The Music Behind the Scenes

The Music Behind the Scenes


As writers, we are inspired by many different things. Sometimes it’s the places we visit. Sometimes it’s the people we meet. Most often it is a combination of different things. One of the things I am most inspired by is music. When I hear a nice piece of music or a beautiful song, I often visualize scenes, characters or events. And sometimes these scenes or characters stay with me and grow more and more vivid every time I listen to the same piece of music. And that is when I begin writing the scene. And as I write, I have the music playing in the background again and again. This has happened with many of the scenes I have written in my stories. For example, in To Save and Protect, there is a scene where Mr. Darcy confronts Lizzy about her feelings and persuades her, in a way a man violently in love would do, to confess her feelings for him. I have always thought this scene should be dramatic and intense. The music that inspired me when I began visualizing this scene is called Beneath the Moonless Sky from the musical, Love Never Dies, where Phantom and Christine sing about their one night of passion. For those of you who have not heard it, I recommend you listen to it. The emotions expressed in the song are raw and beautiful and I hoped to capture that feeling when I wrote the scene between Darcy and Elizabeth. I don’t mean to imply that this is the feeing Darcy and Lizzy have, but that the intensity of the emotions are similar. Below is a small excerpt from that scene.

 “Where are you going?” Mr. Darcy asked with a hint of panic in his voice.

“I will leave you to rest, Mr. Darcy,” Elizabeth replied, barely able to keep her emotions in check.

“Rest?” he asked angrily, “I will not rest until we finish this conversation.”

“There is no reason for us to continue this conversation,” Elizabeth said stubbornly.

“Elizabeth,” Mr. Darcy warned, his anger growing rapidly.

“I see I have to remind you once again to address me properly, Mr. Darcy,” she said as she turned to walk toward the door.

Before she knew it, he had caught up with her. He whipped her around to face him again, his right arm wrapped around her waist. “Do you love me, Elizabeth?” he asked, his face mere inches from hers.

“You have deemed it to be impossible.” Elizabeth shrugged, finding it difficult to stay calm so near to him. “Kindly release me, sir.”

He did not release her. His right arm traveled up her back and pulled her even closer to him. “I want the truth, Elizabeth,” he breathed and she trembled. “Do you love me?”

“No,” she lied, avoiding his eyes. “I only feel gratitude and affinity for you,” she added sarcastically, “which I am told are natural—”

Much to her astonishment, he pulled her closer and kissed her with such force it took her breath away. Rage rose inside her. With all the strength left in her, she pulled her face away.

“How dare—” she began to protest but was once again silenced by his demanding lips.

His kiss was so different from the previous ones. There was no gentleness. It was full of raw emotion and urgent need for something Elizabeth could feel but could not define. He was so persistent, and his lips so possessive over hers, she soon succumbed and responded to his need for her, which only made him more demanding, more obsessed. His tongue probed her lips until she allowed it to explore her mouth in ways she had never imagined possible. When he finally pulled away and looked down at her, her eyes were closed, her lips were swollen and the rapid rise and fall of her breasts spoke of the passion she had experienced in his arms.

“Look at me, Elizabeth,” he whispered.

Elizabeth obeyed and opened her eyes. Her eyes were glazed over. She looked at him with a mixture of surrender and tenderness. He no longer needed to ask the question, but he wanted to hear it from her all the same.

“Do you love me?” he asked.

“With all my heart,” she whispered.


Another song that inspired one of the scenes in my other novel, To Love and Cherish, is Ellie Goulding’s song, Love me Like you do. I know that many people associate that song with Fifty Shades of Grey. But for me, this song is a back and forth between feelings of vulnerability and trust. And I wanted to convey those emotions when I wrote Georgiana and Lord Paisley’s waltz scene.

“I have never actually danced the waltz with a gentleman at a ball,” Georgiana whispered, blushing with embarrassment.

“Then I am honored to be your first.” He held out his hand.

Georgiana’s blush glowed as she placed her hand in his. She could feel the warmth of his gloved hand as his fingers wrapped around hers. But the sensation of his hand holding hers was nothing compared to the light-headedness she felt when his other hand rested on her back. She took in a deep breath as she placed her free hand on his shoulder. She was too timid to meet his eyes.

“Are you examining my cravat again, Miss Darcy?”

She looked up at him. His face was so close to hers. She smiled weakly. The music began and he moved, leading her body into motion, commanding her every move. As they danced, her entire being was awake to his body. She now understood why this dance was so scandalous. She was in his embrace. The realization of it brought about sensations that were strangely familiar. She had felt it before on the day she had seen his shirtless torso by the river. She was so close to him now, to his muscular chest, in his strong arms. Georgiana felt breathless and lightheaded. She looked away from him, petrified that she might faint in front of him. Nay! That she might faint in his arms.

“Do not worry, my girl,” he said, as if reading her mind. “I will not let you fall.”

She looked up at him and the challenge in his eyes shook her from her embarrassment. “I am not prone to fainting, my lord,” Georgiana said with as much dignity as she could muster.

“I am very glad to hear that.” He smiled, his eyes mocking her mercilessly. “Or else I would have to do something quite shocking to prevent you from fainting.” 

“And what would you do?”

“I would kiss you, Miss Darcy,” Lord Paisley said, a rakish smile gracing his lips.

His words had the desired effect. A gleam appeared in her sapphire blue eyes. Lord Paisley’s attention, however, was captured by her beautiful lips. He had to fight his urge from following through with his threat.

“You would never dare,” Georgiana said, her voice so low he could barely hear her.

“Oh, but I would.” Lord Paisley smiled as if enjoying a private joke. “And quite happily too, I assure you.”

“This conversation is most improper.”

“And there lies the provocation, Miss Darcy. It would hardly be effective if it were not improper. But as you can see, you are much recovered.”

“There was nothing the matter with me, my lord.”

“You were as white as the dead, my girl.”

Georgiana wanted to argue, but she simply could not.

“This is quite scandalous,” she said. “This dance…dancing with you twice in one evening, and one of them being a waltz will definitely set tongues wagging.”

“Why does that concern you?”

“People will say that I have set my cap at you,” Georgiana explained, exasperated by his calm demeanor.

“Well, have you…set your cap at me?”

“How can you ask me that question?”

“Seems to me to be a most reasonable question, Miss Darcy. Have you set your cap at me?”

“Of course not,” Georgiana replied defiantly.

“A pity.”

“I do not think you could have thought about the repercussions of this dance, sir.”

“You are mistaken.”

“You must know that your attentions to me will be greatly talked of,” Georgiana said with great difficulty. “And will most certainly reach beyond those present at the ball.”

“I am sure you are right. But you see, I do not care a button for what others may say or think about my attentions to you. Yours, and yours alone, is the only opinion I value.”

Georgiana looked up at him, her eyes a myriad of emotions, uncertainties and questions.

“But I thought,” she whispered. “I understood…that is… Lady Sophia said—”

“You were informed that my affections are engaged elsewhere?” Lord Paisley asked with a sudden edge to his voice. “You thought I was merely amusing myself with you while pining for another lady?”

Georgiana was too emotional to reply. But her eyes confirmed his words. 

“That is utter nonsense!” Lord Paisley said, no longer smiling. “Lady Sophia knows nothing of my affections, and if you believe there is any truth in her words, then I am extremely disappointed in your judgment.”

“How was I—”

“Now, you listen to me, my girl.  I have been on the road for over a fortnight so I might attend this evening with you. Does that not say more about my sentiments than the unfounded chatter of a jealous woman?”

The familiar tremors of hope emerged from the depths of her being, grew stronger and pounded against her chest. The look in her eyes changed as outrage gave way to shock, then to disbelief, and finally to vulnerability.

“This is where I want to be,” Lord Paisley murmured. “Yours is the only company I have desired for some time.” 

His tone was so different from the usual careless tone he used with others. Gentle. Yet, it held conviction, promise, and such intimacy. His gray eyes were clear, commanding her to believe him. She did. She believed him completely. He was there for her. Hers was the company he desired. 

Her smile was all the reply he had hoped for and he was not disappointed. They danced the remainder of the waltz in wordless conversation, their eyes never leaving each other’s, no longer aware or concerned with what others thought or said about them. No one else mattered anymore.

Music continues to inspire me every day. For the last few days I have been listening to Alessia Cara’s song, Out of Love. I think it is such a lovely song. It has inspired me to rewrite a scene in my third book, To Desire and Deserve. I am hoping I can capture the beauty of the song while I rewrite the scene.

I hope you have a chance to check out the songs I mentioned. Do you also share my fascination with music? What kinds of music inspire your daydreams?


10 Responses to The Music Behind the Scenes

  1. This is one reason I enjoy watching fan videos where music is paired with scenes from my favorite movies and tv shows. Some songs are perfect for certain scenes. I am not familiar with the song from Love Never Dies, will have to check it out as I love the Phantom of the Opera.

  2. I love to listen to music and especially I notice it in an excellent movie. I love what Joe Wright did in “Pride and Prejudice” and I could listen to that music all day long. It runs through my mind even when I think of that movie! Hats off to the arrangement for that movie!

  3. When I write, I want it quiet so I can concentrate. When my husband died, I spent many a night singing along with the songs from ‘Phantom of the Opera’ and ‘Evita.’ It helped with the grief. 🙁

  4. Swoon!! I just love Lord Julian!! He remains my favorite OC in all of the hundreds of JAFF I’ve read. He reminds me a bit of the Scarlet Pimpernel, hiding his sharp intelligence and true feelings beneath the disguise of a fop. This scene has long been one of my faves since days!!

    Have you done significant rewritings of your published versions vs. I may have to purchase them anew if so. 😉

    I don’t tend to write emotionally to music, but I do usually write to swing music from the ’30s and ’40s.

    Many thanks for this lovely post, Paisley!

    Susanne 🙂

  5. I am totally with you when it comes to music. Music makes the words come alive and as a singer trying to express what the words are saying through the music is the most fun of all. Nice post.

    • Yes! I get lost in the music very often and cannot help but visualize scenes, characters, events. To me, every song/piece of music has a special energy. I love bringing that energy to words.

  6. I absolutely love The Phantom of The Opera! My favorite music! I am a Broadway baby I really like music from the musicals! Totally awesome post!

    • I am also a huge musical fan and The Phantom of the Opera is my all-time favourite. I especially like the versions performed by Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess.

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