Authors always talk about how music influences their writing, and some authors even create soundtracks that they write to. Four authors, Quinn Loftis, Amanda Havard, Amy Bartol, and Chelsea Fine took it one step further by creating original music to go with their books.


The UtopYA 2013 Convention took place at the end of June in Nashville, TN. For the UtopYA Awards ceremony, Amanda Havard worked alongside three other young adult authors to write a song for each one of their books, including her own. These songs were performed at the Awards Ceremony at UtopYA by Amanda Havard and Erica Erwin.

There was such a response from the attendees, asking if they could get a copy of the songs that the four authors decided they would get them recorded and available for their readers. Now, we have the finished product and they are available for download, as well as videos to go along with them, up on YouTube.

Along with the music videos to check out we also have interviews with the four authors and a really cool giveaway.

Describe your book in 5 words
Quinn Loftis: Romance, action, werewolves, best friends, victory.
Amy A. Bartol: Wicked, damn, sexy, angel, love.
Amanda Havard: Supernatural, dark, demented, adventurous, addictive.
Chelsea Fine: Fountain of Youth. Forbidden love.

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?
Quinn Loftis: First.

Amy A. Bartol: For me, the hardest line to write is the first line. It sets the tone of the entire book.  It’s the hook.  You should know if you want to read the story after you read the first sentence, so…no pressure.  I feel like the end always takes care of itself.

Amanda Havard: I’m sure it depends on the book, but I planned the opening sentence of each of the Survivors books in advance, so I guess the last lines are the ones that have taken a bit more effort to select.

Chelsea Fine: The first line! I’m always really nervous and careful about my opening lines.

What about music inspires you to write or what about writing inspires creating music?
Quinn Loftis: Music creates emotions, strong emotions and I’m able to use that emotion and put it into a scene.

Amy A. Bartol: Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing, all you do is sit down at the typewriter and bleed.”  If that is true, then to me, music is the razor blade. When I listen to music while I write, I find different worlds between the notes. Each song has a new tale that builds like floodwater. It helps me to abandon the logical part of my mind for a more creative, visceral one.

Amanda Havard: Music is a particularly emotionally-charged form of storytelling, and so it’s a natural pairing to other forms of storytelling. I love that the right song is a soundscape; it’s the soundtrack to the movie scene going in my head when I write, and so it helps me set the tone, get the mood, imagine the faint but important details, and really situate characters in the moment. And when I write music for books, it works in reverse. I’m harnessing the scene and channeling it back into sounds. The whole thing is a cyclical kind of creative magic for me.

Chelsea Fine: When I listen to music, I can “see” my story playing out — kind of like a music video — and it makes my characters and setting come to life in my mind.

Best writing tip you’ve ever received?
Quinn Loftis: Write every scene so that when it ends the reader is thinking I have to know what’s going to happen next, the entire book should be written so that the reader is constantly saying this.

Amy A. Bartol: Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. –Oscar Wilde.  (He didn’t actually tell me that personally, I sort of read into it.)  *wink*

Amanda Havard: Write the story you know you must. (A close second, an ever-important truth: Every debut writer makes the same point three times. Find the one way to say it best, and cut the others.)

Chelsea Fine: Write your heart out and be fearless! Both are hard to do, but incredibly important to my storytelling. I write what I feel, and then I have to trust myself enough to let other people read it — eeek! But it’s SO worth it!

What one young adult novel do you wish you had when you were a teen? Why?
Quinn Loftis: Onyx by Jennifer L Armentrout, because it’s an extremely unique and intriguing idea and a wonderful escape with great characters.

Amy A. Bartol: I wish I had the novel I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak when I was a teenager. The story is about Ed Kennedy, an underage cabdriver who has a coffee-drinking dog named The Doorman and a secret crush on his best friend Audrey. Ed has a peaceful routine until the day he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. After that day, Ed becomes the messenger.

The book, written in the first person present tense, is funny and heart pounding and sad and euphoric. It reads like you can step into Ed’s shoes, breathe his air, and see what he is seeing. In short, it’s amazing. There is a message at the end of the story that when I read it, struck me as if it had been written just for me. It says: “Maybe everyone can live beyond what they’re capable of…I’m not the messenger at all. I’m the message.”

After reading it, I knew instantly that I had to try to write a book because maybe I was able to live beyond what I always thought I was capable of. If I had read that novel when I was a teenager, maybe I would’ve started writing earlier.

Amanda Havard: Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld. I doubt anyone marketed that as YA as it’s adult literary fiction, but it’s about a high school girl whose experiences were similar to my own at that age, and when her character was being an idiot, I probably could have used reading about it to realize I was being the same kind of idiot. I read it as an adult, and even then it still hit close to home. I wonder if I wouldn’t have figured out more about myself sooner if I’d had such an honest reflection in text. (Sittenfeld is my favorite author, by the way. If you haven’t read her, then you must. Every now and again, we all ought to reach our hands into the waters of literary fiction and see things through a different lens than we typically do.)

Chelsea Fine: Divergent by Veronica Roth. Growing up, I felt like Tris — like I belonged somewhere else, or could be awesome at something else, I just didn’t know what. When I read Divergent, I was like, “Yes, Tris! You don’t need to be Abnagation. You can be anything you want! Go for Dauntless!” I wish I had experienced that kind of bravery when I was a teenager. But I guess it’s never too late to become who you were meant to be… ;)

From Quinn Loftis’ PRINCE OF WOLVES
A Mate, A Match, A Mark
iTunes Download – http://bit.ly/MateMatchMark
From Amy A. Bartol’s The Premonition Series
Darkness In the Light 
iTunes Download – http://bit.ly/DarknessLight
From Chelsea Fine’s Archers of Avalon Series
Electricity
iTunes Download – http://bit.ly/ElectricitySong
 
From Amanda Havard’s The Survivors: BODY & BLOOD
Human 
iTunes Download – http://bit.ly/HumanSong

GIVEAWAY
The giveaway includes 1 soundtrack and 1 signed copy of each book, to coincide with the soundtrack, and 1 ticket to UtopYA 2013 which Includes:
-3-day pass for Conference,
-fan admission to Public Book Signing event,
-general admission to Third Annual utopYA Awards & Afterparty,
-admission to Sunday Write-In.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Moviegoers may be getting the Spidey we’ve all been hoping for! A new report reveals that Sony’s animated Spider-Man movie, set to hit theaters in 2018, will focus on the Miles Morales Spidey.

Update (January 18, 2017): Sony Animation confirmed on Wednesday, January 18 that their animated Spider-Man movie will star Miles Morales!

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Moviegoers may be getting the Spidey we’ve all been hoping for! A new report reveals that Sony’s animated Spider-Man movie, set to hit theaters in 2018, will focus on the Miles Morales Spidey.

Update (January 18, 2017): Sony Animation confirmed on Wednesday, January 18 that their animated Spider-Man movie will star Miles Morales!

Original story (May 2016): Heroic Hollywood, who has a good record of breaking superhero news, is the source behind the exciting development. As was previously announced, the animated Spider-Man movie will be produced by LEGO Movie helmers Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The duo are also set to direct the Star Wars Han Solo spinoff for Lucasfilm.

Who is Miles Morales? As we wrote in a lengthy tell-all about the character last year:

Miles Morales is the current Spider-Man in Marvel’s Ultimate Comics series. Introduced in 2011, Miles is a black-hispanic young man who, like Peter Parker, is a talented scientist and self-proclaimed nerd. However, unlike his predecessor, Morales steps into the superhero’s shoes at the surprisingly young age of 13.

Raised in Brooklyn, Miles was born into a family plagued by criminal activity. Before settling down with his wife Rio, Miles’s father Jefferson used to be crime partners with his brother Aaron (Miles’s uncle). However, where Jefferson tried to shrink away from the lifestyle, Aaron continues to embrace it — assuming the role of classic Marvel villain the Prowler. After pulling off a heist on Oscorp, Aaron unknowingly takes a genetically modified spider home with him. It is at Aaron’s house that Miles is bit by the spider and starts the transformation into Spider-Man.

Where Peter Parker relished the opportunity to become spidey, Miles is reluctant to enter the world of vigilantism. What’s more, his family’s criminal history causes him to question whether or not he can ever be a hero, or if evil is hardwired into him.

Oh, and one other cool thing about him: The guy is immortal, unlike the Peter Parker version of Spider-Man.

Related: Who is Miles Morales? We explain everything

The rumor mill was alive with chatter about the MCU’s Spidey being the Miles Morales version last year, but obviously those reports never panned out. The Peter Parker version of Spider-Man was introduced in Captain America: Civil War, played by Tom Holland. He’s getting his own spinoff film, Spider-Man: Homecoming, next year.

Telling the Miles Morales story on screen may be just the thing the animated Spider-Man movie needs in order for it to draw people into the theaters in December 2018. We’ve had enough Peter Parker stories!

2018 will be a great year for super hero diversity: Marvel’s Black Panther starring Chadwick Boseman will be released a few months earlier.

‘The Space Between Us’ set report: What if a human was born on Mars?

Hypable visited the set and spoke to the film's stars.

12:00 pm EST, January 17, 2017

Could a human be born on a distant planet and later survive on earth?

It’s not only a premise that the upcoming science fiction tale The Space Between Us asks, but a real question and concern that people at NASA have considered as well.

Inspired by his son’s obsession with Mars, and the kernel of an idea from another writer he works with, film producer Richard Lewis picked up the phone and posed the question to members of NASA.

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Could a human be born on a distant planet and later survive on earth?

It’s not only a premise that the upcoming science fiction tale The Space Between Us asks, but a real question and concern that people at NASA have considered as well.

Inspired by his son’s obsession with Mars, and the kernel of an idea from another writer he works with, film producer Richard Lewis picked up the phone and posed the question to members of NASA.

He never would’ve guessed what was going to happen when he spoke to them.

“I called a group of NASA scientists and said, ‘So what would happen if an astronaut turned out to be pregnant on a flight to Mars?’ and there was just silence on the other end of the call. And they said, ‘Are you listening to our phone calls?’ I said, ‘No, I’ve never spoken to you in my life.’ And they said, ‘It’s going to happen, and we don’t know what to do.'”

That was when he teamed up with screenwriter Allan Loeb and started fleshing out an answer. “I thought, wow, that’s the beginning of an interesting story.” Lewis even worked with his father, a heart specialist, to examine how that muscle would develop differently on Mars, and aspects of this research became a big part of the story.

The Space Between Us is an interplanetary adventure following a human boy named Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield) born on the distant red planet. His mother, an astronaut, only realized she was pregnant with Gardner after leaving on her mission to colonize Mars.

Once Gardner reaches his teenage years he becomes interested in leaving East Texas (yep, on Mars) and returning to the home of his species. Not only is he curious about Earth, but Gardner has also fallen for a girl named Tulsa who’s literally tens of millions of miles away in the state of Colorado. The two met online and can relate over their outsider perspectives.

There’s just one problem: Tulsa doesn’t realize that Gardner is literally living on Mars.

Hypable visited the Albuquerque, New Mexico set of The Space Between Us starring Butterfield, Robertson, and Gary Oldman in late October 2015. On the day we visited, Asa, Britt, and crew were at the tail end of their 37-day shooting schedule which took them through New Mexico, Las Vegas, and Malibu.

It was Day 31, and indoor and outdoor shoots were taking place at Highland High School located in the southeast quadrant of Albuquerque. Since it was a weekday, real classes were in session as Asa and Britt shot outdoor scenes.

The real students who walked by the production had mixed reactions. Some watched and Snapchatted the excitement, while others passed by as if a Hollywood production wasn’t filming right before their eyes. Later in the day, after the real students went home, production moved inside the school to shoot a scene where Gardner and Tulsa meet in person for the first time. It’s one of the more touching moments in the movie.

Earlier, Asa walked into our press tent carrying a drone in tow. He had recently purchased it to try and capture aerial footage for fun, and was learning how to operate it in between filming his scenes.

Both the aerial device and Gardner struggle to deal with Earth’s gravity.

When asked how he handles playing a character who has never been on Earth before, Asa describes it as a very unique experience. “It’s hard to put yourself in that kind of position because we [as humans] are so experienced in the world, and to completely strip all that back and be absolutely in awe at everything you see — a tree, a doorman — everything’s interesting,” he says.

space-between-us-asa-britt

Tulsa (Britt Robertson) experiences zero gravity with Gardner (Asa Butterfield).

Living on Mars your whole life doesn’t mean you’re missing hormones, so girls are also of interest in Gardner. On the relationship between his character and Tulsa, Asa tells us, “They both have this longing desire for being somewhere. Belonging somewhere. Tulsa’s been jumping around through various foster homes, she’s never really settled anywhere. Gardner spends his life on Mars. No one knows he exists. They’re kind of united by this experience.”

“He’s an alien, and she’s an alien, and this is the journey of the story,” Lewis tells us. “Watching these two characters connect, and the disconnects, the misunderstandings, and then ultimately they have a connection.”

Those good and bad connections were present in the scene we observed, which finds Gardner surprising Tulsa in her school hallway. As someone who is tough and reserved, Tulsa is understandably frustrated by Gardner’s sudden appearance. The two still haven’t communicated well with one another — Adorably, Tulsa is unaware that when he says he’s from “East Texas” he means the establishment on Mars.

With Gardner now on earth, the two begin to form a close bond as the Mars-born boy tries to discover his roots.

Co-starring in the movie is Gary Oldman, whose character originally organized the trip to Mars. He wasn’t on set the day we visited, but the actor has a very important role in the movie.

The Space Between Us opens in theaters February 3, 2017.

‘Rogue One’s’ best scene doesn’t involve the heroes

It's a nameless character who saves the day.

8:15 am EST, January 17, 2017

Among the many exceptional scenes in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, one of the most poignant ones doesn’t even involve any of the main heroes.

Rogue One  is full of memorable moments, some breathtaking, some endearing in the way we’ve come to expect from Star Wars, and all full of an epic sense of the lengths people will go to in the name of hope. It also stands out because of its representation, with a female main character and a diverse cast of supporting characters. But it’s the scene almost at the very end that makes its story truly unique.

It takes place after Jyn Erso and her band of rebels have already completed their mission, and the Death Star plans that they have given their lives to procure are being physically carried through the Profundity by a single individual, while the ship is under attack. Close at his heels is Darth Vader, finally revealed in all his lightsaber-wielding, terrifying glory, killing rebel soldiers left and right. The door jams in front of the man holding the plans, with only a slight gap left open – just enough for him to fit an arm through and frantically get the device to one of the fleeing rebels on the other side, knowing fully that this is the last action he’ll ever carry out.

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Among the many exceptional scenes in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, one of the most poignant ones doesn’t even involve any of the main heroes.

Rogue One  is full of memorable moments, some breathtaking, some endearing in the way we’ve come to expect from Star Wars, and all full of an epic sense of the lengths people will go to in the name of hope. It also stands out because of its representation, with a female main character and a diverse cast of supporting characters. But it’s the scene almost at the very end that makes its story truly unique.

It takes place after Jyn Erso and her band of rebels have already completed their mission, and the Death Star plans that they have given their lives to procure are being physically carried through the Profundity by a single individual, while the ship is under attack. Close at his heels is Darth Vader, finally revealed in all his lightsaber-wielding, terrifying glory, killing rebel soldiers left and right. The door jams in front of the man holding the plans, with only a slight gap left open – just enough for him to fit an arm through and frantically get the device to one of the fleeing rebels on the other side, knowing fully that this is the last action he’ll ever carry out.

This character has no name, and we know nothing about him beyond this scene. But faced by the most fearsome threat and terrible odds, he abandons fighting and uses his dying moments to get the plans across the doomed ship, and to Princess Leia.

It’s not common to see a scene like this one – scenes that convey the power of the collective action of many people across different areas – done so skillfully, especially in movies that are so character-driven.

In Star Wars, we’ve always focused on Luke and Leia and Han, and more recently on Rey, Finn and Poe. Although we knew that the Rebellion was the fruit of the efforts of many, we never had such a clear look into just how many lives were involved.

Rogue One the Rebellion

This final scene brings it all together, tying together the various storylines we know in an epic finale, and finally connecting them to Episode IV in a perfect mix of excitement and nostalgia. Without this character, driven by desperate hope rather than fear of his imminent death, Rogue One’s mission would not have ended successfully, Leia would have never received the plans… and none of the story we already know would have taken place.

For once, it was a character whose face we didn’t even see properly, dressed just like everyone else, fulfilling his own small role in a much bigger mission, who saved the day.

This ending, maybe even more meaningfully than the stories of the heroes we know and love, shows us the very essence of the Rebellion: a movement of dedication and sacrifice, full of people like the ones that died on Scarif, that put themselves between the plans and Vader, that drove the mission to success in their dying moments – and that stopped the race to save their own lives in favor of securing the mission’s objective.

We, as the audience, can find ourselves in the nameless rebel soldier and his sacrifice – a realistic and emotional portrayal of what makes any movement for change possible: the sacrifices of a vast number of people whose names and faces we may never know, whose stories may never be recorded, but whose lives were spent in search of a better future for the generations that follow.

What scene in ‘Rogue One’ impacted you the most?