Guest Post: When Books and Music Collide

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When I got in touch with Shannon, she said she was intrigued about the way in which I’ve made music and words collide in my fiction. This is my favorite subject, of course. I’ve even rededicated the month of October to the collision of books and music. Rocktober, I call it, and have been recruiting as many friends — and complete strangers — as possible to join in.

I was born a writer and came of age in the 80s, when Madonna and Tears for Fears and Wham! were all big names. Then Bon Jovi hit and I fell in love with hair metal. To a girl in high school, just beginning to flirt with sexuality and the power that comes inside a bra and an hourglass figure, there was nothing better than these men who so clearly worshipped a woman in all the right ways. Okay, as I got older, I figured out the actual level of objectivity going on and decided that, you know, maybe this wasn’t such a healthy thing. But at the time, it was the best. Women had power over men, and I wanted power.

I sought jobs at record stores, college radio stations, stage crews, concert promoters — anywhere I could. I dreamed of working in music. And I kept writing fiction. Simply put, I couldn’t stop. Even worse, the closer I got to graduating college, the more I knew that no matter how much I loved the music world, I had to follow my muse and keep writing. The new problem was that I seemed incapable of writing about anything and anyone who doesn’t have some sort of tie to a rock band.
Music continues to shape me; the lyrics in my favorite songs become my muses. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve closed my eyes and gotten lost in a song I swear was written only for me.

As a writer, I seek to bring this connection to the world. I don’t put my rock stars on pedestals. They’re normal people, you and me if we happened to have music rushing through our veins along with our blood. That’s what makes them so special — they could be us. We could be them. But it’s not all limos and concerts. It’s family issues and self-esteem and illness. It’s the daily struggle to live, all the while staring your muse in the face, never flinching. It’s not an easy world. It shouldn’t be. The best things in life, after all, are things we fight for.

I am trying to bring you into the world I straddle: inviting you to read my books, get to know my characters — and hear their music, as if it was made for you. This is how books and music collide for me, whether the date on the calendar says Rocktober or something else.

Bio: Susan Helene Gottfried is the author of ShapeShifter: The Demo Tapes — Year 1, ShapeShifter: The Demo Tapes — Year 2, Trevor’s Song, and ShapeShifter: The Demo Tapes — Year 3. She can be found online at, where you can find The Meet and Greet, among other goodies.

A tone-deaf rocker-at-heart, Susan worked in retail record stores, in radio stations, as stage crew, and as a promoter while earning two college degrees in creative writing.

Susan walked away from a continued career in the music industry in order to write books, so it makes sense that most of her fiction revolves around rock bands. Once you get those record stores, radio stations, and fellow roadies and promoters under your skin, they never leave.


From: Susan Helene Gottfried, All Rights Reserved

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