Title: In The Band
Author: Jean Haus
When family problems push Riley Middleton into giving up a percussion scholarship in another state and attending college from home, her friends push her to try out for a local rock band. Of course, Riley makes the band. She rules at the drums.
Riley soon finds out rock bands have a different dynamic than marching bands, especially when each of her male band mates has a major ego and is a major player. Two of them relentlessly flirt with her. The other—a dark, sexy rock god she can’t help being attracted to— is a total jerk and pushes her to quit. She becomes determined to ignore his rudeness and his hotness. Even if she was interested in jerks, a hook up would probably get her booted out of the ego-ridden band, and playing keeps her sane. Behind the drums, the world and its troubles evaporate.
If she wants to stay in the band, Riley needs to ignore the growing sparks between her and her band enemy. But as she gets to know the man behind the stage persona, ignoring him proves to be more difficult than flowing through a time sig shift.
I recently read and reviewed In The Band by Jean Haus, and let me tell you, I LOVED that book! It was raw & real, it had sad parts as well as the swoony parts, AND it included music (plus a hot guy or two); basically, you just couldn’t go wrong! When Jean mentioned an interview/book playlist, I jumped at the chance. I just couldn’t wait to find out more about her, her book, her characters, and the music! Check out what Jean has to say below and of course feel free to check out my review for In The Band right here!
The main character, Riley, goes through so much throughout the entire story. What was the inspiration for her story?
I never realized this until I read your question, but I suppose her issues were inspired by real life. Over the last several years, I’ve witnessed several divorces. Unfortunately, real people helped create Riley’s parents. And more unfortunately, I’ve seen too many kids have to deal with parents too wrapped up in themselves. I’m not saying every parent deals with divorce poorly, but I’ve seen too many that do.
Romeo is certainly one character that stood out to me. Despite the fact that he is oh so dreamy, he is also a very complex person. He has his struggles, the skeletons of his past, ect. I am dying to know, how did he come to be?
While I was beginning to outline the story, the school I work at had a presentation about suicide, which of course was heartbreaking. Without a doubt, that presentation inspired Romeo. I wrote the first two chapters soon after, but I didn’t come back to the story until months later. During that time, his character grew in my head. I like male romance leads that are strong yet vulnerable. So while puzzling him together, I thought of ways to even out his self-esteem issues—which are deep due to his past—and immaturity with some maturity(like his view of sex) and his dedication to music.
Riley has a huge passion for drumming. Was this a shared passion between you and her? If so, how long have you been playing for & what is your favorite part of drumming? If not, how did you research drumming? Because the details, the feelings she felt, EVERYTHING made it seem as though you really knew what you were talking about!
I did play piano years ago, but have only messed around on the drums a few times. So I did do a lot of research about drumming and I had some help, especially with the tryout scene. I posted for beta readers on a writing forum for help with that particular scene. Three musicians answered and each told me what I expected, the scene read like someone who researched drumming. They all helped me whip that scene into shape, and I will be forever thankful. As far as the ‘concert’ scenes, I just listened to each song over and over while I wrote it, describing what I heard from the perspective of the drums. I’ve also been to a number of concerts, so that helped too.
Obviously music plays such a large role in this book. Has it been a big part of your writing? If so, can you please elaborate?
Strangely, until In the Band I never listened to music while writing. I found it distracting. Now I listen to music all the time while writing. But from the start, I decided that if the story was about a band, I wasn’t going to shy away from writing about music or performing.
This book brought out so many emotions in me. There were the swoony moments, the moments where I wanted to punch certain people in the face, and moments that really sort of broke my heart. How were you able to switch back and forth between writing the gushy stuff to the tougher stuff?
Huh? That’s very perceptive. I’ve never thought about switching like that. When I write, each scene has a goal or several goals. I suppose I use the goal to dictate my writing and the atmosphere. So I don’t think of it as switching, rather more as sticking to what’s going on at the particular moment in the story.
A lot of real songs, bands, and musicians were mentioned in this book with everything from We The Kings to The All-American Rejects, and even Mumford & Sons (you get an A+ for including lots of songs/groups I ADORE!) so I must ask, how did you pick which ones to mention? Where these all songs/bands you listen to?
I like every song listed or referred to in the book, but they don’t all regularly show up in my listening list. I kind of went with the idea that Romeo would be eclectic in his choices rather than finicky. As a businessman, he’d choose things he’d thought that would work well live. So I went with things I thought would pump up a crowd. That was usually how I decided on a song. But certain songs, like Remember Everything went with the plot. I imagined Romeo picking that song for sentimental reasons along with the big song at the end. When I ran into I Will Wait, I did a happy dance. Not only did it fit the scene perfectly, I fell in love with that song, which I don’t think was officially out yet.
Now I am dying to know about Luminescent Juliet, the band in which Romeo & Riley play in. First, if you could compare them to any REAL band (sound wise), who would it be? Second, how did you come up with their band name?
The real band thing is a hard one because Luminescent Juliet played (still are in my next book:) a lot of covers. But since they like punk like Green Day and Chemical Romance along with Romeo’s folk influence, I Goggled Folk Punk and the first band labeled with that mix was the Violent Femmes (you can listen to them on Spotify here!), and you know what? I can totally see that. Well if we’re not considering age or anything. But I love, love the Femmes first album.
As far as the band name…
Naming people or things can make me crazy, and take forever. So after deciding the band would have Juliet in it because of Romeo, I found a band name generator on-line. When I put in Juliet, the best choice it came up with was Luminescent Juliet. To save time and brain cells I just went with it.
Now I don’t normally ask authors to put a real face to their fictional characters, but Romeo and Riley seemed so real to me. Who would you have play them if say, In The Band were to be made into a movie?
This one was so hard. Well at least Riley was. I write so much, I rarely watch TV or movies, but after searching forever, I think I’ve found the perfect Riley.
Hannah Marks it is. She’s cute enough and short enough and just the right age.
As far as Romeo, from the start I used a couple of pictures (the second one especially) of Eugen Bauder for my inspiration, so I’m sticking to him. According to Wikipedia (I know so reliable), this hot model is trying to break into acting. Not sure he can do an American accent, but I don’t care!
Jean has compiled a playlist for In The Band that includes a short description on why she chose it. You can check out the Spotify playlist below but I’ve also added the YouTube videos for you to watch. Enjoy!
Teenagers by My Chemical Romance
Energetic, great for an opening.
Gamma Ray by Beck
Funky and different. A bit like the band.
Paint it Black by The Rolling Stones
Awesome classic song that would sound great live.
Check Yes Juliet by We The Kings
Um… it has the name Juliet in it, and its cute.
Remember Everything by Five Finger Death Punch
Romeo would feel a connection to this song and he plays it acoustic. You can’t go wrong with acoustic.
Dirty Little Secret by The All-American Rejects
Well, it fit the scene perfectly, and showed Romeo’s immaturity.
Bullet In My Hand by Redlight King
Energetic, lots of dynamic shifts in music, would sound great live.
Helter Skelter by The Beatles
Classic rock song that’s loud and in your face. Great for a Halloween show.
Sweet Sour by Band of Skulls
Funky and different. A little punk. And I wanted to include some ‘unknown’ stuff.
Holiday by Green Day
Fit New Year’s Eve. It’s loud and energetic and I love Green Day.
Sabotage by Beastie Boys
The Beastie Boys were getting into this book no matter what.
I Will Wait by Mumford and Sons
Fit the scene so perfectly, I almost fell out of my computer chair when I heard it.
A HUGE thank you to Jean for taking the time to put this together for me!! I loved her answers to my questions as well as the playlist, to absolute pieces. I hope you guys enjoyed!