Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Totally Random Blog Tour: Soundtrack Guest Posts from Karen Mahoney, Amy McCulloch and Emma Pass!

Today I'm excited to be part of Random House UK's Totally Random Blog Tour, featuring authors Karen Mahoney, Amy McCulloch and Emma Pass!
Each of these lovely ladies has written a guest post about soundtracks to their writing (music, another one of my loves -
yay!), which you can read below. There you'll also find their book covers and links to more information about their books, should you wish to learn more or buy a copy.

Enjoy, and thanks ladies!


Karen Mahoney

Soundtrack to my writing, top 5 tracks

I don’t listen to much music while I’m writing – I need silence, or just the ambient sounds and bland background music of a cafe, in order to write – but I have recently started using music as a way to get me in the mood for particular scenes before I start writing. Here are five tracks that had significance for THE STONE DEMON:

1) Never Let Me Go (Florence + The Machine)

Florence + The Machine always puts me in the right mindset for writing something dark and emotional. This song could represent a couple of the relationships in The Stone Demon, but I was particularly thinking of a scene later in the book that involves Donna and Navin. I don’t want to post spoilers, so I’ll leave it at that!

2) Love You More (The Pierces)

The Pierces have been making more ‘easy listening’ sort of music in recent years (and I say that as a fan, I don’t mean it in a negative way!), but this song is one that has a lovely dark edge. It suits Donna and Xan, I think.

3) This Fire (Franz Ferdinand)

You’ll need to read the book to know how appropriate this is for the final book in the trilogy! :)

4) As The World Falls Down (David Bowie)

There’s a masquerade ball in The Stone Demon, and it’s a total homage to the wonderful ballroom scene from Labyrinth. I just stole the music from the movie soundtrack for my own story, because... why not? :)

5) No Light, No Light (Florence + The Machine)

Finishing as we began, a bit more Florence. This is the perfect song for Donna’s complex battles with all of the factions in The Iron Witch’s world: the fey (and in particular, the dark elves), the demons... and even the alchemists.


Amy McCulloch

Soundtrack to your writing/top 5 tracks you listen to

The soundtrack to my writing depends on what stage I’m on in the process of book-writing. If I’m still writing the initial first draft, I like to listen to classical music (I especially like listening to Jeno Jando play Beethoven) or movie soundtracks (often big epic scores, like Howard Johnson’s Lord of the Rings, or Hans Zimmer The Dark Knight Rises and Inception).

Later on, in the editing stage, I have a playlist of indie/rock songs that I know so well, they kind of disappear into the background. Some of them are quite old because I don’t rotate my playlists much once I get going! Looking at the top played list on my iTunes, my faves appear to be:

1. “Save your Scissors” City and Colour (my favourite artist – he’s Canadian and he’s awesome so check him out)

2. “Maps” Yeah Yeah Yeahs (I first heard this song on Rockband – is that embarrassing to admit? Probably.)

3. “Teardrop” Newton Faulkner (LOVE Newton Faulkner and this song reminds me of one of my favourite shows, House)

4. “No Sound but the Wind” Editors (The best thing to come out of the Twilight movie franchise were the soundtracks… Muse, Editors, Death Cab for Cutie – there was loads of)

5. “Radioactive” Imagine Dragons (I downloaded this free from Starbucks and am now a big fan!)


 Emma Pass

Soundtrack to my writing – my top 5 tracks

In On Writing (one of my favourite books about writing, from one of my favourite authors), Stephen King says, ‘I work to loud music… It surrounds me, keeps the mundane world out. When you write, you want to get rid of the world, do you not? Of course you do. When you’re writing, you’re creating your own worlds.’

I am the same. I can write anywhere – on a train, on my lunchbreak at work, in a coffee shop, even in front of a blaring TV – if I have my headphones in and music playing.

But I don’t just use music to shut the world out as I write. I see each scene in whatever I’m writing as a series of images, almost like a film playing inside my head (perhaps this isn’t surprising, considering it was a film – Jurassic Park – that made me realise I wanted to be an author), so as I make notes and get ready to write a first draft, I also look for songs that fit the general feel of the story that’s taking shape inside my head and use them to make a soundtrack which I listen to on repeat as I write. This soundtrack instantly transports me to the world of my story, and under my characters’ skins.

ACID is set one hundred years in the future, with gritty, urban, high-tech settings and a tough, take-no-prisoners main character. As a result, the songs I chose for its soundtrack are a mix of electronic music and rock, which fits the fast pace and high action of the novel. Here are four of my favourites:

Drop Zone – Michael Woods
Mars – Fake Blood
When It Rains – Paramore
Clockwork (Jonas Steur Ultraviolence Remix) – Deadmau5

For my next book, THE FEARLESS, I went a step further and not only made a soundtrack, but chose a ‘theme song’. THE FEARLESS is a nearer-future, post-apocalyptic story about a girl trying to rescue her young brother from the clutches of man-made monsters (there’s a bit more info in the blurb in the back of ACID if you’re curious!), and the first time I heard Biffy Clyro’s ‘Many of Horror’, I knew it fit the story perfectly.

Soon, I’m hoping to start planning something new… which gives me the perfect excuse to start browsing iTunes and playing the music already crammed onto my computer at top volume. Well… it’s work!

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