When a writer wants to add a feeling of time and place that resonates with readers, one technique is to include a few words or lines of a popular song from that period. This works even better when the lyrics themselves tie into the scene action.
My final draft of When Red Is Blue included about 10 words from Harper Valley P.T.A. and four lines from Down In It by Nine Inch Nails. I had grown attached to these lyrics, having spent hours contemplating which songs to use and then becoming thrilled to discover NIN lyrics that tied in beautifully with the scene I wanted to use them in.
When I mentioned to Brion (my designer) that I was working on getting licenses to use them, he “strongly recommended” that I save myself time, money and pain and pull both sets of lyrics out of the book. Of course, being stubborn, optimistic and in love with the words that were now part of my work, I ignored him and proceeded to try to get permission.Read more