A few weeks ago I discovered this fabulous rock band called Rival Sons. They’re these young guys from Long Beach that sound just like Led Zeppelin. I absolutely love them. Each song on the album is fresh and original while still being an homage to the great rock bands of the seventies.
Anyway, my favorite song off the album is “Burn Down Los Angeles.” It’s one of those songs that came into my life at exactly the right moment, as I’m currently working on a book that takes place in LA. Being from LA myself, I have such a love/hate relationship with this town. The song just hit me in all the right ways and it’s been a great addition to my personal “soundtrack” for the book. Here it is so you can take a listen:
Every time I find myself heading south into Hollywood and downtown I remember all the reasons why I hate it. The freeways are so badly torn to shreds that I marvel how anybody’s car stays in one piece. Everyone is too busy texting to stay in their own lane, or they think they’re too important to go with the flow of traffic so they cut in and out around everyone else. It’s such a nightmare–but it’s also been a very interesting setting for my book.
People out here have a special kind of cynicism about life. I guess even So Cal “paradise” can make you bitter if you’re here long enough for the golden glow to fade. Everyone’s in a hurry, they’re all stressed out and broke and falling to pieces. Life isn’t pretty here, no matter how much make-up or fake tans or trendy clothes you throw on. It’s a cheap (and I don’t mean money), superficial, and downright cruel town. Yet it’s a place everyone wants to live…or at least they think they do, I suppose. I promise it’s not as glamorous as you think. It is, however, one of those places you should experience before you die, if only to reaffirm that life is better spent elsewhere.
Both of the main characters in my book have a harsh opinion of Los Angeles. One because she experienced a traumatic, life-changing event that drove her away from the city, and the other because he let the town both make and break him. They know how it feels to live in the media’s spotlight and how much damage a single slip-up can cause. She because her parents are infamous rock musicians, and he because his notorious career as a photo-journalist bloodied his hands in ways that can’t be undone.
In spite of their hatred, they’re both fascinated with the city. For her, it’s like a foreign, exotic country best viewed from her house on the hill. For him, it’s a circus and he’s just another clown parading around for money. She views the city with trepidation and a bittersweet longing, while he let’s the city run rampant in his veins, as much a part of him as his own blood. He embraces it, she fears it. And when they come together, the city is an explosive backdrop for both romance and murder.
Needless to say, it’s been a fun book to work on 🙂 I love writing about a city I know so well, one that has just as much dirt as it does glamour. In case you didn’t already figure it out, the working title is “Things Lost In The Fire.” I’ll post more about it in the coming months.
Oh, and for those who enjoy the Vasser Legacy series, we’re just a few short weeks away from the release of the third book, Rulers of Deception! I can’t wait to share it with you.
Until then, I’ll say goodnight from the City of Angels! It may not be the greatest place, but it’ll always be home.