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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Sara E. Tall's Playlist for her YA fantasy Misfit’s Rise + giveaway

First off, I would like to thank I Smell Sheep for hosting me! After wading through several guest post options, I decided to share the top ten songs that inspired Alpha: Misfit’s Rise. I’m a music addict, so it’s partially just an excuse to listen to my favorite jams again. But I also know these songs will give you a taste for my story unlike any other. Anyway, enjoy!

Walking on Air by Kerli

This is Billie’s, my MC’s, theme song. Though the music video makes this song seem like it’s about mind control, the line “She will go and set the world on fire, no one ever thought she could do that,” is the line I built Billie around.

Memories by Panic! At the Disco
This song, while about a struggling young couple, reminds me of any struggling relationship that finds itself looking back on the good old days when things were less complicated. This a trap and Billie and her mother constantly find themselves falling into.

Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson
Like many YA fantasy stories, Billie is literally breaking away from the world she knew to enter a magical one. And while this step is essential for her to become the mage she longs to be, forgetting where she came from would leave her more lost than before.

Unwritten by Natasha Bettingfield
This is another one of Billie’s theme songs, and I love writing to this song. The story of these characters in my head is literally unwritten. I love the possibility that entails. I mean sure, I have an idea of what I want them to do, but they often end up rebelling and writing their own story. They are very independent people.

Seven Devils by Florence at the Machine
This song has inspired Alpha on many different levels, but as I was writing a visual, choreographed version of the history of the Magi—this song was my inspiration. Often times we are our own worst enemy.

Riverside by Agnes Obel
This is the theme song for Lucian, Billie’s mentor. I struggled for a long-time to find the right song for him. This song captures the refinement and composure Lucian portrays, while also hinting at the deep and ravaging pain he experiences. Though Lucian is, at times, Billie’s only ally —she sometimes forgets how little she truly knows about him.

Radioactive by Imagine Dragons
I choreographed a lot of the magic fight scenes to this song. It captures the essence of Billie’s magic. It is often too explosive and unpredictable for even her to control. Her power will leave an impression of some form or another in the Realm. Of that, there is no doubt.

Mystic Flute by Crystal Skull Meditation
In case you didn’t guess by how many times I used the word choreograph, I love to dance. So much so that I made dance a part of Misfit’s Rise. One dance performance that Billie witnesses, called, “Dance of Shadows,” was choreographed to this song. It portrays the dramatic extinction of shapeshifters, a former Mage species.

Sail by Awolnation
I’ve always loved this song because I think it captures a lot of what Billie’s feeling. She’s struggling to fit into a world that has no place for her, and while a part of her is desperately trying to fit anyway, another part of her just wants to sail away.

Fire meets Fate by Ruelle
I’ve come to associate fire with Billie because of its dual nature. Fire is both powerful, and gentle. Life-giving and destructive, and it can switch from one to the other in a heartbeat. And as Billie’s fate is so tied to her equally unpredictable and potentially dangerous power, this song is the perfect note to end on.

And that concludes my list. I would love to hear what you all think of my song choices, and what these songs make you think about Misfit’s Rise. Look forward to hearing from you!


Misfit’s Rise (Alpha Book 1)
by Sara E. Tall
November 29, 2018 
Genre: YA Fantasy
ISBN: 9780359258277
Number of pages: 268
Word Count: 82, 527
Cover Artist: Sara Eatough
A Half-Fae misfit returns to the Magical Realm of her birth to discover it’s far from the fairy tale she imagined.

A century after the Mages of Earth found sanctuary in an underground Realm, those whose magic is sub-par or whose half-breed heritage leaves them powerless and forced into exile back on Earth. They can’t have them tainting the magic of the others, after all.

As a Fae/Human hybrid, Billie should fit right in. Except, she’s anything but powerless, making her a misfit among misfits. When her powers nearly destroy a human home, she's given a chance to return. Returning to the Realm has always been Billie’s dream, but the Realm is anything but a fairy tale.

Despite its claims of acceptance and equality, ancient rivalries between the Realm’s magical species are threatening to rip it apart. Billie somehow manages to land herself in the middle, a dangerous place for an outcast to be. What’s more, the powerful magic that brought her there suddenly vanishes, leaving her vulnerable to the attacks of those who think a misfit doesn’t belong in the Realm.

Staying in the Realm is her only chance to live life as a true Mage, but it could cost her life.

“There’s the little fire freak.” My eyes shot open. Standing before me was Tanya with her usual wannabes. She was dressed in her predictable mixture of bad-girl-meets-prep, wearing the pigtails only she could pull off as chic and not goody-two-shoes.

“What’s the matter? Nothing to say to me?” She stepped forward. “Not even an apology for blowing up my house?”

“Not really.” People always said if you didn’t let bullies get to you, they’d get bored and move on. It was time to put that to the test.

“When did you become an arsonist, anyway?” she took another step. “Was it to deal with your dad leaving you in that ghetto with all the other freaks?”

“My father didn’t leave,” I snapped before I could stop myself. “He’s dead.”

“Oh, I’m sure that’s what your mom told you.” She was right in front of my face now. “But we all know if your daddy was dead, you would have gotten a nice life insurance check and you wouldn’t be so dirt poor.”

At a different time I might have laughed at that. I guess it didn’t occur to Tanya not everyone could afford a life insurance policy.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said as I leapt off the bench and shoved my way past her.

“I’m trying to help you, Billie,” she said from behind me. “You and your friends. I know it can be hard coming from nothing.”

Even though I knew I should just keep walking, I whirled around. “You don’t know a thing about us.”

“You know what the number one profession is for girls from low-income neighborhoods?”

The people around us gasped, though the ones trying to look cool laughed. I was almost impressed with Tanya for being that subtle.

I glanced at her Prada bag, my hand twitching. It would be so easy to just rip that thing open. And it would be a lot better than she deserved. But the Officials had told me not to use magic, and I had a feeling my ability to follow their order would affect whether they sent me to the Academy, or to a containment facility.

Slowly, I turned around again. “I’m not listening to you.”

“You and tall-chick might be able to make it, but the chubby one? What guy would pay for a night with that?”

There was more laughter, but I barely heard it as I whirled around and screamed, “Shut up!”

Everything happened too fast. All I knew was that one moment I was glaring at Tanya, breathing hard while she folded her arms and smirked; and the next second the tall, marble centerpiece from the fountain was hurtling toward Tanya’s head.

She screamed and ducked, and the marble spiral crashed down just behind her shoulder. Even though it missed her, it still drenched her and her bag with a splash of murky, icy water.

For a second nobody moved, as everyone’s eyes moved from Tanya, to the wrecked fountain, to me.

About the Author:
Sara's enjoyed creating fantastic stories since she was old enough to hold a play sword, around the time she learned how to walk. Gradually she learned to direct her creative energy into writing, and it’s been a downward spiral ever since then. When she's not writing she’s probably either dancing or reading random Wikipedia pages. She also enjoys spending time in her part-time home away from home, Yellowstone National Park, which is the most fantastical land she's ever been too.

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