By Bella Andre 

I was laughing when I went to the blog before sitting down to write my post and saw Kim Castillo's posting about Taylor Swift, because of course, that's what I was planning to chat about. Heck, why not, I still will! Because, hey, if it's pop culture right now, odds are there's some Taylor Swift in it. Before “Speak Now” hit stores this month I had a couple of her earlier songs on my ipod. I've always thought highly of her as a performer and musician, but wouldn't have called myself an uber-fan. But then she turned twenty and had some life experience and the songs she's writing are just jaw droppingly good.

Especially because they're all romance, all the time. And listening to one of her songs is like reading a really fantastic romance.

That being said, what actually – here's where I admit to having way too much curiosity about stranger's lives – got me checking out these songs was the whole thing with John Mayer. I saw a clip on Youtube of the two of them singing “White Horse” (Taylor wrote it a couple of years ago) together in Los Angeles, and if it's true that they had a relationship and he did a number on her, then the 5 minute video is pretty darn haunting.

Take these “White Horse” lyrics: “Stupid girl, I should have known I'm not a princess, this ain't a fairy tale, I'm not the one you're going to lead up the stairwell.” And then, (oh man when the two of them sang this part I just about gagged), “I'm going to find someone someday who might actually treat me well.”

Fast forward a year and here are the lyrics from “Dear John” (written this year): “My mother accused me of losing my mind, but I swore I was fine. You're an expert at sorry, at keeping things blurry. You'll add my name to your long list of traitors who don't understand, and I'll look back and regret how I ignored when they said 'run as fast as you can'.”

I used to be a songwriter (a few years back I co-wrote a song in Nashville called “This Girl” with Liz Rose, Taylor's co-writer on White Horse. Go Liz!) and now that I've been writing romances for 7 years, I'm frankly amazed that Taylor can cull out the most important motivations and conflicts and emotions from a relationship and put them so clearly, and beautifully, into a song.

Obviously, I get a lot out of songs – and read just as much into them. :) In any case, I tend to listen to certain songs on repeat when I'm writing certain books and scenes. For example, when writing my latest romance – LOVE ME (the sequel to Take Me, Love Me is a book that readers have asked me to write for years) – one song that really spoke to me was “Maybe” by Ingrid Michaelson.

The relationship between Janice and Luke in LOVE ME is complicated by their past, by the fact that they are now related through their brother and sister, and the fact that they both think they are way too different from each other. These lyrics in particular really spoke to my heroine's feelings for the hero:

“I don't want to be the one to say goodbye, but I will, I will, I will
Maybe in the future, you're gonna come back, you're gonna come back around
The only way to really know is to really let it go
Maybe you're gonna come back, you're gonna come back, you're gonna come back to me”
(From “Maybe” by Ingrid Michaelson)

There was a line in a recent episode of CASTLE (such a cute show!) that really hit on the power of songs. Castle asked Heat, “How did you know you were in love the first time?” and she responded, “All the songs made sense.” (I loved that! Such great writing.) that I've gone on and on about Hollywood romances and the song/book connection for me, I'd love to hear about songs that have totally connected with you. Did it feel like you lived the lyrics? Or is it a song that has connected with you right at the point you are in your life? Or does the song give you hope for the future?

:) Bella

Bella Andre writes "sensual, empowered stories enveloped in heady romance" (Publisher's Weekly) about sizzling alpha heroes and the strong women they'll love forever. Her books have been COSMOPOLITAN Red Hot Reads twice and have been translated into German, Thai, Japanese and Ukrainian. Her latest is LOVE ME, the long-awaited sequel to TAKE ME. Watch for GAME FOR LOVE (Bad Boys of Football #3) in early December.

Bella is also this week's NEW REVOLVING BOOK at LOVE ROMANCE NOVELS on facebook!


  1. Hi Bella! First of all I wanted to say welcome and thank you Bella for guest blogging with the Divas today! You fit right in! And how cool are you for being a songwriter! Woohoo! I read the excerpts to your latest release - I was fanning myself! :D

    How wonderful that you wrote this book for your fans and made it available directly on Amazon and Kindle - I think we're going to see a lot more authors do this.


  2. Hi Bella,

    I hate to admit it, but I rarely pay attention to the words of a song. For me, it's more about the beat, the actual music that resonates.

    Take for instance, The Last of the Mohicans soundtrack. The Main title and The Kiss tracks literally make my heart constrict.

    Congrats on your new release!


  3. Welcome, Bella.

    My musical tastes run to Classic Rock, especially the Beatles and Stones. I do like Taylor Swift though. I like her songs and her personality. I can't think of movie tunes that meant something to me. I'm sure there were some. When I hear "Light My Fire" by the Doers it brings me back to the Jersey shore in 1971 when I met my husband. That's one of my favorite songs. There's another by Carol King that also reminds me of that summer at the Shore, but I don't remember the title.

  4. oops - I forgot to answer your question - music is a soundtrack to what i'm working on - so if i'm working on my historical romance and writing an emotional scene then it's Loreena McKennit. If I'm researching on line for a show idea - then it's rock or alternative - whatever strikes my mood. ;) There are songs that have stayed with me - that you identify with certain people or time periods in your life.

  5. Hey Bella! You can never have too much Taylor talk. LOL

    Song lyrics definitely speak to me. They pull emotions out of me that sometimes I didn't know I was feeling.

    Yeah, that whole John Mayer thing... I too ask her if she lost her mind.

    I like to imagine that Taylor reads romances, don't you?

  6. I have a steady soundtrack in my mind ... music has always been an important part of my consciousness. My 12 year old son is the same way. Songs for me spark memories, and vice versa. For example, my husband has a lovely voice, and sometimes at night he sings softly to me. My favorite is when he sings Gerry Rafferty's 'Right Down the Line': "You've been as constant as a Northern Star, the brightest light that shines, it's been you woman right down the line." Gets me every time. My boys are also big fans of Dave Matthews, who I also find very romantic.

  7. Thanks for the warm welcome, Joanna! I'm very glad to be here. And I loved having the chance to write LOVE ME - partly because I'd been walking around with Luke and Janica in my head for five years, but mostly because of all the readers who have written to me and asked for the sequel to TAKE ME. I loved being able to give my readers the book they were looking for.

    Tracey - You know, after working as a songwriter for several years, lots of people told me the same thing - that they simply don't ever listen to lyrics. I think we're all hard-wired one way or another. Melody is super important to me too, but lyrics can take me to that extra special place.

    Cara - Thanks for sharing your song memories! I think it's so interesting how a certain song can take us to a certain memory.

    Kim - LOL on the whole losing her mind over Mayer thing. The only explanation I can come up with is that he must be an extremely charismatic person to win over so very many lovelies.

    Becky - Thanks for sharing! It sounds like your whole family is very romantic. :) At our house the last couple of nights, me and the husband and two kids have been having an 80s dance party in the kitchen to "You Spin Me Right Round" by Dead or Alive (on repeat, of course, I've got to pass on my musical craziness, don't I?

    :) Bella

  8. Bella, I SO agree that Taylor is a kickin' storyteller.

    I love that you write songs!

    Great blog.



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