Why it’s Sia’s fault that Scarlett almost had a drinking problem

There’s a good reason we call first draft manuscripts first drafts.

The name implies there will be subsequent drafts, and thank God for that.

Case in point was the first draft of Scarlett’s story, MODERN HEART, due for release on November 26.

When I sat down with one of my beta-readers she suggested that perhaps Scarlett was relying a little too heavily on alcohol to solve her problems.


She was right. And this is also why if you’re a writer who relies on beta-readers make damn sure they are the sort of people who are going to be honest with you. I wrote more about the important qualities required in beta-readers in this post Tell it like it is: a beta reader wish list.

Anyway, so back to the little drinking problem. Scarlett had one. Kind of understandable really. She’s a tough cookie who is running from some pretty heavy emotional shit which of course I’m not going to elaborate on here because I want you to read the book!

It wasn’t my intention for her to be an alcoholic though. (Scarlett’s dealing with enough without having to sign up to Alcoholics Anonymous!) When I started to break the manuscript down it was relatively easy to remove her reliance on the drink but I started to wonder how I’d found myself in this mess (and Scarlett with a glass of red in her hand again).

Then I realized:


Yep. It’s all her fault.

No, really. Stay with me here.

You can hide behind your hair all you want, Sia, but this is your fault.

MODERN HEART playlist: 1. chandelier by sia

When I’m in the development phases of a book, I listen to a lot of music and it just so happened that Chandelier was in the charts. And it spoke to me (and fifty million other people too, I’m sure). Honestly, the lyrics were Scarlett personified. Although there’s no way Scarlett would be caught dead doing all that interpretative dance.

But the drinking? All that 1, 2, 3 drink, and party girls don’t get hurt, that holding on for dear life – that’s Scarlett.

Which is why Scarlett’s ring tone in MODERN HEART is Chandelier:

I dressed hurriedly in front of the television and was just getting to my top when I heard it.


My goddamn phone. I pulled my top roughly over my head and sprinted around the lounge room looking for my handbag. In the quiet of the morning, the phone ring sounded reminiscent of last night’s bar with Sia singing unapologetically about how she wanted to swing from the chandelier.

It’s also why this song is the first on the MODERN HEART playlist.

In the lead up to release day, I’ll be revealing the songs from the playlist (and the reasons why they made it there).

Then on release day I’ll share the entire playlist with you. Yay, release day present!

In the meantime, enjoy some amazing interpretive dance and the tormented, but beautiful, strains of Sia’s Chandelier.






3 Replies to “Why it’s Sia’s fault that Scarlett almost had a drinking problem”

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