I was wrong.
Lisa finished the whole damn book over the course of her 48 hour hospital stay. I'm not sure if that's a testament to her stubbornness or the amazingness of XVI, but I'm leaning toward the latter. Lisa phoned in her review and said, "It's sort of like a sexed up 1984. I literally could not put it down! I can't wait for this one to be released so we can all talk about it."
Luckily, Julia invited us to be a part of her 16 weeks of XVI blog tour so we get to talk about the book right now. For each of the 16 weeks of the tour, Julia's going to talk about a specific aspect of her book.
Week 16 - Julia's favorite things about Chicago (where the novel is set)
Week 15 - Julia answered 15 questions about vegetarianism (her main character is a vegetarian)
Week 14 - Julia discussed banned books, which feature in her novel
1. Can you tell us a little bit about what inspired you to write XVI?
XVI was a NaNoWriMo novel. The whole idea behind NaNo is "no plot/no problem!" Well, a few days prior to the start of NaNo, I had this image pop into my head of a sort of Manga-looking punk rock girl, just trying to make her way through the day in a city full of noise and homeless people. The book grew organically from that vision.
2. Were there any specific "message songs" that inspired the book?
Not really. Although I can certainly look back and see connections with certain songs. "For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield is probably one of the most connected.
3. A lot of those songs are from the 60's, do you think there are parallels between 1960's Chicago and the Chicago portrayed in XVI?
I do. In the 1960's, the first Mayor Daley was running the city. A person could feel pretty safe, if they knew how to maneuver through the system. Of course, there were lots of things wrong with that system - but it's the way things were. You learned to live in/with it - or you left. Of course, in XVI, Nina doesn't have the choice of leaving.
4. Chicago has a fantastic music scene, did you have any specific clubs or venues in mind when you wrote the concert scenes in XVI?
Funny you should ask that. Yes. Yes, I did. When I lived in Chicago there was a little all-ages club called Like Young. Definitely the place to be. It was kind of dark with utilitarian tables and just enough room to dance until close. My friends and I practically lived there on the weekends! (And, I still love to dance!)
5. Do you think "message songs" are dead? Are there any current bands or songs that come to mind?
I think message songs will always be around. The arts are a great way to say things with relative impunity. (Although there is that ugly-headed beast known as censorship always lurking around!) Currently - Neil Young, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, R.E.M., and Tom Waits, are keeping the "messages" alive. I know there are others - perhaps some commenters will name a few!
6. How do you use music in your writing?
Well, I have to have it QUIET when I write. Otherwise, I just can't concentrate. But, when I know I'm heading for a marathon writing session, I spend some time filling my head with songs I listened to when I was a teenager. Why? Because it puts me back in that time of my life and I can remember exactly how I felt. I think that's one of the amazing things about music, at least for me - I identify certain times and events of my life with certain songs and music groups. As in - I cannot hear Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys without thinking of Oak Street Beach in Chicago. Or, Black is Black by Los Bravos without being taken right to the outside of a little coffee house in the basement of a church just north of Old Town in Chicago. And, Groovin' by the Young Rascals - Lincoln Park on a sunny day. So - although I don't have playlists or listen to music as I write - I couldn't write without music. Heck, I don't think I could live without music!
Here's a list of 13 "Message Songs" from the 1960's. Unfortunately, they are mostly still relevant today!
Blowin' in the Wind - Bob Dylan / Peter, Paul & Mary
Eve of Destruction - Barry McGuire
Let's Get Together - The Youngbloods
Fortunate Son - Credence Clearwater Revival
For What It's Worth - Buffalo Springfield
Abraham, Martin & John - Dion
Imagine - John Lennon
Everyday People - Sly & the Family Stone
Vietnam - Country Joe McDonald & the Fish
Ohio - Crosby, Stills & Nash
I Am Woman - Helen Reddy
One Tin Soldier - Joan Baez
War - Edwin Starr
In order to be eligible to win a CD by one of these amazing artists (winner's choice), be sure to leave a comment. The contest will end next Thursday at midnight! Even if you don't win this week - you'll be eligible (and entered) in the GRAND PRIZE drawing on 1/6/11.
So - comment - and then go out and stand up for something right!
And be sure to check out what the other Bookinistas are up to...
Kirsten Hubbard gives props to Between Shades of Gray
Shannon Messenger brings us Cover Love and a Teaser for Desires of the Dead
Elana Johnson is a fan of HER AND ME AND YOU
Christine Fonseca is enthralled by GIRL, STOLEN
Shelli Johannes-Wells gives us a Paranormal Preview
Myra McEntire shares some Trailer Love
Carolina Valdez Miller adores NIGHTSHADE CITY
Jamie Harrington is awed by ACROSS THE UNIVERSE
Michelle Hodkin gives props to LIKE MANDARIN