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Inspiration – Something Like Winter

Model Bruno SantosOne thing I absolutely adore is when readers send me songs, saying “This one made me think of your book.” I used to do the same as a reader, discovering by chance a song with lyrics or vibe that suited a favorite story. I still do this as a writer, but in reverse. I’ll find a new tune that sets a certain mood, one that I want to capture and insert into one of my novels. Something Like Winter had quite a few songs that helped inspire it, one of my favorites being Bizarre Love Triangle by a little band called Ghost Ghost. Many of you have commented on the couch scene in the second half of the book. We have the below song to thank for it.

For me, the song encapsulates perfectly that desperate feeling of being the third wheel. Some of the lyrics suit Ben, some suit Tim, and you won’t have to dig deep to figure out that I took direct inspiration from a few of the lines. If you dig this song, you can learn more about the album or listen to all the tracks for free right here.
Speaking of art inspiring art (inspiring art!) there’s another musician by the name of Gavin Beach, who is not only gay and adorable, but has the most phenomenal voice ever. Sometimes I listen to him and imagine Ben Bentley sounds much the same. The second coolest part? While in the middle of reading Something Like Summer, he recorded the following cover, and he later told me the story was on his mind at the time:

Gorgeous! The mostest coolest part? His singing contributed to Something Like Winter. I couldn’t stop listening to Gavin’s cover. I listened to it when getting in the mood to write, and this song along with many of Gavin’s other videos, were playing while Andreas worked on the book’s cover. In other words, we’re big fans. Gavin is working on recording some original tunes, so be sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel to keep up with this shooting star.

For Love of Evil-Piers AnthonyAnother big… okay, tremendously HUGE inspiration in my life has been Piers Anthony and his books. They’ve influenced my personal life and my writing. Each of my fantasy novels borrows something from his stories I grew up reading, and in a weird way, so does Something Like Winter. Piers has a series called The Incarnations of Immortality. Each book was about a personified force of nature, such as Death, War, Fate, and the like. The villain in each book was the Devil. Pretty cool, especially the 6th book in the series, which is from the Devil’s perspective. In that book we learn about his early life, what motivates him and makes him tick, and then we relive all those villainous moments, but through his eyes. The twist is, the Devil has a very good reason for doing all those things that appeared evil in the other books. Brilliant! While I didn’t want to make Tim seem like a saint, since that wouldn’t be honest, I did want to provide that same “A-ha, now I get it!” feeling where his actions are at least understandable, and maybe a little forgivable.

That’s it for this time around. There’s plenty more that inspired me, like that photo of Bruno Santos up top, or The Maltese Falcon, since Marcello and The Fat Man share a deliciously offbeat charm. I could go on and on, but I’d rather go listen to more music, seek out more art, and keep working on my next release. Curious what it’s about? Stay tuned!

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14 Comments  comments 

14 Responses

  1. alan

    I am a huge fan of your Hell’s Pawn book. It’s my favorite by far.
    You should make a sequel or prequel to this story. Or even just another standalone story that talks about the relationship between the incubus and the angel (that would be a good title) but make it so much darker and include the devil in the book.

    That would be a great story to tell, i would definitively buy it.

    • Hey Alan!

      That’s great to hear how you appreciate Hell’s Pawn. That one sort of failed to find an audience, which is a shame, because I still feel it has much to offer. If I ever wrote another book set in the same universe, I’d actually like the Devil to be the main character, and maybe have some of the characters in Hell’s Pawn play cameo or supporting roles. I have a rough plot worked out in my mind, but there are other books I’d like to write first. Maybe someday though. It’s definitely one of those ideas that keeps popping up in my mind. Until then, I’m very happy knowing that Hell’s Pawn is your favorite. :)

      • alan

        What, really? Hell’s Pawn is an acquired taste? I thought everyone loved Hell’s Pawn. It was amazing man and ultra fun.
        I think i just always gravitated toward the adventure-scifi-ish-fantasy sort of book where the author’s imagination is put out there for all to see. It’s sort of intimate to see how someone’s mind actually sees and creates things.
        I absolutely LOVED all those worlds you created, to me they were so vivid.
        And the sex with the incubus was so intense.
        I also loved that part when he said if he could choose anyone to love he would choose him.
        The thought of that was so bittersweet and so true to real life. If only we could choose who we could love, instead of love just happening.
        There is so much symbolism in that story.
        Hell’s Pawn is just absolutely perfect in my opinion.

        Look me up, i might just buy the rights to this book, just kidding.

        • Aw, thanks! I’m glad the bittersweet aspect worked for you. I consciously wanted to avoid the generic plot of “boy meets boy, boy wins boy”, since so often in life we fall for someone that we can’t have. That’s a theme I’d like to explore again some day.

          As for a movie, I think Hell’s Pawn would make an awesome anime! Just think how cool Hell and all the other realms would look! 😀

  2. Tom

    Marcello, Marcello, Marcello … I keep thinking I should email you my thoughts on this guy. Older/younger, midlife crisis, good guy/bad guy. I just can’t get my head around it all. One day I will sit down and write my thoughts about this guy. But maybe you have him all planned out already and the book is written and ready to publish :)
    Read all your books and looking forward to more.

    • Oh, I think we’ll see Marcello again some day. I had too much fun writing him to say goodbye to him already. 😀 I’d love to hear your thoughts on him regardless!

  3. Derek Charlton

    Just finished Something like Winter. Never before have I had tears in my eyes from reading a book. I don’t want to say anything that will give away any of the plot but I have to tell you that the book truly touched me. I find myself thinking about Tim and Ben a day later and want to know more.

    You have touched me Jay. Thank you so much!

    • I keep thinking of Ben and Tim too, which is why they will return eventually in Something Like Spring. That will be a happy day for us both! :)

  4. I also began to hear ‘We Found Love’ while reading the part where Ben left Tim’s house keys for good. You should try to listen to Kylie Minogue’s new version of ‘Never Too Late’.. I swear it’s Tim’s song.

    I’m a big fan.

    • I love me some Kylie! Those lyrics do suit Tim. LOL As for the part where Ben drops off the key, I always hear Lisa Loeb’s “Do You Sleep” since that scene is heavily inspired by the lyrics. Makes me feel all sad inside! :(

  5. Riina

    Ohhh I love what you did here!

    This entire “inspiration” section is AWESOME! I am really loving the idea … glad you took the time to give us some backstage! ha ha – I love it.

    I would love to hear a few more things that inspired you to write Tim and Ben’s story….

    I checked out those songs above! from Ghost Ghost and Gavin Beach.
    Oh I loved them! Bizarre Love Triangle is very interesting! Inspiring too! I liked it. And Gavin Beach? He is one hell of an Angel’s Voice indeed! Thank you! I am so glad I discovered his songs…!!!!

    There is one song from by fav. Band which reminds me of Tim alot.
    It’s a beautiful, bittersweet song, and I can’t help but associate it with him.


    I had to translate it from Japanese though, ..

    The winter had passed
    And the spring has come
    My heart is covered in bruises from the longing
    My sadness and tears are dyed blue
    (I’m singing my blues)
    I have sent away my love with the floating clouds

    That we are seperated now is all my fault
    I’m going to say good night
    To our love story tonight
    In front of “ai”* (*love), I’ve added a “B”* (*”Bai” = Bye)

    When I say goodbye, your eyes are teary-eyed
    I want to forget, but I can’t
    I feel so hollow
    There’s no loving someone other than you

    All alone now everyday

    Since I met you
    I have loved you to death
    Now in my blue-dyed, withered heart I can’t feel you anymore
    It seems to have stopped beating
    We are frozen where it ended, You and I
    Carved into my head, like a trauma

    When my tears dry, I’ll remember love
    Then there is no pain or sadness
    that’s what I tell myself (Talking to myself inside)
    But the truth is I can not bear it
    Everything was no use
    People will continue to meet just to seperate again

    The winter had passed
    And the spring has come
    My heart is covered in bruises from the longing
    Tonight again I’ll fall asleep awash in the blue moon’s glow
    Even in my dreams I search for you and wander
    singing this song

  6. Caron Neal

    Heya Jay I have just finished your book something like autumn what a lovely and moving book I was wondering will you be carrying on with that story line?? I hope so I’d like to see what happens to Ben and whether him & Tim do get back together or not??

    • Hi Caron. There will indeed be a fourth book called Something Like Spring. I just started work on it. As for if Ben and Tim get back together, have you read all three books? Something Like Winter answers this question already. Thanks for the kind words about Autumn!

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