A very warm welcome to author of Strings Attached, Mandy Baggot!
The hero of Strings Attached is the gorgeous musician Quinn Blake and with a fab suggested playlist ranging from The Gypsy Kings to Billy Idol, I took the opportunity to ask Mandy some questions about Strings Attached and how the playlist related to the book.
Where did the idea come from for Strings Attached?
Wow! That’s a hard question! I can’t really answer it properly because it will give away secrets from the plot! I always start off with my characters and they often dictate what happens in the story – this novel will hopefully pull readers in lots of different directions. Strings Attached is still a story with lots of humour but it’s also full of emotion – all sorts of emotions – and I hope readers will find it a total reading experience. If I’ve written it right it should make them laugh out loud and cry – maybe even at the same time!
Is Quinn based on a particular musician?
No! Quinn is very much his own man! When I draw characters I will know how tall they are, their colouring and build but they always have blank faces! I know that sounds weird, but they are rarely associated with anyone and I never tend to describe them too heavily because I think the readers should be able to imagine those finer details themselves. Quinn has blue eyes though and a chiselled jaw and short brown hair and…well he’s very hot!
Did you already know which songs you wanted to associate with Strings Attached?
As Quinn is a musician I wanted him to have a ‘sound’ – I needed to know what type and style of music he played. His songs are strong and well written, leaning towards rock but with surprising classical influences. For me his music is ‘The Goo Goo Dolls’. Because of Quinn’s sound and George’s love of classic rock (AC/DC, Billy Idol, Guns ‘n’ Roses etc.) the music I listened to whilst writing was mostly rock based. Although Marisa (George’s 17 year old pop culture expert and catering assistant) loves a bit of The Black Eyed Peas and Beyoncé so there is some of that in there too!
Did the playlist change as the novel was written?
Yes, simply because the action in the novel moves to Spain. Whilst writing those sections it would have been wrong not to involve The Gipsy Kings, Santana, Enrique etc! Not forgetting the much loved Sisqo and his Thong Song! I want readers to feel that Spanish sun and the passion as it hots up.
Which is your favourite song from the playlist?
ARGH!! Are you going to make me choose one? I like them all! OK – choosing one – White Wedding by Billy Idol.
If you could embark on a love affair with a musician, who would it be?
That’s an easy one! I have had a long musical affair with Bryan Adams, starting when my Dad used to play me his music. I can’t remember how many times I have seen him play live and he is an amazing singer/songwriter/musician. In fact I am going to see him again in December at Bournemouth and Bryan, if you’re reading this, I think its high time you picked me from the audience to sing ‘When You’re Gone’ with you!! I could do a You Tube audition if you like!
Quinn played in Basingstoke, Manchester and Glasgow. Have you ever visited these places or been to any concerts at these venues?
I’ve been toBasingstokebut not to The Anvil (the main concert venue there). TheBasingstokevenue in Strings Attached is called The Hexagon and is fictional. I set it inBasingstokesimply because I needed Quinn to play at a smaller venue on his tour to create the more informal setting for the after-show party where he meets George. I’m really ashamed to admit I’ve not been toManchesterorGlasgow! I must remedy this – perhaps Bryan Adams might invite me on his tour bus! No Mandy, now he thinks you’re a stalker style groupie!
You’ve had some fame on You Tube with your versions of Adele and Lady Gaga – were you nervous? Could you play to sell out crowds like Quinn?
Believe me when you’ve auditioned in the Millennium Stadium for The X Factor and been on ITV1’s Who Dares Sings (with Denise Van Outen and Ben Shepherd), singing on You Tube is as easy as doing the weekly shop in Tesco! I don’t get nervous at all anymore, but that’s just because I’ve done karaoke and stage performances so much, its now like second nature. I have the same love for singing that I do for writing and I sing for a local vocal group, Raise the Roof. I find singing with a group really challenging because you can’t just go off and do your own thing like you might when you’re singing solo – you have to listen to each other and work as a team – sometimes Lady Baggot finds that quite hard!! As for the sell out crowds – if they want to listen to me I’ll sing for them!!
Which song do you think best sums up Strings Attached, which one Quinn and which one George and why?
For Quinn it has to be ‘Light On’ by David Cook. The lyrics are all about someone leaving and telling the person left behind to leave a light on so they don’t feel so alone. I can imagine Quinn singing this for George.
For George it is Whitesnake’s ‘Is This Love?’. This song has been important to George in the past and also, she s always questioning how she really feels about relationships and wants to be sure before she commits to anything new. I can’t tell you any more – you’ll have to read the book!!
Thank you Mandy, I really enjoyed reading Strings Attached and wish you every success with it.
Mandy is on Twitter and has her own blog www.mandybaggot.webs.com