Let’s welcome my friend AJ Krafton to The Rock of Pages! We’ve bonded, she and I, over our musical loves and with a new book out last month, I asked her to come talk about… what else? The collision of music and fiction.
Senza Fyne, Senzafine: The Musical Inspiration behind AJ Krafton’s THE HEARTBEAT THIEF
By Ash Krafton
I’ve always been inspired by music. Words are powerful things but somehow, when they are sung, they gain an extra layer of strength and intent, especially when the singer pours their heart and their emotion into each note, each line. Their art becomes part of me, seeking the spark within me that is a new story, waiting to be told.
If I tried, I could identify a song behind almost every story, every poem I’ve ever written. In fact, my third novel, WOLF’S BANE, was inspired by a German metal band. You know how writers sometimes feel like their characters are real people? Part of me actually believes Turn of the Wheel is a real band. I even made concert shirts. See?
So, yeah. I like to rock out when I write, and write about what rocks me.
Lacuna Coil: Moody Music
Give me some music; music, moody food
Of us that trade in love.
(Antony and Cleopatra, 2.5.1-2)
I love these words…”music, moody food”…because the sentiment perfectly describes the muse that leads me through the pages of each of my stories.
I tend to listen to music that is emotionally-laden. My writing playlists lean heavily toward rock and metal—Type O Negative, Blind Guardian, My Chemical Romance, and especially the Italian band Lacuna Coil.
Lacuna Coil are an Italian gothic band I first heard when they opened for Type O Negative in 2003, I believe. I was stunned by the melodious qualities of the duo vocalists against the keys and guitar. Moody food, indeed!
The next morning, despite a thick fuzzy head from the great quantities of Bacardi mixers consumed the night before, I stopped at a record store and bought the CD Comalies, listening to that swirl of rapture all morning.
The songs spoke of longing and separation and the agonies of love—things I haven’t experience since I was an angsty teen—and I realized I found my elusive muse at last. Songs like Entwined and The Ghost Woman and the Hunter supplied the emotions my characters need to flourish, renewed by the beauty and the grace of my musical muse.
Lacuna Coil have since progressed to become a kick-ass symbol of all things urban fantasy—fortunate for me, no doubt, as I have lots of urban fantasy and paranormal romance inside me just begging to claw its way out.
Lacuna Coil’s songs take me to a place where urban fantasy becomes real. Their song “Our Truth” from the album Karmacode even appeared in one of the Underworld movies. What can be more urbanly fantastic than a movie about vampires and werewolves and (quite literally) everything in between?
There is something about Lacuna Coil songs that make me want to write: their guitar-driven melodies, their soul-searing harmonies, their relentless pounding heartbeat. It’s almost as if I become a part of their flow—they create and inspire me to create in return.
The Heartbeat Thief and its Musical Muse
While I have lots of favorite LC titles, the top of the list is Senzafine, one of their Italian-language songs.
Senzafine is the Italian word for “without end” or “endless”. It’s the word that inspired the main character’s name: Senza Fyne. It also told her story.
It wasn’t only the title that inspired the character. The lyrics themselves and their underlying interpretation accurately portray the internal struggle Senza experiences and is the perfect companion piece to the story.
This video of Senzafine [https://youtu.be/JIRIRHW5sWc] contains an English translation of the lyrics so that you can enjoy the song, even if you don’t speak Italian. (It also has live clips of LC, which makes me very happy. I love seeing them in concert!)
While the provided translation may not be perfect, it does get the gist of it. The female voice expresses her desire to break free of her life, her destiny. The male voice sings of darker things, the force that fights against the female. There is a constant battle between good and evil and the female admits that is sometimes hard to choose between them. There is also the realization that she must be prepared to live alone, dependent upon only herself.
And that, to me, sounds very much like the symphony of Senza’s determined heart.
Playing opposite to Senza is a tall, mysterious stranger who teases her with secretive smiles and suggestions of magic. From their first meeting, he calls her bien-aime, which is French for “beloved”. When she demands his name, he listens to the tolling of a nearby church bell before calling himself Mr. Knell.
But he has an older name. A much older name. And it will take Senza a very, very long time before she realizes just who he truly is.
The song Senzafine fits him, too. One particular verse fits Senza’s dark seducer perfectly. In fact, I believe the last lines belong to him…
Non c’e scelta senza me
Non c’e vita senza me
There’s no choice without me
There’s no life without me
And Senza utterly believes him.
I hope you’ll read The Heartbeat Thief [http://viewBook.at/thief]and keep these words somewhere in the back of your heart. And when you finish, and you close the book, think back upon Senza and her struggle to escape her destined life. Think back upon Knell and think back upon those last lines. I hope you’ll find them as deliciously poignant as I do.
Most of all, think back upon your own feelings, and firmly resolve to resist destiny’s plans for you and choose your own, instead. The song will still be there to inspire you on your journey, just as it continues to inspire me.