Every good space opera deserves a playlist. Or so I thought when I conceived my sci-fi action-adventure novel called The Rocket Riders. (Presently querying agents. Anyone? Anyone?) A space opera. Yes, I’m still congratulating myself over that clever little play on words. Well, there was no NaNoWriMo for me this year, but I did spend time last month diving back into the world of The Rocket Riders. I cranked out revisions to a partially written Rocket Rider sequel (Space Corps Academy: A Rocket Rider Story), but more importantly, I finalized the playlist for Book Two, so here goes:
ACT I: “Drops of Jupiter” by Train. A year has passed since we last saw him, and we find J.R. Rider and his new bestie, Steven Bowman, right in the middle of the action. Fresh off conquering the galactic barrier, J.R. is cocky, confident, and reckless. Meanwhile, this space-based tune reminds me of one of my own besties, a former college roommate of mine who came home from class one afternoon and said, “Chris, you have to listen to this!” I must say I politely declined when he invited me to sing along with the “nah-nahs” at the end.
ACT II: “93 Million Miles” by Jason Mraz. J.R. heads to the Academy where he’s on his own for the first time in his life. Space Corps Academy draws on many of my own experiences and feelings from when I left home to go to college and then later when I traveled to the Dominican Republic to serve a two-year church proselyting mission. Maybe you can’t actually go home again, but home can give you the courage to keep going.
ACT III: “Friends” by The Pepper Tree Market. Even the best of friends can hit some rough patches in their relationship. This fun song by a brother/sister duo who both served church missions in my home state of Nebraska represents a mid-novel falling out between J.R. and Steven. Naturally, things get worse before they get better.
ACT IV: “Over My Head (Cable Car)” by The Fray. Have you ever noticed how most every Star Wars movie ends with the heroes battling the odds on three different fronts at the same time? I have, and so it is with my new Rocket Rider story. The clock’s ticking, and J.R., his sister Sally, and his girlfriend, Ka’Leili, each in a separate corner of the galaxy, find themselves in over their heads as they collectively fight for the future.
ACT V: “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay. The battle’s won. (Is that a spoiler?) In a parting shot, J.R., a changed man, heads back out to the stars with his wingman, Steven.
END CREDITS: “Live It Well” by Switchfoot. At its heart, Space Corps Academy is a story about finding yourself and doing the right things for the right reasons. This song perfectly captures those themes for me.
MORE END CREDITS: “A Sky Full of Stars” by The Piano Guys. Once again, The Piano Guys take a great tune and make it even better.
There. Space Corps Academy. It’s an opera in space, and I’m dying to finish it. Now that I have my playlist set, I’m ready to do just that.