We’re thrilled that Wendy Terrien once again has contributed to OFF BEAT: Nine Spins on Song with her short story LIGHT. She sat down with WIB to discuss her inspiration for her anthology piece, and a little about her taste in music!

  1. What about music inspires you/touches you the most? The melody, the lyrics or both? What do you listen to while writing? It’s definitely the melody or rhythm before anything else. That’s what happened when I heard Kids by Saints of Valory – the opening percussion grabbed me in the first few beats. Then, if I hear something I like, then I tune into the rest of the song. The lyrics are usually the last thing I notice, and in fact I’ll sometimes learn the lyrics enough to sing along, and later realize what the song is about. And sometimes they are so raunchy—surprise!
  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? I don’t think my taste has changed much, but it’s also rather diverse. I’m not a pure pop music person and never have been. Nor do I like much country music. That being said, there are still some songs in both categories that I like. And you’ll find hip-hop, classical, new age, and lots of alternative music on my playlists. Honestly, there’s probably at least one tune from nearly every music category in my library. As for loyalty to artists, I guess that comes from consistently impressing me with their music. U2 is one band I’ve loved forever, and lately I’m excited about One Republic’s work. Their latest album, Oh My My, is loaded with goodness.
  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? From a long list of songs I love, I narrowed it down to Kids and another song by Saints of Valory called Neon Eyes (Into the Deep), as well as Beggin’ for Thread by Banks, and Hold Back the River by James Bay. The stories that came from Beggin’ for Thread and Hold Back the River seemed bigger to me than a short story, so I set those aside. Then it was an internal battle between the two Saints of Valory songs, and Kids won out, I think because that story became clearer to me than one derived from Neon Eyes. If we decided to do this again and I had to pick a song today it would be Future Looks Good by OneRepublic. There’s so much I want to know about what’s going on in those lyrics.
  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? I can’t really answer this question because sometimes the lyrics are so artsy (or odd, or esoteric, or deep?) that I’m not sure where the musician is going. So in that sense I guess I’d say we’re different because my writing is straightforward—not a lot of deep thoughts.
  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? There are so many directions the story could go with the lyrics from Kids, from literary fiction to horror to mystery and others. There’s a lot of flexibility there to be creative. But honestly, I love how the story exists today, so I don’t want to mess with that too much. I humbly pass on this question.

Awesome interview Wendy! For more information on her and her other works, visit her website wendyterrien.com

Written by Sue Duff

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