I’m delighted to have as guest ranter today, Mel Sherratt. I met Mel in person for the first time last year and she told me at the time that she was planning on self-publishing her crime novel, ‘Taunting the Dead’. She did so last December and last week it cracked the Kindle Top 10 on Amazon, a fantastic achievement. As I have with some of my other guest ranters, I asked Mel to write about how music influences her and her writing.
When I begin to draft out a new book, I have to be in complete silence, although I do manage to block out some background noise. But it’s hard for me because listening to music is where I get lots of ideas and inspiration from.
Picture Adele at the Albert Hall last year, singing Someone Like You and my skin breaks out in goose bumps. Emotion to me is everything. I write gritty crime novels. TAUNTING THE DEAD is full of sex, violence and murder. There’s nothing in the novel that can move you to tears as a love song is prone to do but I do hope to leave you with a feeling of relief that a victim is okay or a sense of compassion for someone you didn’t think you’d feel compassion for. Even a feeling of elation when a whodunnit is solved.
Artists within their song lyrics have many a story to tell. I grew up listening to Elvis Presley, talking of love and Heartbreak Hotels and life In the Ghetto. I listen to Pink, Rhianna and I love Plan B. I find artists like Eminem, in his time, and more recently, Professor Green, incorporating what I like to write in my books. The lyrics are about gritty, down to earth topics that are often shoved under the carpet. But there are also purposely written, soft, soulful chorus’s breaking up the angst yet still giving out a powerful message – sometimes we have to take the rough to get to the smooth.
Writing for me is a pleasure, even though I write such violent scenes. I don’t find them hard to write, nor to read back (watching them on a screen is a different matter entirely – I can’t do it) but for every murder I write about, for every scene of domestic violence that I add, I try to add a sense of sympathy for some of my suspects as well as my victims. A crime writer needs to show kindness too. Just like with music.
My favourite group of all time? The Jam. How gritty is their music – A Town Called Malice, Going Underground and The Bitterest Pill to name a few of my favourites. Their lyrics are simple but tell of many tales from redundancy to fights to one-upmanship and back to love again.
I enjoy nothing better than finishing a good old writing session that has left me drained (emotion wise) and then cranking up the volume when a bit of Jessie J or Usher comes on the radio as I go to make a cup of coffee. Yes, as soon I go into the kitchen, the music is back on. I suppose if the writing doesn’t take off, I could always be a rap artist – because I sure as hell can’t sing!
Ever since she can remember, Mel Sherratt has been a meddler of words. Right from those early childhood scribbles when she won her first competition, she was rarely without a pen in her hand or her nose in a book. Born and raised in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, Mel now uses her beloved city as a backdrop for her crime thriller novels.
A self confessed shoeaholic, Mel also hosts a blog called High Heels and Book Deals. Taunting the Dead is her first novel and she is represented by Curtis Brown Literary Agency.
You can buy Taunting the Dead on Amazon here
Mel’s website is: http://www.melsherratt.co.uk/
Mel’s blog is: http://highheelsandbookdeals.blogspot.com/
And on Twitter she is: @writermels