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Krysten Lindsay Hager: YA Contemporary Book CECILY IN THE CITY & the Music that Inspired It (FREE in Kindle Unlimited)
Tuesday, September 5th, 2023

How do you write the third book in a YA pop star romance series? By listening to songs that bring feel good moments, inspire you, get you through hard times, and are perfect for working through those dramatic and angsty scenes. So, what songs did I use to inspire me during writing Cecily in the City? Read on!

In Cecily in the City, Cecily is still dating her favorite pop star, Andrew Holiday, but she’s now working as an actress and model. She gets to be in an up-and-coming pop star’s new music video, but she doesn’t realize that Dex is about to become Andrew’s biggest rival. Things get complicated when her star starts to rise as she begins acting on a soap opera and all eyes are on her. Then rumors begin that she’s actually dating Dex, which upsets Andrew. Add in a singer named Everly who wants Andrew for herself and drama occurs both on the set of the soap and off. Can Cecily and Andrew’s love overcome the odds?

So here are some of the songs that inspired Cecily in the City.

Kasey Musgraves’ Star-crossed album. I had the whole album on repeat for sooo long. “Simple Times” was on during writing the scenes where Cecily was trying to keep her head straight while one part of her life was exploding the same time another part was taking off. “Justified” was another perfect track to her and Andrew dealing with rumors and drama. “Camera Roll” also inspired me as I was writing. I don’t want to give too much away, but you already know I write happy ever afters, but let’s just say this one is a hard fought one!

Taylor Swift’s “Lavender Haze” & “Cardigan” both fit with Andrew’s indie pop star career and their relationship being tested by their big careers in the spotlight. (Here’s a sneak peek of the spinoff book’s inspiration: “Cruel Summer” has been playing a lot.)

Olivia Rodrigo’s “deju vu” &“good 4 u.” These songs were on repeat when I was working on the scenes where Cecily is on Instagram looking at Everly’s posts where she’s hinting she’s with Andrew now. So yeah, I needed angsty music!

Jon Connor’s “Selfish” & “Every Other Word.” When I was writing about the rumors of Cecily dating a new pop star (Dex), I needed to picture how the whole scene would appear to Cecily’s pop star boyfriend, Andrew Holiday. Andrew is a soulful singer/songwriter who writes about heartbreak and painful breakups, so I wanted to get into his character’s head of how he’d feel about not only having Cecily in the music video of this up-and-coming singer who is a rival of his, but then have to deal with rumors about Cecily and Dex dating. So, to get me into Andrew’s head space to write his dialogue and reaction, I listened to “Selfish,” before I’d start writing. It took me right into the feelings I needed to conjure up the right emotions for the scene. Note though that Cecily is NOT a toxic girl—I just needed a perspective of what Andrew might be feeling in that moment as the anxiety hit. And, if you follow me on Instagram, you know Jon’s song, “Every Other Word,” is one I’ve been talking about inspiring me as I was writing. Andrew and Cecily both they want a loyal relationship, but there’s so much drama in the celebrity world they’re in and this song fits that vibe.

Pokora’s “Tombe’” is what I was thinking of when Cecily was starring in Dex Doyle’s new video in NYC. So much of the Pyramid album was inspiring the vibe of the style for that shoot. Also, he’s become a new favorite singer of mine.

Marina’s “Complete.” MaRina’s a go-to of mine for song inspiration. “Complete,” was the uplifting and upbeat, happily-ever-after song I needed to inspire me as I wrote the feel-good ending to the book. Another song from her inspired me as I’m writing the spinoff book, Stars in the City, that’s coming next, so stay tuned!

I have Andrew Holiday sing a cover of George Michael’s “Waiting for that Day,” so if you’ve read the book, you already know about that inspiration! A few other songs that inspired me include: “Shawn Mendes’ “Wonder.” Ed Sheeran’s “Beautiful People,” and “Don’t.” There’s a link to the playlist on my Instagram as well to hear the other songs.

Find the bestselling book, Cecily in the City, here:

The entire bestselling series is free in Kindle Unlimited:

About the Author

Krysten Lindsay Hager is a bestselling author of YA and contemporary romance. Krysten writes romance because she loves bringing people swoony moments & hope-filled happily ever afters. Her books are known for making you laugh, cry, & swoon. Along with romance, her novels deal with self-doubt, finding where you belong, true friendship, & soulmates.

Amazon page:



Music Motivation Playlist (Contest)
Saturday, January 30th, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…Lisa!

I’m in the unusual (for me) position of being ahead of schedule with work—for both editing and writing—and I thought that today I’d take a break and do some straightening and organizing. Not my favorite thing to do, but #The100DayProject begins tomorrow, so I really should at least be able to find the top of my art table!

Anyway, I need the motivation to get started and stay on task, and I thought some music might get my heart pumping. So, I’m looking to create a playlist of music guaranteed to make me move. Give me some suggestions for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!

First up, for me, is this song from the Killers—“Mr. Brightside.” Eric Roberts is in the music video looking hot and sinister!