How Keith Urban Inspired This Sweet Romance
First, let me say this: I’m a huge fan of Keith Urban. The Australian accent, the tattoos, and that sexy voice--I’m in love.
But I never realized my love for the guitar-playing Australian would lead to this.
It was the summer of 2017, and I’d been playing Keith Urban’s latest CD on repeat in my car (yes, I’m old school and still love CDS). For some reason, it was song 12 that started haunting me.
The song, “That Could Still Be Us,” was this super moody song about a couple who broke up but was still longing for each other. I don’t know why, but the song just hit me. It made me feel something.
Let’s be clear--the song really shouldn’t have connected with me. I’ve been with my husband since we were twelve. I’ve never really been through a breakup. I don’t know what it’s like to deal with the emotions of leaving someone you still love. But Keith Urban made me feel like I did.
Suddenly, I was thinking about life in our small town. What if my husband and I after all this time called it quits? How would we separate our lives--not just our belongings, but our emotions and identity? Sometimes when you’re with someone for so long, your lives meld into one. How would we separate them again? And how would it be to live in this tiny town where everything would remind me of our life together?
I couldn’t get the song or the idea out of my head.
And that’s where Still Us was born. I knew I wanted to write a book that captured that emotion. I started imagining this couple who had been together for years but break up… only to realize they can’t get over each other, no matter how hard they try.
I already had two character names I was saving. I’d come up with the names Luke and Lila while still feeling loopy after wisdom teeth surgery (boy, that’s another story for you… it includes me putting my hood up and running into the pharmacy to look at school supplies while my husband was getting my meds). Suddenly, I had the story that Luke and Lila would fit in.
I knew I also wanted to capture humor because that’s my favorite kind of book--one that can make you angsty and make you laugh. I imagined Lila, a twentysomething vet with student debt, having to move back in with her family after the breakup. It’s Lila’s sometimes crazy family that helps bring the comic relief to a book that would otherwise be quite heavy--Grandma Claire is a character you’re not going to soon forget, especially the scene with her blind cat in the casino.
So it started with my love for Keith Urban, a song that moved me, and a storyline that haunted me. That’s where Still Us came from.
What do you think? Have you ever had a song that just wouldn’t let go of you? Hit reply and tell me about it. I’d love to hear from you.