Home again, home again

I just spent last week in Los Angeles, partially to finalize Center Stage! (aka the Allison book) and to gather some images that I’ll need for it.  I was reminded once again of how L.A. always smells like flowers, how fantastic the coffee is (hooray for Intelligentsia!) and how it’s home to pretty much the best weather in the world.

Whenever I’m back in Los Angeles, I can’t help but get very nostalgic for Taylor Beauforte, Chase Atwood, and all of the characters in The Rock Star’s Daughter, especially when I’m in the neighborhoods of Larchmont and West Hollywood, where Taylor lived near Allison before the action of the book unfolds.

 

Here’s Rosewood Avenue, the street where Allison lives, not far from North Laurel, where Taylor lived with her mom at the beginning of the story:Rosewood Ave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Larchmont VillageAnd here’s quaint Larchmont Village just outside Hollywood, where Allison and Taylor used to ride the bus to get iced coffee in the summertime.

It is also coincidentally where I failed my first driving test by almost hitting a pedestrian. True story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two things are certain about my relationship with Los Angeles: it always inspires me, and it gets harder to leave every time I visit.

View from my room in Silverlake. Griffith Park Bouelvard!

My favorite thing about Los Angeles: flowers, flowers everywhere.

Perfect skies in Glendale.

My room in Silverlake. Check out the sunset view through that back porch!

Sunset over Silverlake.

 

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Sudden snow storm!

Excuse me, but isn’t it almost MAY?

Last night, Brooklyn experienced a little surprise snow storm… hopefully the last of the season! I was sad this morning to find that a lot of the flowers that had already started to bloom had been treated to a little dusting of flurries.

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Tomorrow, I’m off to the ear/nose/throat specialist to find out what the heck is wrong with my ear. For the last two weeks it’s been bugging me, and I think my persistent eye strain may be related. What’s super annoying about feeling under the weather right now is that it’s making it much harder to edit Center Stage! even though I’m getting a kick out of re-reading scenes that I barely remember writing!

Anyhow, my romantic interest in Center Stage! is named Elliott, and he’s very, very loosely inspired by singer/songwriter Elliot Smith, who passed away in Los Angeles eleven years ago.

 

Here’s a video for his classic, Angeles, which is a song that never fails to make me homesick when I hear it.

 

Center Stage! The inspirational play list

In writing Center Stage, I’ve found it really inspirational to listen to music that I think my main characters would favor. I’ve developed a sort of “inspiration playlist” to help the story unfold, and I thought it might be fun to introduce you to the story through music!

I like to believe that Allison Burch would have a strong appreciation for female vocalists with unique voices. Here are a few songstresses who I think Allison would idolize.

Hope Sandoval / Mazzy Star / Fade Into You

Fade Into You was a big hit when I was in high school, and even today it makes me feel melancholy and nostalgic whenever I hear it. No one in the industry has a voice quite as haunting as lead singer Hope Sandoval.

 

Fiona Apple / Sleep to Dream 

For a while there, in the 90’s, this was the anthem of all girls, everywhere, who aspired to be bad girls. As a songwriter, Fiona Apple packages angst and fury in her lyrics that seemed like a call to arms for all girls who’d been burned by dudes. “Don’t come around, I’ve got my own hell to raise,” she warns the guy who’s wronged her in this tune.

 

Kelly Clarkson / Since U Been Gone

I was a huge fan of Kelly Clarkson when she was on American Idol, and her first single did not disappoint.

I think Kelly’s at her best when she’s vindictive, and in this video as she’s tearing up some guy’s apartment, she cuts loose. It’s kind of hard to believe from Justin to Kelly came out eleven years ago. My, how time flies. In may ways, Allison is based on Kelly, as she was the first girl in the USA to become a huge breakout reality TV music star.

 

P!nk / Try

I’m not going to lie – this song gets the tears flowing and makes me have fantasies about karaoke glory, even when I’m standing in line to pay for diet soda at the deli!

In many ways this song was the inspiration for the dynamic between Elliott and Allison in Center Stage! and of course, P!nk is right. You’ve gotta get up and try, try, try.

 

What are your favorite videos, and do you have any favorite contestants from reality TV shows like The Voice and American Idol?