Music as Muse

untitled-1Appropriate timing for this week’s blog challenge: Music to Write By, as I was just a guest on Roz Morris’ Undercover Soundtrack earlier this week, talking about songs that inspire my books.

I’m also participating in the #authorlifemonth challenge on Instagram, where a few days ago the topic was writing music.

Each of my books has a playlist, which you can listen to on Youtube:

But when a scene doesn’t have a specific song, I fall back on about a dozen or so movie scores that always work for me (see picture on the right). I love listening to movie scores for a few reasons: 1) I can’t listen to music with lyrics when I write; it’s too many words in my brain at once, 2) they have built in moments of emotion and drama due to the storylines they go along with, and 3) I see stories in my head when I hear classical music. Even if I know what scene a song goes with, often my mind gives the music a totally different story. In this way, the music acts as inspiration.

A few others not pictured that I love:

  • The Last of the Mohicans
  • Becoming Jane
  • The Dutchess
  • North & South (BBC 2004)
  • Mansfield Park (1999)
  • Jane Eyre (2011)
  • Northanger Abbey
  • Wuthering Heights
  • Cider House Rules
  • Chocolat
  • Pretty much anything scored by Alexandre Desplat, Rachel Portman or Nico Muhly

What is your favorite music to listen to? Do you like film scores? If so, which ones? Do you imagine songs to go with your favorite books? If so, what’s on your list?

PS – Yes, I skipped last week’s blog challenge. I was busy and it was about hobbies – I don’t really have any outside of reading, writing book reviews, and research, which are related to my writing. 🙂

Live Interview with Musician Lee Safar this Saturday

Lee interviewEver wonder how music inspires writing or vice versa? Now’s your chance to find out live.

If you’ll be around at 6 p.m. CST on Saturday (the graphic above shows Sydney time) please join me for an interview with musician Lee Safar. She’s an amazing singer/songwriter who has become the “musical voice” of my character of Guinevere because her music so perfectly fits the experiences of my character. No less than seven of her songs are on the playlists for the trilogy.

I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to talk with her live about creativity, music and living your dreams. Plus, she’s going to make a few really cool announcements during the interview that you won’t want to miss. Join the Facebook event or G+ event for more details and click here for local time zone details.

And if you can’t make it, I’ll post a link as soon as I get one. Hope to see you there!

S is for Songs that Inspire

“I remember, I remember everything – all the tracks that shaped and changed me.” – Kill Hannah, “Songs that Saved My Life”

Some of you may have noticed I have a playlist section on this site, even for books I haven’t written yet. When a song truly inspires me, it goes on there. Most of the songs listed have specific scenes or sections of their respective book that go with them. I’ll reveal those once you can read the books. But for now, here are a few of my favorites and a bit about why I chose them (or rather, they chose me).

Sting – A Thousand Years – I couldn’t find an official video for this song, so this a beautiful fan video.

This song has been the theme for the Guinevere trilogy pretty much from the beginning. The lyrics remind me of the hundreds of incarnations the story has had over the last 1500 years. But despite all of the changes, the love between Guinevere/Arthur and Guinevere/Lancelot remains at its core. There’s something haunting about the circular rhythm of the music that reminds me of the enduring power of legend.


Hana Pestle – Need – Official video

Hana got a lot of attention for this video when she was considered for the New Moon soundtrack. She didn’t make it there but she made it to my playlist. I can’t tell you which two characters this is about, but for me, this was the perfect soundtrack to first heartbreak, when you just know you are supposed to be with someone and then your whole world is ripped apart. How do you live without the one who makes you breathe?


Florence and the Machine – Heavy in Your Arms – Official video (sorry for the ad at the beginning)

Can you tell I was a Twilight fan? This song made the Eclipse soundtrack, but for me it’s Elaine’s theme. She’s not a sane girl. Her mind is fragile and she craves love, but is burdened with crushing amounts of guilt, even before she does anything to feel guilty about. I will tell you that her mind slowly unravels throughout the series, until finally she makes her dying confession, which is inspired by this song.


Kill Hannah – Promise Me – Official video

Kill Hannah is my all time favorite band, so it was only a matter of time before one of their songs made it into my books. This a rare ballad for the band, but it grabbed my heart from the opening chords and never let go. Again, I can’t say which two characters have interplay with this song (it’s not who you would think), but I can tell you it’s a scene of intense pain, resignation and regret, tinged with the knowledge that love will live on in the heart, even if the relationship does not.


Katharine McPhee – Run – No video, just audio

I’d heard this song about a million times before in its original version by Snow Patrol and it never affected me. But when I saw Katharine McPhee sing it on Smash, I literally saw the scene of Arthur’s death in y mind. All I can say at this point is that it is the culmination of so much of what builds in the first two books – in more ways than you can know. It will, of course, be very emotional, but it is more than just the sadness of tragic death, it’s also the loss of a dream, the end of an era. I’m a long way from writing it, but I can promise you I see it the exact same way every time I hear this song, so I won’t forget it.

What music inspires you? Do certain songs fit with certain books for you? If you’re a writer, what do you listen to when you write? Have you ever had the experience of hearing a song and seeing a scene from your story materialize in your head?