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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Writer Wednesday: J.L. Vallance

Today, I'm excited to welcome the wonderful J.L. Vallance for my first "Writer Wednesday." J.L. is the author of MADNESS, which I really enjoyed, and today she'll be chatting with y'all about one of my favorite things--MUSIC!

I never wanted to fall in love.

I lived a life tainted by mental illness and the stigma that came with it. That illness almost claimed my life once and I had a promise to keep--a promise that I would live, no matter how much it hurt. All I craved in life was marginal happiness, a little success, and an unfractured mind. I longed for the normalcy that the rest of the world thrived on while fearing the intimacy that could snap the thin thread with which I held onto sanity.  

I may not have had it all, but I was close...until he crashed into my world.

He turned everything upside down and shifted the scales of my balanced world. He was charming and charismatic with a healthy dash of trouble and volatility rolled in. He was completely and perfectly damaged. I tumbled hard and fast.

I fell in love with Rory O’Neill and our world was little more than madness….and it was fucking beautiful.

Music and MADNESS

For me, music and books go hand in hand. My tunes are crucial in my writing process. Many scenes from Madness were inspired by music. There are songs that will cause a movie screen to drop behind my eyes, giving me clear pictures of what my characters are thinking and feeling. Even the title, Madness, was born of musical inspiration (thank you Muse).

Have you ever listened to Madness by Muse? It’s an amazing and emotional song. When I listened to it, it made me think of Frankie and Rory and the madness of their relationship. They fell in love with each other, but illness and addiction plagued their happiness. Tragedy shadowed their shaky future. But love and hope laced their dreams. Their love was pure madness.

Frankie Winters suffers from mental illness. It’s something that cannot be seen, felt, or heard by others. It’s something she carries within--something she battles and survives daily. But she’s conditioned to “turn it on,” to smile and nod, to keep her pain and fears hidden from the world. She hides herself away. Beneath it all, she’s only human. Christina Perri’s Human could easily be Miss Winter’s anthem.

A runner up for the Madness playlist, Pour Me by Hollywood Undead. Rory O’Neill fights demons and illnesses of his own--mainly his near crippling addictions. He’s fighting to get past a tragedy that he relives everyday, using chemicals to chase it all away. The words of Pour Me sound as if the came from Rory’s lips. It’s a beautiful play on words that touches on the tragedy of life and addiction.

What other songs made the playlist?

The Madness Playlist

John Legend--All of Me
Christina Perri--Human
The Black Keys--The Flame
Mat Kearney--City of Black and White
Ed Sheeran--One
Foo Fighters--Razor
Mumford & Sons--Little Lion Man
Paramore--The Only Exception
Hoobastank--The Reason


“The two of us are a fucking mess, Frankie. A mess,” he whispered, placing a cool palm to my cheek.

“But we don’t have to be, Rory. The madness that rides us, it can fade away if we ignore it. We can ignore it all and revel in each other.”
“How?” he questioned, his voice desperate.
“You have to open your eyes, Rory. You have to see all the people and things surrounding you, supporting you, fighting for you. And Christ, you have to start fighting for yourself,” I replied, touching my forehead to his. “Are you ready to open your eyes? Are you ready to see the vivid world waiting for you?”
“Are you?” he countered.
I sealed my lips over his, pulled his breath into my lungs, and sighed.
Rory O’Neill may have been damaged, he may have even been dangerous, but he stole my heart one beat at a time. And I was dangerously close to never getting it back. I was slowly becoming convinced I didn’t want it back. However good or bad that may have been for me.
“I’ll try,” he murmured against my lips, his eyes closed tight. “For you, I’ll try.”

Thank you so much, J.L!

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