A year or two ago Laura Huntt Foti, a long time business friend of mine, told me she was going to write a book that included a soundtrack. I had never heard of anything like that so I was totally intrigued. Laura was a writer and she spent many years in the music business so I figured if anyone could do it, it would certainly be her. I didn’t quite understand how the words would be integrated with the music but I clearly got the premise.
Laura said that when she read books that were influenced by music she craved to hear the piece that was mentioned. She was especially influenced by Keith Richards’ autobiography, Life. “As I read it, several times I went to my desk to play songs that were mentioned—and even buy them when I didn’t already have them. If I’d had my Kindle Fire then, and if the music had somehow been integrated into the book, it would have been a much more satisfying experience. That became my long-term goal for book publishing.”
Laura has just pioneered this concept with her debut novel, The Cusp of Everything, which includes a 1970s era sound track. There are references to more than 200 primarily 1970’s-era songs throughout The Cusp of Everything, setting tone and time frame. “The original concept for the book was that it would be published as an e-book on Amazon or iTunes so that you could play clips seamlessly while you were reading, and buy the songs if you liked them,” she explains. “But I couldn’t figure out how to do it without completely interrupting the reading experience. So readers can go to the book’s website, www.cuspofeverything.com, and listen from there. It’s not ideal, but it will have to do for now.”
The Cusp of Everything is published by Prince Willow Publishing and available now from Amazonfor $11.95. The cover was designed by NorthSouth Studios. Cusp on Barnes & Noble (print): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-cusp-of-everything-laura-huntt-foti/1110951939?ean=9780615628400
Cusp for iPad/iPhone: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-cusp-of-everything/id528864949?mt=11
Since 1996 Laura has worked as an independent writer/editor, researcher and social media marketing consultant through her company Sound Input. Prior to starting her consulting practice, Laura developed interactive programs as Senior Vice President of Philips Interactive Media. Previously she was Director of Marketing for RCA Video Productions (BMG) and Video Editor of Billboard. I met her back in the early ‘80s when she was Managing Editor of Audio Times.
In conclusion, other authors have tried to incorporate music into their fiction, but from what I can see Laura has taken it to its logical extreme. Rather than just a playlist of music to listen to, or music inspired by the book, music is almost a character in her book. It is completely integrated throughout the story in a way I don’t think has ever been done before.
Here are some other books utilizing a playlist or soundtrack in some way:
Leave it to Michael Nesmith: way ahead of his time! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prison:_A_Book_with_a_Soundtrack
Sex & the City 2 book/soundtrack CD: http://store.hbo.com/sex-and-the-city-2-book-and-soundtrack-set/detail.php?p=262840
Narrows Gate by Jim Fusilli: http://www.kindlepost.com/2011/11/author-spotlight-jim-fusillis-playlist-for-narrows-gate.html
Reversal by Eric Galvez: http://www.ericgalvezdpt.com/?page_id=6 (music starts playing immediately on this website)
Love Is a Mixtape by Rob Sheffield: (http://www.amazon.com/Love-Is-Mix-Tape-Life/dp/1400083036/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334962197&sr=8-1)
Twilight (music that inspired author Stephanie Meyer) http://www.stepheniemeyer.com/twilight_playlist.html