“The only baggage you can bring is all that you can’t leave behind…”
The haunting lyrics coming out of my car stereo one chilly October morning made me swerve across traffic and into a parking lot. Quickly, I grabbed a pen and paper to scribble down the words to a U2 song that perfectly captured the emotional struggle of my heroine, who travels with a suitcase containing reminders of a family tragedy.
“Pairing Off,” the story of a gutsy American figure skater heroine and a sexy Russian figure skater hero, has music woven into the fabric of the book.
Some songs play up the fun in a scene, such as when Carrie and Anton find common ground through a shared love for The Ramones, or jump into an ice-cold swimming pool, while Katrina and the Waves’ “Walking on Sunshine” plays in the background. Songs also add emotional depth. When Carrie returns to the United States for a not-so-happy holiday visit, the ubiquitous Christmas music underscores her sadness.
Other songs, though never mentioned, reflect elements of the story. What soundtrack for a book set in Russia would be complete without the Beatles’ “Back in the U.S.S.R.?” Death Cab for Cutie’s “You Are A Tourist,” has a great line about the many destinations we call home. U2’s “Walk On,” which I consider the book’s theme song, is about leaving behind our baggage of guilt and sadness, to find love and a place to belong, all central themes of “Pairing Off.”
As Carrie and Anton train, laugh, fight and fall in love, music—from Pachelbel’s Canon in D, to Peggy Lee’s “Fever;” Abba’s “Dancing Queen” to the Foo Fighters’ “Wheels,” – drives their story, bridges their differences, and unites their hearts.
This post was originally published at www.carinapress.com