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A Tided Love Soundtrack Vol 1

We've officially come to the midpoint of National Novel Writing Month!

If you haven't been keeping up with the blog or my social media profiles, this year is the first time I have participated in NaNoWriMo, during which I'm working on a second-chance Regency Era romance called A Tided Love.

The summer Caroline Sinclair visited Breamport remains one of her dearest memories—even in the wake of a bitter heartache.

Several years later and now a widow, Caroline returns to the seaside resort at her sister's recommendation in the hopes of mending her spirits. All the while, she cannot help but wonder about a certain gentleman with russet eyes she knew long ago.

Having broken off his engagement, Thomas Heathcott finds himself at the center of gossipmongers' prattle and unable to shirk the ever-elusive Miss Rosebury. All he desires is to move on and forget the blasted mess.

That is, until he runs into his past.

It doesn't take long for the sparks to be reignited between Caroline and Thomas. But with her ex-mother-in-law nipping at her heels and rumors rising like the tide, it might prove enough to keep them apart—this time, forever.

Like I've mentioned a handful of times, one of my goals for 2023 was to share more about the projects I'm working on, and NaNoWriMo has allowed me to do so from square one. It's actually been interesting to document the earliest stages of this WIP, and I can't wait to look back on it all someday and see how far the project's come (hopefully once it's published in the distant future).

As you might already know, one of the very first things I do when diving into a new story is putting together a playlist inspired by it. Something that acts like a soundtrack for that project. It's just one of the ways I deepen my relationship to that world and its characters.

For a fun little midweek bonus post, here are some of the tracks I've included in the playlist for A Tided Love.

August by Taylor Swift

I might get some flack for saying this: I wouldn't consider myself a Swiftie.

Taylor Swift is an incredibly talented songwriter and performer and, like many, I am in awe of the sheer scale and artistry of her Eras Tour (and beyond happy for all of my friends who were lucky enough to snag tickets in The Great War that is getting Ticketmaster to cooperate). I like some of her music, but she isn't in my main rotation.

But one thing I appreciate about Taylor's discography is the storytelling element of her lyrics. One of the biggest reasons her music resonates so well is the way her music reflects the lives of her listeners.

And, in my case, the lives I'm writing about.

In all honesty, I'm pretty sure each of my WIPs has a befitting Taylor Swift track. Bound to the Heart has "The Story of Us." Forged in the Salle has "Eyes Open."

And A Tided Love has "August."

"August" has the vibe of a summer love lost to the past. One that slipped away because it simply wasn't meant to be. Reminiscing on the simplicity of youth and fleeting tastes of romance.

It fits the tone of A Tided Love, especially from Caroline's perspective. Thomas was her first real love and someone she missed since that fateful summer came to its inevitable end. The song's chill and cozy air also fits the story, as returning to Breamport after all of these years isn't jarring or an upset to Caroline; rather, it's almost like coming home.

I Found Her by Faime

I think A Tided Love is the first instance in which a soundtrack playlist for a WIP of mine has a song that feels like the theme for the setting.

Faime is a new-to-me artist who's become a quick favorite of mine. "I Found Her" was the first I heard of his work, and I quickly fell in love with his style.

"I Found Her" feels like Thomas ruminating on Breamport after Caroline left it. There was a loneliness that rolled in like the tide. Sometimes, he'll catch himself staring at the sea as he would do with her, wondering what could have been if the timing had been right for them.

Also, the line about it being a place where, "people hurt people so they don't feel hurt" feels like it would be a slight nod on Thomas's part to the scandal sheets that target him (for reasons I'll avoid getting into here due to probable spoilers that would come of it).

My Happy Ending by Avril Lavigne

A Tided Love is a second-chance romance, and in order for there to be a second-chance romance, there sadly must be a first chance that went wrong. This playlist is also heavily influenced by tracks I find nostalgic. Things I listened to on repeat as a semi-angsty teen.

One throwback that was guaranteed to end up on this playlist was "My Happy Ending" by Avril Lavigne.

In all honesty, this one's in a lot of my WIP playlists. It's iconic for a reason and is just one of those songs that succeeds in stirring up the feels.

The sense of betrayal after a love you thought was everything you wanted falls apart is devastating—especially when it's your first heartache.

When I'm putting together a new WIP playlist, I'll imagine what characters would listen to if they lived in our world.

I don't see teenage Caroline being too into pop punk, but I could easily see her listening to this on the way home from Breamport at the end of that summer, still reeling from the way her romance with Thomas didn't work out.

And maybe as an adult, it's still cathartic for her to belt it out at karaoke night.

When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars

Caroline isn't the only one with regrets about how things ended that summer.

Back then, Thomas was not open about his affections for Caroline. While there was certainly chemistry between them, he did not venture to put his feelings for her into words. No matter if it was out of fear of his romantic advances being rejected by her or not being good enough for her, the result was still the same.

And at the summer's end, she was gone.

He's come to terms with that mistake and realized the errors of his ways, but he also knows he missed his chance.

To this day, Thomas thinks fondly of Caroline and is haunted by the fact he didn't take a chance on their relationship, nor will he have a chance to make amends.

Or so he thinks...

Amnesia by 5 Seconds of Summer

Would truly be a WIP playlist of mine if 5SOS wasn't part of it?

No. No, it would not.

5 Seconds of Summer is another band that shows up in essentially every story-inspired playlist I curate; they're actually making a few appearances on the one for A Tided Love.

For this post, I want to highlight "Amnesia" in particular. It's a 5SOS staple, and there's something about the lyrics that fits especially well for Thomas's recollection of that summer's end.

As is the case with a number of entries in this playlist, it's about reminiscing on a bygone romance and wishing you were still with that person. That things didn't fall apart.

It was a known thing from the start that Caroline would not be in Breamport long, and that her time with Thomas was going to be limited. Nevertheless, when she attempted to broach the question of "will they, won't they?" a few weeks ahead of her departure, she kind of hoped for something more than hesitation from him.

That moment Caroline walked away is unfortunately a memory Thomas cannot escape. All he wants is for it to have been a bad, twisted dream. To be able to see Caroline again and make things right with her. For her to have never left.

Almost Is Never Enough by Ariana Grande feat. Nathan Sykes

You know how in a lot of TV dramas, there will be a piece of pop music playing in the background during dramatic or important conversations, or used over transition shots between scenes?

"Almost Is Never Enough" is what I could see being played as Thomas and Caroline speak one-on-one on the terrace after running into each other at a party.

There's a gentle confrontation of what happened in the past and how they were so close to a real, deeper love that ultimately fell apart. Thomas realizes his letters never reached her. Caroline at one point suggests the outcome was for the best—or at least what was bound to happen given the brevity of summer.

Between Caroline's innocence in romance and being unsure of her feelings and Thomas not giving voice to his, they ended up being no more than an almost.

And almost is never enough.

Thunder by Boys Like Girls

"Thunder" earns a spot on the A Tided Love soundtrack for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, it's got those summer romance vibes, specifically a romance at the end of summer. The lyrics, "You'll always be my thunder/So bring on the rain" are something I interpret to mean that the person the song is dedicated to (frontman Martin Johnson's high school sweetheart according to the internet) brought an amount of excitement to the singer's life in this short period of time and he wants to embrace it for all that it is. How he doesn't want to love or be with anyone else after her.

That's how I think Thomas saw Caroline during that summer way back when. Caroline had this spark about her, almost electric. She was just herself, and he loved that about her.

He's known nobody like her since.

Additionally, the bridge kind of feels like where Thomas and Caroline are now. She's gone through some things that have changed her, but she's still very much herself—or is at least trying to reconnect with herself.

"Strike me down with lightning, let me feel you in my veins/I wanna let you know how much I feel your pain" feels like Thomas giving Caroline that permission to open up emotionally as she's not been able to since everything happened, while also opening himself up to the romance in earnest at long last.

A Tided Love is also set to feature a scene that has been floating around in the corner of some recess of my mind for a while now.

Two words: Thunderstorm Spice.

That admittedly sounds like the name of a My Little Pony character, most likely a pegasus, but I digress.

"Thunder" just kind of feels like a solid, overall theme for A Tided Love.

Shot In The Dark by Big Time Rush

This is a last-minute addition to the post because it's finally on Spotify where my playlists are made and can at last be included as part of the soundtrack for A Tided Love. More on that in the upcoming tangent...

It has so many second-chance romance vibes. To me, it feels like the moment Thomas and Caroline see each other for the first time in nearly a decade and all of those feelings come rushing back, especially for Thomas.

Like the song says, he doesn't want to waste another moment or pay for things unspoken. All this time, he's regretted not telling Caroline how he felt truly about her. Because he kept his feelings close to his chest, among the unfortunate timing of multiple circumstances colliding at once, he lost her. But now he has that second chance to get it right.

Quick little tangent:

I know I'm going to get a bit of heat for this, but the release of "Shot In The Dark" (along with "Paralyzed") kind of feels like my "All Too Well (Ten Minute Version) (Taylor's Version)."

Big Time Rush actually started out as a show on Nickelodeon in the same vein of The Monkees, right around the time of One Direction's heyday.

"Shot In The Dark" was one of the tracks were recorded for the show but didn't make it onto any of their albums the way others like "Boyfriend," "Worldwide," or "Like Nobody's Around." But now that the band's back together after a few years, we finally have it, as well as "Paralyzed," which got a release last year. It's basically "Shot In The Dark (From The Vault) (BTR's Version)."

I've waited so long for this release and it feels like the perfect note to end this post on!

(Now if only 5SOS's "Wrapped Around Your Finger" and "Rejects" were available on Spotify for US listeners...)

My soundtrack playlists tend to be all over the place when it comes to genre and tone. Strangely enough, though, A Tided Love feels like it has the most cohesive playlist I've made for a WIP. Everything feels like it fits together.

That may be because A Tided Love is the most-planned story I've written to date. As a Plantser, I usually go into a new WIP with a vague-ish outline covering the basics and leave myself room to explore the rest as I write. That's where the details are discovered and characters begin to feel like real people to me.

For NaNoWriMo, however, I fully embraced my Planner side. There's still plenty I've been figuring out as I go, but having that much laid out in advance kind of set the tone of things ahead of time.

I also know I'm still in the earlier chapters of the story, where the focus is heavily on Caroline and Thomas's past rather than the future, so the soundtrack's tone is going to be more nostalgia-heavy.

I'm expecting this soundtrack will get more chaotic and eclectic in the future like its sister playlists, once I get more into it. And perhaps, once it has, I'll update you with a Vol. 2. write-up.



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