Book Spotlight: A Summer Soundtrack for Falling in Love by Arden Powell

A Summer Soundtrack for Falling in Love
by Arden Powell
Release Date: October 29, 2018

About A Summer Soundtrack for Falling in Love
What he wanted was a music career. What he needed was love.

When Kris Golding leaves his dusty Kansas hometown for a fresh start in New York, he thinks an apartment and a job are waiting for him. But when he finds neither, rather than admit defeat, he takes his chances busking—and meets Rayne Bakshi of international rock band The Chokecherries. Rayne needs a new guitarist, and gives Kris his first break since leaving home.

Rayne wears makeup and glitter and thinks nothing of kissing Kris in front of twenty thousand screaming fans for the attention. Instantly infatuated, Kris begins to question whether he might have a crush on Rayne—could he be bisexual? But since Kris originally claimed to be straight, Rayne’s wary of getting involved offstage.

As their tour gains momentum, Kris’s sexuality becomes the least of his troubles. Between his conservative brother hell-bent on “rescuing” him from his life of debauchery, a peacock that may or may not be the avatar of a cult god, and a publicity stunt that threatens to upend the band, Kris is definitely not in Kansas anymore.

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A Note from Arden Powell
Hi, I’m Arden Powell. I’m here to share writing tips, anecdotes, and behind-the-scenes notes about my new release, A Summer Soundtrack for Falling in Love. Comment on my blog tour for a chance to win a $20 gift card!

A Guest Post from Arden Powell
Writing Diversity in Romance

So you want to write a novel—maybe even a romance novel!—and you’ve decided to commit to this diversity thing. You don’t want to write a cast of exclusively cisgender white men, whether they’re gay or straight, because that’s not just not reflective of the real world. (Or, indeed, of any world I want to live in.) But how do you write a cast like that—a diverse, realistic cast with a whole spectrum of races, genders, and sexualities—without accidentally stereotyping anyone, or swerving out of your lane and stepping on #ownvoices’ authors toes? Here are some things I kept in mind while writing A Summer Soundtrack for Falling in Love, which features several races, genders, and sexualities that aren’t my own. I’m told the results weren’t terrible, and therefore I’m clearly qualified to give advice.
  1. Remember that you have options. You don’t HAVE to make everyone white and cis unless you really want to. My main character, Kris Golding, is—but my ENTIRE CAST isn’t. And there’s a bit where Kris wonders if he’s cis at all, so like. Options!
  2. Be diverse, but stay in your lane. I’m white: I’m not going to write from a black POV and talk about systemic racism. I can be as sympathetic as I want, but I haven’t experienced that myself, and there are black writers who can tell that story better.
  3. Read books by diverse authors. Read #ownvoices stuff. Go see how wild and diverse the world really is! Learn about other cultures! Watch foreign films and documentaries! There are so many different authors out there writing about so many different things—don’t limit yourself. Learning new things is cool.
  4. Get a sensitivity reader. Get several. Get as many as you need! I used two for Summer Soundtrack: one for Rayne Bakshi, my Indian/Persian rock star love interest, and one for Angel, my black trans club owner/makeup artist. I’m not Persian, and I’m not black, or a trans girl. I went in knowing I needed sensitivity readers—or, if you prefer to think of them this way: accuracy readers. If they give you feedback, LISTEN TO IT. You will look endlessly foolish if you don’t, and you will have to sit in the Shame Corner until you learn from your mistakes.
  5. Have empathy. You’re not writing diversely to earn a gold star. You’re writing about other identities because they’re people too, and they deserve to see themselves in fiction as much as the next person. I don’t want to live in a world populated entirely by cis white men. Some people do want that world, and they’re fighting for it. They’re going to lose, of course, but in the meantime, romance—the genre of hope and love and happy endings—shouldn’t reflect what they want.
  6. Still not sure? I mean, no one’s actually going to MAKE YOU write diversely. White authors writing white characters isn’t going to go away anytime soon. Maybe you can’t think of a reason to make one of your characters POC, or non-binary, or bi instead of gay. In that case, you just need to ask yourself one thing: is there any reason they SHOULDN’T be? No one questions why the lead of every single Hollywood blockbuster is straight and white. Does that really add anything to the plot? Do we really NEED another ruggedly handsome white dude taking up our time? The answer lies within your heart. My heart, personally, said nah.

About Arden Powell
Arden Powell graduated from St. Francis Xavier University with an Honours degree in English literature and the realization that essay writing is just another form of making up stories. They also came away with an overriding and all-abiding love of semicolons, to the general dismay of their editors.

Arden lives in Ontario with a dog, a fellow human, and an unnecessary number of houseplants.

Connect with Arden

To celebrate the release of A Summer Soundtrack for Falling in Love, one lucky person will win a $20 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 2, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!


  1. Nice post! I think that it's important that contemporary stories reflect the world around us and that authors don't have to be scared of it.
    jlshannon74 at

  2. Congrats and thanks for the post. This sounds great, and I definitely like books where they are "definitely not in Kansas anymore."
    - Purple Reader, TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com


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