Music in my Work

Writers work hard to make their writing authentic.  They work to create characters who connect with each other on the page, and they endeavor to cultivate reader familiarity by tapping into universal experiences and emotions.  There are many ways to do all of that, and music is one of them.  

Music plays an important part in each one of my middle grade novels.

In This Journal Belongs to Ratchet, Oldies play on the radio in the background of the garage where Ratchet fixes cars with her dad, and it's these songs that end up being one of the important ways Ratchet connects with Hunter, the boy who becomes her first friend.  

Abigail in Always, Abigail, connects with her best friends, Ali and Cami, through their dance routine music, as they chase their dream to become middle school pom pom girls.  

In my summer camp story, Just Like Me, I remind readers of their own summer camp experience by describing the songs Julia and her cabinmates sing around the campfire. 

In Elsie Mae Has Something to Say, Elsie and her cousin, Henry James, while chasing the hog bandits they hope to capture in their endeavor to become heroes, listen to the crooks singing "Suwannee River" as they hideout in their shelter.  The song gives an authentic detail about the time and place where the story happens, putting the reader right in the middle of the plot.  

And the music in When I Hit the Road, a story of Samantha traveling on a widow's bucket list karaoke road trip with her Gram, exemplifies how music in life and in books is just plain fun.  

Music, no matter what style or kind, no matter how old or new, no matter how slow or fast can be used by writers to connect characters and readers by adding a layer to writing which, though often unnoticed, can be a powerful thread woven into the fabric of a story.

Happy Reading & Writing,

Nancy J. Cavanaugh  


  1. I love this idea of using music to help characters connect to one another!


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