by JN Welsh, author of In Rhythm
The O’Jays had it right when they wrote “I Love Music.” This is not only my own personal sentiment but one that makes a cameo in my upcoming release, In Rhythm, book two in my Back on Top series. The novel is set in the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) scene and music plays a major role in the plot as well as contributing to the internal growth and transformation of the characters as the love story develops.
In the story, DJ Asha Kendall, aka “Velvet,” is going after her goals with blinders on. So much so that she never sees Dutch DJ Isaak “Zazzle” VanSandt coming. They are on two different career paths that are about to converge. Given their passion for music they should be in sync, but Zazzle’s fondness for hard partying has Velvet pressing pause. The novel explores second chances, romance on many levels, found family, hope, friendship, addiction and recovery, and fear. Similar to In Tune—book one in the series—In Rhythm offers a new take on the rock star romance trope. The dance music setting gives my characters an exciting and energetic arena for their shenanigans, where emotions are heightened and accelerated.
My personal experience with the music scene goes back further than book one or even the series’s ideation. I grew up being exposed to a lot of music from many different genres. Not only did I listen to music, but my father was a DJ, as well. If his friends and our neighbors wanted to rock a party, they went to him. Later, when my wanderlust was at an all-time high, I traveled the world and became acquainted with the techno and the drum and bass of the ’90s. When I was reintroduced to the current electronic music scene a few years ago, it was love at first sound. Going to DJ school to learn about the multifaceted profession of DJs today—the equipment, the showmanship, the pitfalls, the highs—was the icing on the cake for me.
If you’ve never been to an EDM festival or have never seen a DJ play, there are some universal interactions with music I use to help acquaint readers with the landscape of such a specific music culture; for example, the cheers of the crowd or the vibration of the bass. No matter what genre of music you jam to, you can connect. Why? Because in real life and in the novel, music has the power to bring people together. It helps draw the reader and characters together, it brings found family together, and it definitely connects the heroine and hero.
The music and the romance go hand in hand. The novel progresses in beats and bars, in rhythmic phrases with a certain tempo to the pacing. As the fans interact with the artist and as the main characters interact with each other, the music and its importance are always present. So, when the music is blaring and the thud of the bass is pounding against the walls, Zazzle palms Velvet’s chin, his finger strokes her cheek and he says, “You were great tonight.” That’s romantic, loving and, dare I say, a little hot. Did I mention the story is fun and heartfelt, even as it tackles some challenging topics, and takes you to exotic locations?
If you’re ready for an adventure in this world and want to know how this all comes together, read In Rhythm today.
About In Rhythm:
Superstar or Supernova?
Asha “Velvet” Kendall is this close to achieving her dream of headlining the legendary Temptation Festival as half of the DJ duo Bedazzled Beats. The EDM scene could use a powerful female presence, and Velvet and her bestie Candy are ready for their moment in the spotlight. A chance encounter with sexy-as-sin industry icon Isaak “Zazzle” Van Sandt is the cherry on top.
With a shared passion for music and an intense mutual attraction, the pair should be totally in sync. Instead, Zazzle’s reputation for hard partying has Velvet hitting Pause.
Zazzle knows both the high of superstardom and the darker side of the life. But six months after rock bottom, he’s got his feet firmly planted on a new, less destructive path. Next stop: wooing the curvaceous and tenacious “one that got away.”
But Velvet’s been there, done that, and she’s wary of risking her heart—not to mention her career—on someone in recovery. Earning her trust won’t be easy. If Zazzle can manage it, off-the-charts chemistry might just turn into once-in-a-lifetime love…