I’m not talking about Katy Perry; I actually didn’t know anything about her song when I started writing Dark Horse. My eleven-year-old daughter introduced me to it, proclaiming me “cool” for having come up with idea first. Not sure I can make that claimbut the concept of a Dark Horse has been rolling around at the back of my head for sometime.

A dark horse is the long shot, the one you didn’t see coming. Olivia is the threat Nikola, her thousand-year-old nemesis, never saw coming because he assumes she’s trivial. It’s the overarching theme of my work: that women are often the dark horse—no one sees their power until later, if at all.

Not too jump too far ahead, but in book III (name pending) Olivia will be on the team chosen to elect a woman to be president—and calling on the dark arts to do it! In my estimation, electing a women president in the United States is a long shot, a tough sell, fraught with sexual politics, so the whole idea is a bit of a dark horse . . . You see, it’s a notion I can’t quite dispose of yet.

But back to music, I can’t write without music. Well of course, I could, but it wouldn’t be the same. The catch here is that I don’t actually listen to music while I write. I tune in at other times.

The elliptical machine, for example, is actually a great place for inspiration. Often its long walks in Golden Gate Park in the fog and the mist, my iPhone fully charged and connected to Spotify. I often create playlists for my work to inspire me. In this case, the music for this book centered around Josef, who is in many ways is the character I love the most (more about him later). His music is mournful and contemplative…I’ve posted the playlist below. Do any of these songs show up on your playlists? If so, I’d love to hear from you.

Josef’s Playlist

Crowded House – Fall At Your Feet
James Blunt – Cry
Split Enz – I Got You
The Psychedelic Furs – Here Come Cowboys
The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter
The Rolling Stones – Stray Cat Blues
Split Enz – Dirty Creature
Aimee Mann – Lost In Space
Aimee Mann – Looking for Nothing
George Harrison – Isn’t It a Pity (Demo Version)
The Killers – Losing Touch
The London Suede – Hit Me
Bryan Ferry – Me Oh My
David Sylvian – Wanderlust
Japan – Obscure Alternatives
Peter Murphy – All Night Long
Queens Of The Stone Age – The Vampyre Of Time And Memory
James Blunt – Bonfire Heart
The Goo Goo Dolls – Slide
The Goo Goo Dolls – Come To Me
Ellie Goulding – Guns And Horses
The Devil Makes Three – Old Number Seven
Aimee Mann – Lost In Space
Bryan Ferry – Me Oh My
Aimee Mann – Deathly
Stone Sour – Wicked Game
Jet – Look What You’ve Done
Crowded House – Fall At Your Feet
Crowded House – Distant Sun
Crowded House – Hole In The River
Aimee Mann – Looking for Nothing

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