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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Story of the Karma Club Book Soundtrack

Have you ever been reading a book, stopped at a specific part and said, "I know the perfect song to go with this scene!"

Well, as authors, this happens to us very often. Except when we're actually writing the book. When writing The Karma Club, however, I wanted to take it a step further. I wanted to create an entire book soundtrack with songs that you could listen to while you read and that contributed perfectly to scene you were reading. I thought, if movies can have soundtracks, why not books?

So I teamed up with my very good friend and brilliant producer, Holly Karrol Clark, and we set off to produce one of the first Original Book Soundtracks, featuring songs that directly enhance your experience when reading the story. And we even produced FOUR original songs directly inspired by the book!

Here are some fun stories of how each song came to be included in the Karma Club Book Soundtrack and how/when it fits into the story of The Karma Club.

Dance Floor High – Madisen Hill (pg. 27)

Written by Matthew Clark
Produced by Ted Perlman

Author’s Note:

Dance Floor High is a great upbeat dance song about having fun and living life to the fullest. To me, this song perfectly represents a snapshot of my main character, Maddy’s life before everything falls apart. She has this great boyfriend, amazing friends, and she’s just received an invite to a very exclusive party (something she’s been wanting for years). So overall, her life is going rather well and she’s having a blast. This is one of the songs on the soundtrack that we produced specifically for the book. I approached Matthew Clark, the song writer, and told him that there’s a scene on page 32 where Maddy and her friends are at this really awesome party and everything is going her way and I wanted a song that would correspond with this scene. Something to show Maddy’s life before the story really gets into full swing. He came back with “Dance Floor High” and it was the perfect fit. We hired the talented Ted Perlman to produce it and this is the final outcome. When you get to page 32 in the novel and Maddy says, “My favorite song comes on over the speakers,” pump up this song because that’s what she’s dancing to!

Kick Her to the Curb – Savannah Outen (pg. 72)

Written by Matthew Clark
Produced by Ted Perlman

Author’s Note:

This is an awesome revenge song and it fits perfectly with the chapter, “Operation Splitsville” which starts on page 72 of The Karma Club. In this chapter, Maddy and her friends are launching their first attack against Maddy’s ex-boyfriend, Mason, and his new girlfriend, Heather Campbell. From the time Maddy wakes up on page 72, she’s feeling good, confident…and very vengeful. I picture this song playing on her car stereo as she drives to school in the morning. For this chapter I wanted a fun, kind of “battle cry” song that would represent the way Maddy and her friends were feeling as they set off on their Karmic quest. And songwriter, Matthew Clark, once again, hit it out of the park. So when you get to this chapter in the book, crank up this track to get yourself in the same mood as The Karma Club girls.

Let’s Take a Ride – Tommy Fields (pg 57)

Written & Produced by Tommy Fields

Author’s Note:

Tommy Fields is one of my favorite singer/songwriters. I absolutely love his voice and his lyrics are both inspiring and thought provoking. There were many times over the course of writing and brainstorming this book that I had one of Tommy’s tracks playing in the background. So when I had the idea to produce a book soundtrack for The Karma Club, he’s one of the first people I approached to participate. I was thrilled when he said yes! One of my favorite songs of Tommy’s is this one, “Let’s Take a Ride,” and I thought it fit perfectly into the chapter, “The Dalai Who?” which begins on page 49, in which Maddy’s mom drags her to a spiritual retreat in Napa Valley to try to help her get over her recent break-up. The lyrics in “Let’s Take a Ride” have a great message about how life is what you make of it and things are only as bad as you let them be. This is the same message that Maddy’s mom tries to instill in her by taking her to this retreat. Plus the title, “Let’s Take a Ride” is extremely fitting for two reasons. First, it’s exactly what Maddy’s mom does to her. She forces her into the car on page 50 and doesn’t tell her where they’re going. A literal “ride.” And secondly, on a metaphorical level, this chapter is the beginning of Maddy’s adventurous “ride” through the world of Karma. Both the good and the bad. When reading the book, play this song when you get to page 57 (the moment of Maddy’s Karmic “revelation”) to feel the full effects of her shift in perspective.

Can’t Take it Back – Savannah Outen (pg 202)

Written by Matthew Clark & Jason Clark
Produced by Ted Perlman

Author’s Note:

“The Butterfly Effect” chapter starts off a long sequence of regret as felt by Maddy and her two best friends. They’re realizing that they might have taken this Karma thing a bit too far and it’s starting to catch up to them and bite them in the butt. I wanted a song for the soundtrack that really captured this remorseful emotion that the characters were feeling. I approached Matthew Clark and explained what was happening in the book at this moment and the sentiment attached to these scenes and he wrote “Can’t Take it Back.” From the moment he first played it for me (in my co-producer’s living room, with his acoustic guitar), it’s been my favorite song on the whole album. I knew right away that it was the perfect song for this chapter and the scenes that follow. This song always plays in my head on page 206 when “The Butterfly Effect” chapter ends. If you play it while you read, I think you’ll see why.

Hide and Seek – Nikki Boyer (pg 37)

Written by Nikki Boyer, Tommy Fields, & Jill Altemus
Produced by Tommy Fields

Author’s Note:

I’ve been a huge fan of Nikki Boyer for a long time. She and I met years ago through a mutual friend and then we both ended up working together a few years later at Yahoo! We both worked on one of their original online shows. She has this amazing voice that stays with you even after the song stops playing. And when I heard that she was working on some new songs with Tommy Fields (one of my other favorite musicians) I immediately wanted to hear them. I fell in love with “Hide and Seek” instantly. For one because, once again, Nikki managed to blow me away with her flawless voice and for two, it fit so effortlessly into the story of The Karma Club. “Hide and Seek” is the ultimate song for someone who has been broken up with and can’t figure out why. And this is where Maddy is on page 37. Abandoned and wondering how it all happened and where it all went wrong. So when Nikki croons, “Why you wanna take it away? Why you wanna play this game?” at the beginning of the chorus, I always think of poor Maddy at this moment of the book. Play this song at the end of the “Behind Door Number Three” chapter on page 37 and through the next chapter to really feel the extent of Maddy’s pain. Nikki’s voice captures it perfectly!

Take Pity – Savannah Outen (pg 228)

Written by Matthew Clark
Produced by Ted Perlman

Author’s Note:

I LOVE this song! It’s a funny story because originally it was my least favorite song on the soundtrack. We first recorded it with an adult singer because we felt the whole vibe of the song was older. But then the song felt way too mature and didn’t fit the tone of the book…which is essentially a coming of age story. We almost cut the song from the album until our producer, Ted Perlman, suggested we have Savannah Outen sing it. She had already recorded “Can’t Take it Back” and “Kick Her to the Curb” and we all loved her voice and versatility so much. So we brought her back into the studio and the instant we heard her start to sing, we knew the problem was fixed! Although Savannah has a very mature sounding voice for a teen, she was still able to give the song the innocence and youthfulness that it needed to fit the story.

The song first originated because I asked Matthew Clark to write something for the scene in the book when Maddy is pleading her case to Rajiv, the Indian spiritual guru who she thinks will give her all the answers she’s seeking. She’s swearing to him that this whole thing is not her fault and that she doesn’t know how to fix it. Matthew came back with “Take Pity on Me” which I think completely captures the essence of this scene as well as Maddy’s frustration about everything that’s going on in her life. Especially with the lyric, “Got a mess on my hands, but it ain’t my fault….take pity on me.” But in the end, it just needed the right singer to make it work. Play this song while reading “The Space-Time Continuum” chapter to enhance the scene and bring Maddy’s emotions to life.

Someday I Will – Tommy Fields (pg 154)

Written by Tommy Fields & Blair Pickar
Produced by Tommy Fields

Author’s Note:

Once again, Tommy Fields rocks. I listened to his stuff all the time while writing and outlining this novel. I’ve always loved songs about guys who are in love with quirky girls and I think “Someday I Will” by Tommy Fields is one of the best. I don’t want to give away too much about the story if you haven’t read it. But listen to this song while reading the chapter, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Cooper.” I think this song describes how the guy in this chapter is feeling about Maddy at this point in the story…who can be a bit quirky herself at times.

Letter to the Past (Acoustic) – Word to the Wise (pg 220)

Written by Sarah Meeks-Clark & Ari Cruz
Produced by Matthew Clark

Author’s Note:

Word to the Wise is a remarkably talented female teen duo group that was brought to my attention because one of members, Sarah Meeks-Clark, is the daughter of Matthew Clark, the amazing song writer whom we worked with for this album. Although the duo is relatively unknown now, I have a feeling they are going to go VERY far.

I started listening to their music on MySpace and the one song that always haunted me was “Letter to the Past.” I simply love this song and thought it fit so well into the scene on page 220 when Maddy is alone in her room contemplating the concept of Karma and how messed up everything is in her life right now. I can almost hear this song playing softly on her stereo in the background. So I contacted Sarah and Ari of Word to the Wise and asked if they would record an acoustic version especially for the book soundtrack and they said yes! I think the new acoustic version adds even more to the emotional turmoil of this scene. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

XOX – Madisen Hill (pg 242)

Written by Madisen Hill, Jonathan George, and David Wachs
Produced by Anthony Mazza and Jonathan George

Author’s Note:

Madisen Hill is actually the star of the Karma Club Book Trailer. She plays the role of the main character, Maddy! And when I heard she was also a singer, I knew that we had to feature her on the soundtrack too. Not only did we bring her in to sing “Dance Floor High” (which she rocked!) I also wanted to include one of her existing songs on the album as well. So I listened to all of them to find one that fit the story. XOX is the one that stuck out the most. It’s got an awesome upbeat pop tempo but it’s also has this really cool suspenseful vibe. Not only in the lyrics, but also in the melody and the beat. So I thought it worked really well in the chapter, “Kisses for Karma?” when Maddy is setting up her action plan to help get her Karma back on track—a very suspenseful part of the story that builds directly to the climax of the plot.

The song also fits really well with the love story aspect of the book which is also prominently featured in this chapter. I don’t want to give away too much, so I’ll just say, listen to “XOX” when you get to page 242 and hopefully it’ll all make sense when you do!

Remember When (The Karma Club Theme Song) – Nikki Boyer (pg 258)

Written by Nikki Boyer, Tommy Fields and Jill Altemus
Produced by Tommy Fields

Author’s Note:

From the moment I first heard this song, I knew it had to be the theme song for the whole book. Everything about it just screamed Karma Club Theme Song! The song is all about looking back on your experiences and coming to terms with the lessons life has brought you. Especially when not all of them came in “happy packages.” And most of the time, it was all just terribly confusing. This is the very same message of The Karma Club. Life doesn’t always go your way and at the time, you might not fully understand why. But if you’re patient, a deeper meaning will usually reveal itself. So sometimes you just have to trust. If The Karma Club were a movie, I can imagine this song playing as the credits roll. So when you get to the end of the book (on page 258), crank it up and enjoy!

The Karma Club Book Soundtrack is available on digital download sites worldwide. 

Click here to download it on iTunes

Click here to download it on

Click here to order the book on

To learn more about The Karma Club novel, click here

To learn more about The Karma Club Book Soundtrack and to listen to samples, click here.


Lorena♥ Perez said...

The cover of your book is very, very beautiful
This poster is very beautiful to.
In look forward to your book to be translated into Portuguese!
I love seeing the faces of the characters! (Are the characters, right?)
Kisses aNd more kisses,

Isabela♥ Menezes said...

I agree with Lorena
I'm sure the Brazilian readers will love this story!
Bella ♥
@ VidaDeGarotaBr

Cass (Words on Paper) said...

My favourites are Can't Take It Back, Hide and Seek, Take Pity and Someday I Will.

But I actually love all of them (except for Kick Her to the Curb because it reminds me of Avril Lavigne's Girlfriend). It was nice to see all the insider-info on those songs.

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Jessica Brody, author of the forthcoming novel, The Fidelity Files, explores the thorny topic of infidelity in modern-day society