Today is an important day for two reasons
1) Today is the release day of Saving Maddie! Read my review here, everyone should go buy the book, there's something in it for everyone :)
2) More importantly today is Varian's birthday. Happy birthday Varian! We wish you continued success as an author (and engineer) and thank you for gifting us with your stories.
I will now let Varian speak
Saving Maddie Playlist
Joshua Wynn is a preacher’s son and a “good boy” who always does the right thing—until Maddie Smith comes back to town. Maddie is the daughter of the former associate pastor of Joshua’s church, and his childhood crush. Now Maddie is all grown up, gorgeous—and troubled. She wears provocative clothes to church, curses, drinks, and fools around with older men. Joshua’s ears burn just listening to the things she did to get kicked out of boarding school, and her own home.
As time goes on, Joshua goes against his parents and his own better instincts to keep Maddie from completely capsizing. Along the way, he begins to question his own rigid understanding of God and whether, as his mother says, a girl like Maddie is beyond redemption. Maddie leads Joshua further astray than any girl ever has . . . but is there a way to reconcile his love for her and his love for his life in the church?
My thoughts on the Saving Maddie Playlist:
Some people laugh when I say this, but I consider Saving Maddie my first true love story.
My other novels include elements of romance, but I’m not talking about romance. I’m talking about real love, built on friendship and trust. I’d even call it a story based on sacrificial love—a love so deep that you’re willing to give up the very thing that you want to alleviate someone else’s pain.
Of course, these are teenagers were talking about—you can’t talk about love without bringing up sex. And maybe that’s okay—attraction and desire go hand in hand with love.
Basically, Joshua both loves Maddie and is in love with Maddie. He wants to save her, and he wants her. And he doesn’t know how to reconcile this. (But Joshua’s not alone in this—Madeline feels the same way.)
As this book is all about love (and lust), many of the songs on my playlist are love songs—though I wouldn’t consider them happy love songs. Like Joshua and Maddie’s relationship, my playlist is a mix of seduction and despair, love and loss. Here are a few of my favorites:
Hello, Like Before by Bill Withers
The first version of Saving Maddie wasn’t about Maddie nor Joshua—it featured characters named Peter and Cassie. Unlike Joshua and Maddie, they were strangers thrown together due to circumstance.
When I restarted the novel, this time with Joshua, the good preacher’s son, and the wayward Madeline, I knew I wanted them to be friends—old friends…best friends—which made me think of this song, which is about childhood friends seeing each other after a long absence. Wither’s voice is powerful, but the song feels more like a folksy, laid-back soul song than traditional R&B.
Call Me (Come Back Home) by Al Green
This song, like the entire album, drips with southern soul. In the song, Green implores a woman to come back home—like Joshua does with Maddie. Also, Al Green famously battled between the religious and the secular—at one point he gave up singing R&B music entirely and became an ordained minister.
Let Me In Your Life by Bill Withers
“I only want to love you / please don’t push me away / Let me in your life.”
Plain and simple, this song is all-Joshua. Like with “Hello, Like Before”, the song captures Wither’s folksy, laid-back vocal style, which jives with Joshua’s demeanor.
What Would Happen by Meredith Brooks
Right before Maddie leaves
Scared Money by Kelis
This song is from Kelis’s second album, Wanderland, which was never officially released in the
I Want You by Marvin Gaye
This song is actually a bit…explicit, but still, I love the passion Marvin Gaye sings with. “I want you / the right way / I want you / but I want you to want me to.” Like Al Green, Marvin Gaye also struggled to balance the religious and the secular. Unfortunately, Gaye died before fully being able to tame his demons.
Prayer Dance by Rachelle Ferrell
This song actually reminds me of an alternate ending of the novel, where we see Madeline dancing in the Sanctuary. I cut this part long before it got to my editor after realizing the true ending of the novel had occurred 40 pages previous to that point. However, maybe we’ll see Maddie dance in the companion novel….
You Do What You Have to Do by Sarah McLachlan
This might possibly be the saddest song in existence. I basically put this song on repeat after I “broke up” with best friend during college. She wasn’t a girlfriend in the traditional sense, but in the emotional sense, we were a couple. More than a couple. And due to hundreds upon hundreds of reasons, it didn’t work out, and we eventually decided to stop seeing and talking to each other for a while.
Relationships like the one that Joshua and Madeline share remind me so much of that old friendship from my youth, which is why I always turn to this song when things get rough for my characters. The song is simple yet haunting, with just McLachlan’s voice accompanied by her piano, an upright bass, and percussion. I love so many lines from this song, especially the refrain, “But I have the sense to recognize / that I don’t know how to let you go.” I tried to capture this emotional struggle throughout the novel as Madeline constantly pushes Joshua away, yet he doesn’t quite know how to let her go.
Other Songs on the playlist:
Come Live With Me Angel by Marvin Gaye
Make Ya Feel Beautiful by Ruben Studdard
Elsewhere by Sarah McLachlan
Rainy Days by Shuggie Otis
Can We Pretend by Bill Withers
My favorite songs on the playlist (and they are all good) are Hello, Like Before by Bill Withers, and Make Ya Feel Beautiful by Ruben Studdard. I also really liked Scared Money by Kelis and I'm glad Varian brought the song to my attention. all the songs completely fit the book and I love the combination of spiritual and 'secular' music. I have some iPod updating to do!
Follow the rest of the tour
Wednesday, March 10th – Gwenda at Shaken & Stirred
Thursday, March 11th – Melissa at Book Nut
Friday, March 12th – Edi at Crazy QuiltsThank you so much for stopping by Varian and have a great birthday!
The publisher has kindly supplied me with 3 ARC copies of Saving Maddie to give away. So if you want to win one, just leave a comment here with your email address. You don't have to be a follower to enter but you will get an extra entry if you are an old follower or become a new one.
To enter: Leave a comment answering either
1) Why do you want to read Saving Maddie? (I'm just curious)
2) What's your favorite spiritual song? (You can say Jesus Walks by Kanye West) Even if you aren't spirtual there has to be an inspirational song of some sort that you like, it doesn't have to be religious in nature.
ETA: OR you can say something about the actual guest post. Just a thought.
+2 New follower
+3 old follower
Ends: March 17, 2010
Open: Internationally (there will be at least one 1 U.S. winner and 1 international winner, the 3rd winner could be either).