Today’s Words & Music Monday post features one of the staples of “playlists” and “music feels” activities. THE PROM!!! Urban Fantasy/Thriller author Chelsea Mueller is not only bringing us her musical inspiration for her 2021 thriller release PROM HOUSE, but (thanks to Xpresso Book Tours) the cover reveal, too!! So… first things first… the pretty pretty picture…
(Underlined (Penguin Random House))
Publication date: May 4th 2021
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
What happens when the best night of your life turns into the worst? Full of menace and suspense, this is an unputdownable thriller—and a trade paperback original.
When Kylie walks into the gorgeous beach house, it’s a dream come true. She still can’t believe she talked her parents into letting her spend the weekend down the New Jersey shore after Prom. Kylie, her boyfriend Liam, and their friends have rented the most amazing party house—and it’s all theirs. Prom was awesome, but this is going to be even better.
Except there’s a little problem. A violent storm hits the beach and the power goes out—and there’s no sign it’s coming back. Candles and camping lanterns wasn’t the vibe they were going for, but everyone wants to make the most of it. Until people start disappearing . . . and turning up dead. Kylie’s terrified. Is somebody’s prom date a killer?
And NOW — we get to talk tunes!! Chelsea makes music playlists for all of her books, but I wanted to talk to her specifically about having an actual prom, with prom music, in her story.
We’re not giving anything away to say that your May 2021 release PROM HOUSE starts out with… a prom, lol! Did you go to your prom? If so, what were some of the songs you and your friends jammed to that night?
PROM HOUSE is mostly about the afterparty—but I promise there are still some really pretty dresses and some dancing!—which makes sense because I remember more of the afterparty with friends than I do my actual prom.
I did go, though, and I remember dancing and laughing more than the actual songs. I do, however, remember “Here’s to the Night” by Eve 6 being on the playlist.
Did you make a “Prom Playlist” to listen to while writing? If so, what determined the songs on the list?
I make a playlist for every book I write, and PROM HOUSE is no exception. I did pull some good party songs for the beginning of the book when we’re still in that perfect prom afterglow. The ten friends in PROM HOUSE have rented this gorgeous rental house and their party kicks off with a lot of people poolside. So, songs by Cheat Codes, Billie Eilish Cypress Hill, and Lizzo all made the good-time cut.
Do any of the characters (or couples) in the story have theme songs?
There are a few songs that will put me into the main character Kylie’s head. “Confidence” by X Ambassadors featuring K. Flay leading the front there. She Kylie goes into prom weekend with the goal of getting steady footing on her new relationship with Liam. She’s someone who wants to trust, but also keeps being hit with reasons to reconsider.
“So What?” by While She Sleeps puts me 100% into this book as it is totally the killer’s theme song. (No, I won’t tell you which character that is!)
How did the music selection/inspiration change from the “prom music” to the “murder music”? Did you have a separate playlists for writing those parts of the book?
It’s all one big playlist for me. The deeper I got into writing the book, and especially during edits, the more I could pick out key tracks for each portion of the book. The songs get darker, heavier, and moodier as the story progresses. We can go from Selena Gomez to Machine Gun Kelly to Bring Me The Horizon.
Were these songs all things you were familiar with, already? If you looked for new music… where did you go for recs/inspiration?
A lot of the more dance-y tracks on my playlist (e.g. “Church Clap” by KB) I discovered in spin class. No lie. I typically listen to punk rock and metal, but I’ve found so many great pop and rap songs from spin classes. Whenever I hear a jam that makes me think of a character or a place, I tuck it away for later writing inspiration.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Thank you so much for sharing the cover for PROM HOUSE. I’m thrilled to have everyone get to meet the ten characters trapped in a beach house on prom weekend. If you’ve read my adult books, you know I’m big on mystery and friendship and kissing. PROM HOUSE brings all the fun stuff—murder and making out, particularly—and I can’t wait for y’all to read it!
Chelsea Mueller writes gritty, twisty fantasy and thriller novels for adults and teens. She loves bad cover songs, good fight scenes, and every soapy YA drama Netflix can put in her queue. Chelsea lives in Texas and has been known to say y’all.
For the latest updates, visit ChelseaMueller.net or follow @ChelseaVBC on Twitter and Instagram.