Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Critical Role of Music When I Write by Jon S. Lewis + Giveaway!

Domination (C.H.A.O.S. #3)
Jon S. Lewis

Their goal is simple: Total domination.

With six arms and jaws that can snap a man in two, the warmongering race of aliens known as the Thule has conquered every planet they’ve attacked.

And now their invasion of Earth has begun.

Humanity’s only hope springs from a mysterious Thule legend about a Betrayer, who they believe will rise up and destroy their people. The American government tried to manufacture their own Betrayer by injecting children with Thule blood but time after time the experiment failed... until Colt McAlister.

A decade later, Colt is a 16-year-old cadet at the CHAOS Military Academy where he’s training to defend mankind. But he’s afraid that the alien blood may be turning him into a Thule—and he’s beginning to suspect that fulfilling his role as the Betrayer may cost him everything.

Experience a cosmic battle filled with high-tech gear, gateways to other planets, and ultimate stakes. Not everyone will survive. But heroes will rise up and step into their destiny in this earth-shaking conclusion to the C.H.A.O.S trilogy.

Why Music is Critical to My Writing Process

Music is a critical part of my writing process for two very important reasons:

  1. The right playlist draws out emotions that help me set the tone for a scene
  2. Songs trigger memories that are so real it’s as though I’ve traveled back in time
Drawing Out Emotion
You’re in a car with your friends flying down the highway. It’s been a long day and you just want to go home and veg out, but suddenly your favorite song plays through the speakers. Your eyes light up, you reach over and crank up the volume and it only takes a few notes before all of you are singing at the top of your lungs.

See what I mean? Music can change your mood in a split second. But conflict is the fuel of good storytelling, which means creating a playlist of the songs that put a smile on my face isn’t going to take me very far. There are times I need to take my emotions to a dark and frightening place. Or a place of sadness and despair. Anger. Frustration. Elation. Relief. And I use songs as the prompts to take me there. 

Triggering Memories
I might not be a teen any longer, but anytime I need to I can travel back in time to remember how nervous I was to ask someone to the prom, or the despair I felt when my girlfriend broke up with me because I moved to a different state. I can trigger memories of long bus trips after a basketball game, the last day of school or waterskiing with my friends all summer long.

Every time I hear “Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2 I get taken back to the tiny of town of Waconia, Minnesota. My buddy got a convertible Mustang for his birthday and we loved driving through the winding country roads despite having nowhere in particular to go. The top would be down and we’d turn the radio turned all the way up. I can smell the fresh cut hay, remember the looks on the girls faces as we drove by, and I can still remember the exact hue of the sun as it set in the horizon.

Domination started out in a place of abject despair, so the playlist consisted of soundtracks from movies like Shutter Island and Children of Men. To trigger fear I’d listen to the disturbing soundtrack from 28 Days Later. When I wrote the cadets training to fly using jetpacks and hoverboards I’d listen to the soundtrack from Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow. But when I wanted to remember the strange but invigorating feeling of having a crush on a girl, I listened to songs like “Always Something There To Remind Me” by Naked Eyes, “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, and “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds.

About the Author

Born early enough to remember rotary phones, typewriters, and the glory years of Atari, Jon S. Lewis has lived a rather obscure life in the shadows of many nearly famous people.

A member of the Grey Griffins (a secret club of courageous children who have vowed to save the world from evil overlords, alien invasions and Brussels sprouts), Lewis grew up in the heartland of America. Yearning to become a marine biologist, but perplexed by the lack of exotic saltwater marine life in both Iowa and Minnesota (perch don't count), he headed west. Sadly, his quest for the sea ended too soon, stranding him in the blustering desert of Arizona, where dreams of discovering new breeds of ferocious sharks were all but destroyed.

So it was, dejected and wandering like a drifting vagabond, that Lewis explored an eclectic career that would include news reporting, radio producing, animation, multi-media design, mural painting, speech writing, video game development and marketing.

Ever searching for new forms of creative expression, Lewis and boyhood friend Derek Benz sought to make their indelible mark through the written word. Thus from that collaboration was penned the Grey Griffins series by Scholastic, Inc.

Lewis is currently working on a variety of projects that include feature films, comic books, graphic novels, animated series, and a variety of philanthropic endeavors. He writes middle grade science fantasy as J.S. Lewis.


There is a tour-wide giveaway for y'all! 3 lucky winners will each win a set of all of the books in the C.H.A.O.S. trilogy, and 5 more winners will each receive their choice of book from the series. To enter, all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Rules and Disclosure:
Giveaway ends April 30th at 11.59 (your time).
Open to US residents only. Sorry, international folks! Check my sidebar for current giveaways that are open worldwide!
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their prizes will be forfeited.
I am not selecting winners for this giveaway, nor I am responsible for the prizes, or for shipping and handling.
Good luck!