and you don’t often find all three in one book. Aliens and apocalypses can skip hand in hand down a desolate road together, but the end of the world isn’t necessarily a great time to fall in love. But a heart wants what a heart wants, and there is something about flinging people together in circumstance and seeing how they fall together (or apart).

To read more, please visit Urban Fantasy Investigations who were kind enough to host my rambling self today as part of the virtual book tour for Less Than Perfect.

(Image credit: Environment: POST-APOCALYPSE by inetgrafx)

Spotlight: Kelly Jensen – Author, Gamer, and . . . Fan Baker?

Jenn Burke is a good friend of mine. We’ve been writing and gaming together since 2009. That’s a lot of words and (and a lot of bloody, violent deaths). In the following interview, Jenn wrings a few more words from me (like it’s hard) by asking me about my favourite moments in gaming. I had a great time reminiscing with her and thinking about the future of games.

Spotlight: Kelly Jensen – Author, Gamer, and . . . Fan Baker?.

Giveaway and Blog Tour

Less Than Perfect releases today!

Mickey's Box of Books
Mickey’s Box of Books

For the next two weeks, I’ll be visiting book blogs to talk about my novella, Less Than Perfect. There will be interviews and a couple of rambles about my characters, Mikayla and Reg, and my three favourite things, which would be aliens, apocalypses and love stories. Follow along for the chance to win Mickey’s Box of Books.

Inside, you’ll find two of Mickey’s favourite books: A Wrinkle in the Skin by John Christopher and Alas Babylon by Pat Frank. Also included are two Entangled titles: Gravity by Melissa West and The Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt. Because this is Mickey’s Box of Books, there is also a journal and a couple of pens. Here’s hoping the winner does not have to carry this box through an alien apocalypse!

Read an excerpt of Less Than Perfect and follow the blog tour! Here is the list of stops. Entries for the giveaway are available each day:

LTP 500[1]

Mikayla’s read every book in her collection of post-apocalyptic novels at least twice. She thinks she’s prepared for aliens taking over Earth. She’s not.

Nor is she prepared for the attention of a good-looking refugee named Reg.

All Mikayla and Reg want is a safe place to see out the end of the world, hidden away from the aliens that call themselves The People, but cities of the depopulated United States not infested with The People are rife with gangs, the detritus of civilization and disease.

On a mission to restock their supplies, Mikayla and Reg are captured by The People and prepared for the procedure that will make them perfect, but no longer quite human. In order to escape, they need to rely on each other…if Mikayla can trust a man who seems too good to be true.

Less Than Perfect

Less Than Perfect

Mikayla’s read every book in her collection of post-apocalyptic novels at least twice. She thinks she’s prepared for aliens taking over Earth. She’s not.

Nor is she prepared for the attention of a good-looking refugee named Reg.

All Mikayla and Reg want is a safe place to see out the end of the world, hidden away from the aliens that call themselves The People, but cities of the depopulated United States not infested with The People are rife with gangs, the detritus of civilization and disease.

On a mission to restock their supplies, Mikayla and Reg are captured by The People and prepared for the procedure that will make them perfect, but no longer quite human. In order to escape, they need to rely on each other…if Mikayla can trust a man who seems too good to be true.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indigo | iTunes | Kobo

.

Excerpt

Calm preparation did not carry the same strength as blind panic. The effort required to slide the panel back surprised me. How had I managed to shift it before? Remembering my earlier lament, I called into the hallway as soon as I could.

“Hello! Anybody there?”

For all I knew, I might be summoning my captors, but despite my diminutive stature, stealth had never been something I excelled at. I liked to talk too much.

Small grunts puffed into the hallway as I continued to struggle with the door. As soon as my shoulder fit through, my small, insignificant chest followed, a half smile quirking my lips as I noted the inches a bustier woman might have required.

I questioned the dark again. “Hello?”

A scuff sounded behind me, a soft footfall, furtive, quiet. I strained to hear more, I dared not speak. Something slid along the wall; I bit my lips together over a bubbling scream. Someone breathed out, sucked in another gulp of air. A familiar scent wafted out of the darkness.

“Hello?”

“Mikayla.”

Was that…“Reg.” His name came from beneath my ribs, tore free on a quiet shriek of breath. The sound should have embarrassed me beyond reason.

“Mickey.” Reg sounded as weird as I did—his voice raspy and twisted, strangled almost. Hands found mine, patted, moved up my arm, shoulder, cheek. Another hand found the other side of my face. I felt him lean over me.

Lips brushed my nose and I whispered, “Missed me.”

Not help me, save me, holy crap we’re going to die, but missed me? I had tipped over some sort of edge.

Lips caught mine.

“Got you,” he whispered back.

Warmth receded as his hands found my shoulders again, then one slid down my arm. Long, strong fingers circled my slender wrist and tugged.

“C’mon.”

I leaned forward and wrapped my arms around Reg. He smelled clean like I did, but still like him. It was the most wonderful smell.

Gently, he pried my arms away from his waist.

“Mickey, we have to go.”

Reviews

“Kelly Jensen deftly weaves an exciting tale of love and survival in post-apocalyptic world. An entertaining read!” 
Allison Pang, author of A Brush of Darkness

“Jensen’s prose is terrific. She pulled me into Mickey’s world in just a handful of pages.”
Daniel Price, author of The Flight of the Silvers

“Kelly’s love of apocalyptic and science fiction shows in this book. She knows how to raise questions and answer only the essential ones.”  
Jennifer Burke, author of Marked

Comments from Goodreads reviews:

“I really was hooked and did not want to stop reading it until I was finished.”

“If you enjoy romance books with the paranormal feel, and are looking for a quick read, then Less Than Perfect would be perfect for you.”

“I love dystopian books and this is a good one.”

“I really liked Mikayla’s character and felt her to be a strong heroine in the end. She really came through.”

Art I commissioned from talented artist Kay Steele:

LessThanPerfect