Books, HarperVoyagerUK, Writing

Unpacking My Author’s Toolbox: Music Playlists

**I recently wrote a blog post for my publisher’s website, which will hopefully be going out this week as part of the release of Shadow (The Romany Outcasts Series, Book Two). I’ve also decided to include it on my blog.**


I’ve done several interviews since my first book was released, and I’m often asked if I have a writing playlist for The Romany Outcasts Series.

Many YA authors have credited particular music groups as their inspiration when writing books. I know other authors never listen to music while they work. Writing novels is an art, and artists go about it in different ways.

Music has always been one of the most important tools in my writing. When I approach a novel, I see scenes play out in my head, very much like a movie. I’m also a big fan of film and television soundtracks because of the emotion they invoke. Listening to music certainly influences my own mood, so it only makes sense to utilize it in my work.

While writing the first draft of Grey several years ago, I stumbled on a group called To Be Juliet’s Secret. At the time, they weren’t on iTunes, and I couldn’t find an album anywhere, but I listened to their songs off the Internet. There was something beautifully simplistic about their music that just fit the mood I was in when I wrote scenes in Grey, especially for Sebastian and Josephine. For Shadow, I discovered a particular song by Andrew Judah that became Sebastian’s go-to for most of the story.

Sometimes, however, I don’t want music with lyrics. Words can help, but they can also be distracting. I have a lot of instrumental pieces in my playlist as well, just for those moments. Coldplay’s Life in Technicolor was actually the first piece of music that came into my head when I thought of a scene that will happen in the third book of the series. Though I haven’t written it yet, I’ve mulled over it for so long with that music that they are inseparable now.

I have various soundtracks I use, but during portions of my second book I found myself listening to the soundtrack of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. (Our titles are completely unrelated, by the way.) Hans Zimmer is a genius. I’ve loved every score he’s ever written. The album was heavily influenced by classical and Romani music, and Zimmer used two Romani bands to record the score. Since much of Shadow takes place in the Circe, I wanted to listen to traditional Romani music, and this score ended up being one of my favorites.

Like most authors, my playlists tend to be eclectic because my story goes through so many stages. Characters have their own themes; certain scenes are written with a particular piece of music playing in the background. And sometimes, I’ll just listen to my playlists to get in the right frame of mind before I write.

Whatever the case, music will always be my constant companion – it never fails to energize, encourage, and inspire.


Official Music Playlist for The Romany Outcasts Series

All Angel, No Wings    —         To Be Juliet’s Secret

Be the Song                 —         Foy Vance

Bleeding Out                —         Imagine Dragons

Broken Songs              —         Jim Ward

Bells for Her               —         Tori Amos

Demons                       —         Imagine Dragons

Do You Recall             —         Royal Wood

Five Years                   —         Tony Anderson

Goodbye Was Always Your Favorite Word  

—         To Be Juliet’s Secret

Gypsy Rhapsody         —         Tonci Huljic

I Know You Know       —         Andrew Judah

Life in Technicolor      —         Coldplay

Mercy                             —         Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Morning Light             —         Andrew Judah

Romani Holiday          —         Hans Zimmer

Romanian Dance        —         Adrei Krylov

Safer in the Dark        —         Adam Agin

Say the Words             —         Satellite

The Mask’s Her Aid    —         To Be Juliet’s Secret

Turning on My Own   —         Satellite

Weapon of Choice       —         Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

What You Need           —         Satellite

Who Am I                     —         Andrew Judah

You are a Memory     —         Message to Bears


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