Music is something that has played, and still plays, a significant role in my life. About 95% of the time, I've got some song or other stuck in my head, and when I listen to my favorite music, familiar and comforting songs, it sends me to a warm, fuzzy, safe place.* I've been doing a lot of "nostalgic listening" lately since the COVID craze began: late '90s and early 2000s stuff, some of which I haven't heard since college!
One reason I'm so into music is that I come from a musical family, on my mom's side. She and her 2 sisters and 3 brothers could've been the American version of the Von Trapps. There's a reason their mom had the rule no singing at the table. Because when they sat down to dinner, someone would strike up a tune and get everyone else to join in . . . but then some impish character would change keys, and another would pick a third key, and create quite the cacophony. (Talk about using a talent for good or evil!)
My mom instituted the same rule with her children; we've all inherited musical skill to some degree. Though we probably wouldn't turn chairs on The Voice, we can all stay on pitch and have nice tone. My sister was in honors choir and starred in some school plays/musicals. My brother started a metal band in college (and was a cheerleader!). I know my dad can sing too, but good luck getting him to do it. He's a quiet guy who prefers to hide back in the sound booth . . . though he did buy a bass guitar this year when he retired; I'd love to hear him play it when he gets good!
No one in my family--nuclear or extended--has chosen a musical career, but you should hear us perform "Happy Birthday" at parties! :) At our big Christmas gathering, my mom and sis and I usually sing three-part harmony on "Carol of the Bells" (I take second soprano, between Mom's first and Katey's alto; I love harmonizing). My mom and uncle are on their church's music team, and one of my (eleven) cousins plays four or five instruments and has perfect pitch. Another cousin plays bagpipes at Celtic festivals.
One more nostalgic musical thing I've been thinking about lately: When I was a baby, my mom used to sing me a lullaby I still remember the words to. It's called "Jennifer's Rabbit," by Tom Paxton, but my mom changed the lyrics to "Sarah's rabbit" to make it my own. I was enthralled by her/my adventures with the animals at sea under the moon- and starlight. That sweet song is probably one thing that helped develop my creative mind early on. You can listen to it here. (I still love the ocean and night sky. And animals!)
Music also got me through my high school years, which were extremely rough as I was bullied constantly and my mom was drowning in depression from losing a baby mid-pregnancy (when I was 14). So I used to disappear into music--and books--and try to forget the ugly real world.
. . . Which, I'm happy to say, has lost much of its ugliness for me now that I'm confidently settled into who I am, and finally have a job I'm passionate about and can really throw my talent into!
As for whether my musical background has influenced my writing . . . I wouldn't say it has with Hunter's Moon, but some of my characters do have interesting ringtones. :) It's not mentioned in the book, but I can imagine Melanie listening to quiet, soothing Celtic or classical music to fall asleep on a bad night. I should mention that in book 2 somewhere if I can. (Yes, book 2 *is* coming along, despite the pandemic's wild effects on my brain and emotions! Keep in mind: I'm a turtle, not a rabbit.)
If you've read this far, thanks for putting up with my nostalgia! ;) And if you want to hear the playlist I made for Hunter's Moon, click here.
*With the exception of heavy metal. Haha. Which I love but for a different reason. If I'm playing that genre, it's usually Ticked-off!Sarah or Angsty!Sarah and you should stay away. Or sometimes it's Pumped-up!Sarah who just had something fantastic happen and is really hyper about it and feels like a kickass, awesome lady. LOL, now you know some of the secrets of my inner world . . . or at least have scratched the surface.
Sarah Awa lives in Ohio with two hairy guys and writes books about werewolves.