Music is powerful. It sets a mood and evokes emotions. And it can be a writer’s best friend.
While there are times when I prefer to write in silence, I usually have music playing in the background. Though it has to be the right music for what I’m writing.
When I was writing The Insistence of Memory, I listened to a lot of 90s alt-rock with strong female vocals—most often that meant Poe and K’s Choice—with some breaks for Nine Inch Nail’s Downward Spiral. There was also quite a bit of moody trip-hop/electronica, like Portishead and Thievery Corporation. One standout song that I played a lot was Colour Me by Dot Allison.
My playlist for To the Left of Death was less ethereal/folk and more about young, powerful female singers/songwriters like K. Flay, Alice Merton, and Bishop Briggs. Though, hands down, Halsey’s Badlands album was my absolute go-to while working on this book. (And when boxing—Badlands is excellent for boxing!)
Now that I’m working on a young adult, adventure book, my music has shifted to classical and fantasy-instrumental music. Some of my favorites include well-known melodies like selections from The Carnival of the Animals (Saint-Saëns) and Claire de Lune (Debussy), as well as instrumental pieces from soundtracks like Harry Potter and Final Fantasy X.
I have a weakness for piano and, thanks to Pandora, I’ve discovered so many fabulous soloists/composers who inspire me to write fantasy, such as Paul Cardall, Philip Wesley, Emile Pandolfi, Michelle McLaughlin, and Van Jensen.
My musical taste is wide. What I listen to when I write may not be the same thing I would listen to when I cook dinner, practice yoga, or go on a road trip, but music often stimulates my creativity and helps me find (and keep) the mood of my writing project. In short, music is magical.