*** SPECIAL FEATURE - January'14 ***
“I’ve been in and out of hospitals for the past ten months. I’ve had half my liver removed and even though this time the doctors are very optimistic that they’ve removed all of the tumours, they can’t be sure. In another three months they want me here again for a check up. Right now I feel better than I’ve ever felt. I know the damn thing is gone, at least for the moment. Despite that, I can’t make any plans for the future, not yet. I need to go somewhere where nobody knows me, where I can relax and maybe even forget about all this. Where I can meet people who don’t think of me as the girl who lost her father and her brother in a car accident, and who has cancer. I want to have fun, even if it’s for a couple of months.”
When Stella decides to visit her estranged cousin Lisa in Genoa, she has no idea Italy will give her a new reason to live.
“Her gaze locked on a scene so beautiful, the picturesque beach paled in comparison. A lifeguard emerged from the water, his orange trunks stuck to his legs and water dripping all over him. He shook his head to get rid of some of the water in his hair and Stella felt as if everything started developing in slow motion – tiny drops of water slid from his neck down his broad chest and muscular arms, along a weaving tattoo on his right shoulder, and continued downwards towards his chest and washboard stomach, finally getting lost in the waistband of his trunks. A part of another tattoo peeked over his trunks on his left hip, the other part hidden under them. It was a total Baywatch moment.”
Their love is epic. But there are too many things keeping them apart.
“How could you keep this from me, Lisa? If you had told me the first day I met him, I would have avoided him like the plague. Nothing would have happened between us.”
“I kept your secrets, too, Stella.”
Are Max and Stella strong enough to fight not only for their love, but for their lives?
In a Heartbeat Playlist
1. Try - Pink
2. Locked out of heaven - Bruno Mars
3. Too close - Alex Claire
4. Amazing - Aerosmith
5. Stay - Rihanna
6. Time of your life - Green Day
7. Stronger - Kanye West
8. Someone like you - Adele
9. Bad romance - 30 Seconds to Mars (Lady Gaga cover)
10. Run - Matt Nathanson
11. Nobody else - Take That
12. Feel - Robbie Williams
13. Alone in the bed - Framing Hanley
14. A beautiful lie - 30 Seconds to Mars
15. Lost in you - Three Days Grace
16. Lollipop - Framing Hanley
17. From Yesterday - 30 Seconds to Mars
18. Never too late - Three Days Grace
19. Was it a dream - 30 Seconds to Mars
20. Feeling this - Blink 182
21. Scars - Papa Roach
22. The story - 30 Seconds to Mars
23. Fallen - 30 Seconds to Mars
24. Burn it down - Linkin Park
25. Hear me now - Framing Hanley
I was listening to ‘Run’ by Matt Nathanson when the story of In a Heartbeat kind of hit me. I never sat down and thought about what I was going to write – it just came to me. I had that song on repeat when I was outlining the book so I guess I have to call it the In a Heartbeat theme song.
You turn, turn, turn, turning me on
Like a slow fire burn
Know that it's wrong
Still I run, run, run, run right into you
Yeah, I run, run, run, run right into you...
I’m amazing when you’re beside me
I am so much more
‘Feel’ by Robbie Williams has to be Stella’s song. It’s one of my all time favourite songs and it sums up pretty much Stella’s story:
I just wanna feel
Real love feel the home that I live in
Cos I got too much life
Running through my veins
Going to waste
I don't wanna die
But I ain't keen on living either
Before I fall in love
I'm preparing to leave her (him in Stella’s case)
‘Lost in you’ by Three Days Grace is another one of my favourites and it’s Max’s song.
Somehow I found
A way to get lost in you
Let me inside
Let me get close to you
Change your mind
I'll get lost
If you want me to
Somehow I found
A way to get lost in you
‘Never too late’ by Three Days Grace is the song I had on repeat when I was writing the final chapters of the book. It’s such an inspirational song and I absolutely agree with the band when they sing:
This world will never be
What I expected
And if I don't belong
Who would have guessed it...
Maybe we'll turn it all around
'Cause it's not too late
It's never too late
Adele’s ‘21’ album is always on my playlist. It’s an incredible album and I’ll probably never get tired of listening to it. I used ‘Someone like you’ when Max and Stella were dancing in the bar after hours and had to have it on the book’s playlist.
Whoever’s read the book knows why ‘Amazing’ by Aerosmith is on the playlist. It’s one of the songs I grew up with and used to watch MTV for hours on end just to hear it again.
I put ‘Stay’ by Rihanna on the playlist because my friend Veronica who was the first person ever to read the book after I completed the first draft, said she thought it fitted perfectly a certain scene and I had to agree. I love Rihanna so I had to have her on the playlist.
I adore Framing Hanley! Such a wonderful, talented band! I had both their albums on repeat and for about two days I didn’t listen to anything else. ‘Alone in this bed’ had me in tears the first time I heard it and unfortunately it fitted a part of my book I found very hard writing.
30 Seconds to Mars was my great inspiration for In a Heartbeat. I listened to their music all the time. It always seemed to get me out of a mental block and kick my brain into working again.
The rest of the songs are something I listened to while writing and I usually associated a certain lyric with something that was happening in my book. The playlist I have on repeat on my computer is 400 songs long and I can’t possibly list all of them, although I’m sure every single one is a part of the book, in a way.
I can’t stand the quiet – I need to have music on all day long, even if I’m not writing.
So, there you go – my In a Heartbeat playlist. Hope you enjoy listening to the songs – I know I have, and I still do.
Gia had let Beppe into her life so easily, as if it was the most natural thing in the world. She’d held him when he’d hurt so badly he’d thought he might die; she’d talked him down when he’d been so angry he’d considered doing something he’d regret for the rest of his life.
Gia had saved his life.
At least once he needed to be strong for her.
This right now, this moment, was theirs. It belonged to them, not to abusive or dead fathers, not to guilt, regret or sorrow, not to the past or the future.
But will their love survive when tragedy separates them?
“I have to go, Gia. I’m tired and I feel empty. I know you need me, but I have nothing left to give you. I need to heal.”
“I miss you so much it’s hard to breathe.”
Beppe was still Gia’s closest friend. But they’d never be anything more than that again. Remembering what it felt like to have the person you love most in the world torn away from you still hurt. Gia was determined never to be put into that position again.
There was never lack of love, but can Beppe win Gia’s trust again?
“When I was broken you gave me pieces of yourself and made me whole again.”
Then, Now, Forever music playlist
Song quotes edits made by my very talented friend Amber at grownupfangirl.com
Music is an essential part of my writing process. I can’t write in silence – it’s just weird. My taste in music is very eclectic – I can listen to almost anything. When I was writing Then, Now, Forever I had a wide range of artists and genres playing all the time. And when I say all the time, I mean all. the. time. My laptop was on for 16 hours a day, constantly playing music even when I wasn’t in the room. Walking back inside and finding one of my favourite songs playing always put me in the mood to write.
Even though I must have listened to hundreds of different songs while writing the book, the ones I chose for the official playlist are the ones I had on a loop while I was writing certain scenes. It’s amazing how someone, hundreds of miles away, a long time ago, has written a song and when you hear it, right at this moment, it means something very personal to you. Or, in my case, for my characters.
The theme song of Then, Now, Forever is Justin Timberlake’s Mirrors. It was like JT wrote it for Beppe and Gia. Every single line of the song resonates with my characters and their story.
Another song that reminds me of Gia and Beppe, especially of their relationship as teenagers, is Adam Lambert’s Never Close Our Eyes.
Beppe’s song has to be The Kill by 30 Seconds to Mars. That was the song that I had on a loop for hours. It was the song that inspired Beppe’s character while I was still writing In a Heartbeat and concentrating on Max and Stella. It was the song that inspired Beppe and Gia’s whole relationship.
It is the song that defines the whole book.
I listen to 30 Seconds to Mars all the time, writing or not. Their music has definitely influenced my writing and the stories I tell. For Then, Now, Forever I listened to their new album Faith, Love, Lust + Dreams constantly. While I was writing the book, I went to Italy for 4 days and saw 30 Seconds to Mars live. It was one of the most amazing concerts I’ve ever been to and logically it inspired me to write a whole chapter where Beppe and Gia, along with Max and Stella, go to a 30 Seconds to Mars show. It wasn’t planned before I actually went myself, but the experience was definitely worth writing about.
Another band which I adore is Three Days Grace. Usually, I prefer alternative to classic rock, but Three Days Grace’s sound is very old-school and very inspiring. They are one of the not too many bands that sound better live than in the studio.
Over and Over is a song I had playing throughout the book, as well as Gone Forever, Pain, Home and Wake Up.
Beppe has a tattoo with a quote from Rise Against’s song Rumours Of My Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated, so it had to make the playlist too.
Stupid Girl by Framing Hanley was on repeat when Gia was about to do something stupid, which was quite often.
Hurricane by 30 Seconds to Mars is an old favourite of mine. It asks an eternal question: “Would you kill to save a life?” It also paints a beautiful picture of a dysfunctional, yet perfect relationship – or at least that’s how I see it.
I listen to a lot of Green Day. A lot. When September Ends is a beautiful song, I’ll never get tired of it. It makes me all melancholy and dreamy, and puts me in the right mindset to write an angsty scene.
1. The Kill – 30 Seconds to Mars
2. Hurricane – 30 Seconds to Mars
3. Over and Over – Three Days Grace
4. Stupid Girl – Framing Hanley
5. Closer to the edge – 30 Seconds to Mars
6. Mirrors – Justin Timberlake
7. Do or Die – 30 Seconds to Mars
8. Up in the air – 30 Seconds to Mars
9. If I had you – Adam Lambert
10. What do you want from me – Adam Lambert
11. Californication – Red Hot Chilli Peppers
12. Gone forever – Three Days Grace
13. Never close our eyes – Adam Lambert
14. Pain – Three Days Grace
15. Home – Three Days Grace
16. Wake up – Three Days Grace
17. What goes around comes around – Justin Timberlake
18. Wait for me – Kings of Leon
19. Oh Love – Green Day
20. Let yourself go – Green day
21. When September Ends – Green day
22. Take me – Papa Roach
23. Getting away with murder – Papa Roach
24. Was it a dream – 30 Seconds to Mars
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