It was seven years ago when I first conceived the idea for my novel Not Famous. I’d had a rough idea of the plot and the main characters… but almost all other details got fleshed out during the writing process. Some nights I’d lay awake in bed pondering plot points and dialogue. One key aspect of the story was that the main character (named Nick after Nick Hornby) would find himself pursuing a young singer/songwriter playing acoustic gigs in coffeehouses and bars and such. Naturally, I spent a lot of time thinking about the kind of songs she would play… either her own songs or cover songs. At this point in the planning stage, I wasn’t ready to discuss ideas or seek advice from others about what artists were similar to who I was envisioning to be Nick’s love interest. I spent a lot of time on Google searching for answers my questions. I can’t exactly remember what query I put in, but something directed to me to a YouTube video of an acoustic performance by Taylor Swift. That’s it! I thought. She’s the ticket. I knew of Taylor Swift, of course (I have two sisters, after all) but I’d never actually listened to her music before. I’d actually kind of avoided it. At the time of this discovery I was a bit more open-minded state (in other words, desperate for inspiration), so when I listened to the song I found myself so impressed that I wanted to hear more, and eventually, some aspects of the Alli Conwell character was inspired by Taylor Swift—and in the novel she is a fan.
Now, would I consider myself a Taylor Swift fan? Well… I’m not going with my sisters to any concerts anytime soon, but I do enjoy some of her songs, and I am truly grateful for discovering her music during my writing process because it helped me get in the head of the Alli Conwell character.
If you’re reading this you might be asking “What was the Taylor Swift song you heard?” Well, I’d like to tell you, but the song itself influenced the creation of a character and a plot point in the novel, so if you really want to know you’ll have to read it. Several Taylor songs get mentioned in the book, but the song that so profoundly changed the course of the novel is the last one featured, and happens in a pivotal scene.