We’re so pleased to have author Arden Powell dropping in today on the tour for their new novel, A Summer Soundtrack for Falling in Love. They’re chatting about the origin of the story with us, and there’s also a giveaway so be sure to check out those details at the end.
The Origins of Summer Soundtrack
The very first seed of A Summer Soundtrack for Falling in Love cropped up when I was eighteen, maybe nineteen years old. I’d never written a book before, and had no idea that this story—about a glamourous queer rock star named Rayne, and a straight, down-on-his-luck guitarist (not yet named Kris)—would eventually turn into my first novel. At the time I had no plot whatsoever, and what few ideas I did have floating around were all melodramatic and overly angsty. I wrote a few pages of unconnected scenes, saved them on a file somewhere, and had no intention of ever touching them again.
Fast forward to my senior year of university:
I decided to push out of my comfort zone, and signed up for a long-distance creative writing course. It had less to do with me needing instruction on how to write—there are a million tutorials, blogs, and articles online for free if you want advice on craft—and more about me wanting to get comfortable sharing my work with strangers. Growing up I had a ton of social anxiety, the kind where you have to rehearse your lines for ten minutes before raising your hand in class, heartbeat through the roof, palms sweating. That kind of deal. I theorized that an online creative writing class would be less stressful than attending one in person, while still getting me to share my stories.
And it worked! Did I learn any mind-blowing secrets that I couldn’t have found anywhere else? Not really. But I did get more comfortable with other people reading my work, and I got the confidence boost I needed to start writing more seriously. Not that I immediately jumped into a writing career.
Fast forward six more years:
It was 2017, I had just quit my day job to pursue a career in freelance illustration, and I’d joined a writing group somewhat on a whim. I wanted to write a novel. I’d written shorter works before, and plenty of novel drafts, but never finished one to my satisfaction. I cycled through a few different options, some fantasy, some thriller, before landing on romance. Specifically: a feel-good, contemporary romance—queer, of course, because that’s what happens to everything I touch.
I can’t say why I thought of Rayne and not-Kris, my two characters from almost a decade earlier. It’s not like I had a plot outlined that was waiting to be told. But I wanted to write something fun and road-trippy, and a band lends itself well to that. I wanted something queer and glam, and I knew Rayne fit that description, even if I didn’t know much else about him. And Kris—he was always my rags-to-riches character, and I knew what he looked like: slim, petite, more femme than masc, with a shock of white-blond hair. He went through a few name changes before I settled on Kris Golding, but Rayne was always Rayne. His surname, Bakshi, and his ethnicity, Indian/Persian, came later, but he remained essentially the same character he had always been since I first imagined him at eighteen.
Then I had to actually write the book.
And then I had to put it out on submission.
And THEN, after it got accepted, a hundred other things changed. The title of the book; the name of the band; the entire middle section got gutted and revamped for added tension. Which was fine, really, because these characters had been in my head for almost ten years by that point, and if they had survived that long, I was confident they could survive a few rounds of edits.
And they did. And now you get to meet them. Rayne is everything he ever was: part rock god, part saviour, part best friend. But Kris went through more changes. He’s not straight anymore, and he doesn’t stay down on his luck for long. The cult and the peacock are entirely new additions that I’d never imagined at eighteen. But they work—I think they do—and now I’ve flung them out into the world to find their fortunes, and I get to dig up the next decades-old-document I have saved somewhere around here to find the seed for my next book. It’s a long incubation process, but it seems to work for me.
About the Book
What he wanted was a music career. What he needed was love.
When Kris Golding leaves his dusty Kansas hometown for a fresh start in New York, he thinks an apartment and a job are waiting for him. But when he finds neither, rather than admit defeat, he takes his chances busking—and meets Rayne Bakshi of international rock band The Chokecherries. Rayne needs a new guitarist, and gives Kris his first break since leaving home.
Rayne wears makeup and glitter and thinks nothing of kissing Kris in front of twenty thousand screaming fans for the attention. Instantly infatuated, Kris begins to question whether he might have a crush on Rayne—could he be bisexual? But since Kris originally claimed to be straight, Rayne’s wary of getting involved offstage.
As their tour gains momentum, Kris’s sexuality becomes the least of his troubles. Between his conservative brother hell-bent on “rescuing” him from his life of debauchery, a peacock that may or may not be the avatar of a cult god, and a publicity stunt that threatens to upend the band, Kris is definitely not in Kansas anymore.
Buy the Book: Riptide Publishing || Universal Buy Link
About the Author
Arden graduated from St. Francis Xavier University with an Honours degree in English literature and the realization that essay writing is just another form of making up stories. They also came away with an overriding and all-abiding love of semicolons, to the general dismay of their editors.
Arden lives in Ontario with a dog, a fellow human, and an unnecessary number of houseplants.
Connect with Arden: Website || Twitter: @ArdenPowell || Goodreads
To celebrate the release of A Summer Soundtrack for Falling in Love, one lucky person will win a $20 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 2, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
10 thoughts on “Guest Post and Giveaway: A Summer Soundtrack to Falling in Love by Arden Powell”
Congrats and thanks for the post. This sounds great, and I definitely like books where they are “definitely not in Kansas anymore.”
– Purple Reader, TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com
jlshannon74 at gmail.com
Thank you for sharing how A Summer Soundtrack came to be!
humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com
Thank you for sharing the post
congrats on the new release
The story is interesting and even more so from knowing how it came to be. Thank you for sharing it.
nonexicted at yahoo dot gr
Sounds good to me!
supergrand2009 at yahoo dot com
Great post and I appreciate getting to find out about another great book. Thanks for all you do and for the hard work you put into this. Greatly appreciated!
mijamesr82 at gmail dot com
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy it.
Thank you for sharing the post