Sunday, 4 September 2016

Sky's Musical Corner - Katey Lovell about her inspiration for The Singalong Society for Singletons

When Simona invited me to write a guest post about my first full length novel The Singalong Society for Singletons (published October 7th 2016 by Harper Impulse), I was delighted.  Simona and I have similar reading taste and her blog is always full of brilliant recommendations, so I was more than happy to be her guest.

The very first spark of an idea for the novel came in November 2015, and it was as simple as ‘I want to write a book about musicals’.  I’ve loved them since I was a child (just like Mon, the protagonist in the novel, I wanted to fly like Mary Poppins!) and if anything, my passion for them has grown over the years.  Whether it’s watching a live performance, a cinema showing or settling down on a Sunday afternoon with a DVD, musicals have the power to lift my spirits.

Before I wrote a single word, I had the title in my mind. I’ve always adored alliteration (see what I did there?) and it came to me from nowhere – at first it was simply ‘The Singalong Society’ but then to ensure it had a strong romance element I extended it to The Singalong Society for Singletons. 

I then wrote a short synopsis, planning to base each chapter around a different film.  The next task was to decide which musicals were going to be included.  Determined to get a spread of classics, modern favourites, cult movies and nostalgic feel-good films, I set about making a list.  I spoke to readers on social media asking which were their favourite musicals.  I spent hours reminding myself of the themes of each film on my list, so I could tie what the characters go through with what was happening on-screen.  I watched every musical mentioned in the novel at least once, normally twice, as part of my research, making detailed notes to ensure the essence of each musical came across through my writing.  It took a lot of time, but was a necessary part of the writing process (as well as being fun!)

For nine months I lived and breathed musicals. As well as watching them on DVD in every spare moment, I saw a fair few live – Matilda (on Broadway), Chicago, Let It Be, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – and also went to a Singalong screening of Dirty Dancing.  That was an experience…

I’ve had songs from the shows playing on a loop in my head, I’ve been quoting lines from my favourite films without realising it, I’ve been dancing around my living room like I’m Irene Cara in Fame

You’d think I’d be all musicalled out by the time I wrote ‘The End’ but to celebrate finishing the project there was only one thing to do… go to the theatre.

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