Daydreamer of Messy Love Stories

ONE TOUGH COOKIE Book Playlist

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Here’s a look at the book playlist for my debut, ONE TOUGH COOKIE. I discuss the songs, why I chose them, and how they reflect the story I wanted to tell.

Music as Part of my Writing Process

Music is a big part of my life (I love to sing), so making a playlist for my books has been part of my writing routine since the beginning. I love adding songs that reflect the emotions I want to capture so that I can put myself inside my characters and feel what they feel. I don’t like to write while music is playing, so what I usually do is sing along to a song right before I write a scene so that I can get into the correct headspace.

When I started outlining ONE TOUGH COOKIE, I spent a lot of time putting together this playlist. Some songs came to mind right away. Others took a lot more research to find. And some I discovered along the process, resonating with the lyrics and adding them to the playlist. Some songs were instrumental in the writing of the book, while others were added to the playlist after the book was completed, as a fun inclusion.

Note that the songs reflect my taste in music and my generation. I grew up in the 80s and 90s in Puerto Rico, and the songs we heard on the radio were either Latin or US mainstream music, mostly pop. So the playlist includes songs from that era and some popular songs in Spanish, which you may need to translate in order to understand what they mean (you can access the lyrics by clicking on the song’s link).

Karina’s Journey in Songs

Most of the songs tell Karina’s story and her journey in the book. At the beginning, Karina is independent, loves her single life, casual sex, and doesn’t want to be tied down (Single by Natasha Bedingfield, Turn Off the Light by Natalie Furtado, Miss Independent by Kelly Clarkson, Sit Still, Look Pretty by Daya). Then she meets Ian, who makes her feel things she doesn’t want to feel (Oh My God I Think I Like You from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) but also enjoys (New by No Doubt).

This makes her resist his advancements, giving Ian mixed messages (Don’t Believe in Love by Dido, Bitch by Meredith Brooks, What’s Love Got to Do With It by Tina Turner, I Won’t Say I’m in Love from Hercules, Heart Attack by Demi Lovato). Eventually, she ends up pushing him away (I’m Like a Bird by Natalie Furtado, Se Acabó by La Secta AllStar). But though she should be happy, she misses him (Untouched by The Veronicas) and is confused (Criminal by Fiona Apple, Mentira by La Ley). As she looks inward, she reflects about her relationship with her estranged mother, and the trauma and fear it has led to (Because of You and Dark Side by Kelly Clarkson).

Ian’s Journey in Songs

Even though Ian doesn’t have POV chapters in the book, I still needed to know how he was feeling toward Karina. He has to deal with her ever-changing moods (Fuego de Noche, Nieve de Día by Ricky Martin, Hot N Cold by Katy Perry). He struggles as he falls in love with a woman who may not be good for him while at the same time being unable to let go (She Drives Me Crazy by Fine Young Cannibals, No Me Conoces by Marc Anthony, Wicked Game by Chris Isaak, El Problema by Ricardo Arjona, Conciencia by Gilberto Santa Rosa). But he decides to fight for her and show her she’s worth the trouble (Stellar by Incubus).

Happily Ever After

Since this is a romance, it’s not a big spoiler to mention that Karina eventually succumbs to her feelings for Ian (I Didn’t Want to Need You by Heart, Mi Corazón Tiene Mente Propia by Ednita Nazario).

This last song, by Puerto Rican diva Ednita, is the most inspirational of all. The title translates to “My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own.” In it, the narrator previously thought love was a mental game, but then she meets someone and her heart chooses him. She describes this conflict between her mind and her heart as a war to the death, and by the end she has to give up the fight. Her heart wins.

If you’ve read the book, you’ll know that Karina has many confrontations with her heart. I took the idea of this song and made Karina’s heart an antagonist of sorts which she must battle until she concedes.

If you haven’t read ONE TOUGH COOKIE, I hope this book playlist gives you a taste of what it’s about and the main conflict between Karina, her heart, and Ian. And if you’ve already read it, then this should help you relive the feelings of the book!

One Tough Cookie Book Playlist, listing some songs: Single by Natasha Bedingfield, Miss Independent by Kelly Clarkson, Heart Attack by Demi Lovato, I Didn't Want to Need You by Heart, and Mi Corazón Tiene Mente Propia by Ednita Nazario

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ONE TOUGH COOKIE is foodie women’s fiction set a cookie company featuring a Latina Fleabag.

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