Music has always been an important part of my life. I have memories of listening to Cheap Trick’s Live at Budokan as a kid, and then as a teenager experimenting with everything from Japan to Aerosmith as I explored music and self-identity.
As a writer, I’ve used playlists as a way to inspire myself and also to bring me closer to my characters. It’s not unusual for me to listen to music for thirty minutes to an hour before I write. I often go for walks and listen to the playlist for one of my books to help me think through plot lines. A friend of mine in the music business once characterized my taste in music as moody and reclusive. That’s probably not far off.
In the Dark Horse Trilogy books, William – one of the main characters – is a musician and a record collector, so my playlists reflect the music he plays as well as music that inspires the manuscript. For 48STATES, a novel in progress, the soundtrack is really about the state of mind for two people living in a dystopian future on the run as fugitives.
For the Trilogy, it’s difficult to pick my favorite songs because they all play a role or have a purpose, so instead I’m going to pick 5 songs to describe:
Sympathy for the Devil, Rolling Stones. I may be the only person in America who didn’t like the Stones until I was older. It took me that long to understand the blues and the complexity of the music. This song in particular narrates the background themes of the Trilogy nicely.
Rhiannon, Fleetwood Mac. This song is sexy and magical and reminds me of Olivia as she comes into her own as a woman. It’s also about desire, which is a big theme in the books.
Paint my Face, The Devil Makes Three. This is a band that plays a huge role in the playlists for the Trilogy. This song in particular reminds me of the relationship between Olivia and her father. Gabriel has something to teach Olivia, even if she doesn’t understand it at the time.
The Vampire of Time and Memory, Queens of the Stone Age. When I first heard this song, it sent chills down my spine because it just seemed to encapsulate how Olivia was feeling by the end of DARK HORSE. I think I listened to it about 100 times in the course of writing the novel.
Woman King, Iron & Wine. Okay, not an exaggeration to say this song is the background music for Olivia’s journey.
What kind of music do you like to listen to? Send me an email at [email protected] and let me know!