We caught up with veteran Wicked Ink Books author A.G. Henley to get her take on music and what inspired her latest anthology short story, Basil & Jade!

1. What about music inspires you/touches you the most? The melody, the lyrics or both? What do you listen to while writing?

Music and writing overlap for me in how they make me feel. The emotion is most important. I choose music to suit either my mood or activity, to help me get into the mood I want, or simply for entertainment. When I’m writing, I choose music that sets the tone of the scene I’m writing. I prefer film and videogame soundtracks as they often give me the feels I’m looking for while writing. Reading is all about how the book makes me feel, too.

2. How has your taste in music changed over the years? If not, what makes you loyal to the same artists’ years later? What attracts you to new artists?

How music makes me feel has always mattered most. When I was young, I sought out artists who presented a particular image, too. As a young teen in the 1980s, I had a torrid lovesick passion for U2. I worshipped their cool, British rock/alt vibe (never mind that I was a skinny, rockless middle school girl from Virginia at the time.) In college in the early 90s, I was all about the Seattle grunge scene, like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and the Screaming Trees. I could rock plaids and combat boots with the best of them. After college, I began to appreciate more and varied types of artists and genres, female artists (finally), hip hop, and international music. Free music services like Pandora and Spotify made finding new, interesting music simple. With a Sonos system in our home, all the free music and radio in the world is now at our fingertips. Love that.

3. What other songs did you consider before making a final choice for OFF BEAT? Did they have similar messages? What made you choose the one you did over the others?

I initially chose the song “Renegades” by X Ambassadors. I even wrote about half the story that it inspired, a sort of desert-y paranormal romance. But it wasn’t going well, and I just wasn’t feeling it. In the meantime, the bones of the story I wrote for OFF BEAT, Basil and Jade, came to me. It’s funny, though: Bainbridge Island, the setting for their story, is the exact opposite of a desert.

4. How would you compare your writing to the musicians that you listen to? Do you have similar messages or ways at looking at life, tragedy, love?

Hmm. The only comparison I can make is that I tend to “see” my stories in cinematic visuals. So I guess listening to film soundtracks, especially the big, epic ones, is a good fit for my writing.

5. If you were asked to write another short story version of the same song, but in a different genre, what would it be and why?

I think the song that inspired Basil and Jade, “Say Something” by A Great Big World, would make an obvious yet perfect break up song in a contemporary romance. Of course, there would be a funny, triumphant make up scene with a HEA at the end if I wrote it!

A huge thanks to A.G. for sharing her taste in music with Wicked Ink fans! For more info on all her author-works, visit her website aghenley.com

Written by Sue Duff

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