Some writers need music to write.
The words only flow when music blasts out of speakers, covering all background sound, lulling the writer into that intense writing ‘zone’.
I, on the other hand, need silence.
The click-clack of the keyboard and the distant hum of London traffic is about all the music I can stand. Even the smallest of interruptions can send me into Incredible Hulk-style rage. (RAAH! Can’t you see I’m WRITING?!)
My insanity aside, I do still music to be a very useful tool… before I start writing.
In Above Ground, the story follows the adventures of Lilith, Silver and Emma, alternating between their points of view. The great thing about switching between characters is it makes for excellent cliffhangers: Lilith is about to die and SCENE CUT — let’s find out what danger Emma is in!
But each scene cut forces me to reset my thinking. I need to remember the new character’s actions, emotions, and personality… and this is where music comes into play.
Certain songs make me think of certain characters, helping me to get into the right mood.
Let me subject you to my music taste.
He War by Cat Power is a definite “Lilith” song. It’s strong and angry with lyrics that remind me of Lilith and Silver’s relationship. Her passion and impulsiveness help her survive above ground, and this song calls up that fighting spirit.
Dark Paradise by Lana Del Rey also makes me think of Lilith, but in her weaker moments. The darkness of the song evokes how frightened Lilith must be of the strange world above ground, and the lyrics fit quite nicely with her anxieties about the bond with Silver.
Hands down, the song that makes me think of Silver the most is Howl by Florence + The Machine. Besides the song’s obvious werewolf references, it also captures how tormented, angry and helpless he feels about Lilith. Silver often avoids intimacy; to be forced into it is torture.
When I’m aiming more for kick-ass Silver, I listen to something grittier like Blue Sky by Gliss. It’s a defiant song, determined to survive… but it also conveys his belief that everyone is ultimately alone.
Emma is the hardest character to find music for. She’s not as stubborn as Lilith or as hot-tempered as Silver. Emma’s default reaction is to fall back upon logic, to analyse her situation before making a decision. It also doesn’t help that Emma is the only one of the three whose storyline occurs underground, in the more scifi human setting.
A song like Intro by The xx helps capture the urban edge of Emma’s setting — and the fact that it’s instrumental works well with Emma’s quieter, thoughtful personality.
What songs do you use to get into the writing mood?
A.M. Harte writes twisted speculative fiction, such as the post-apocalyptic Above Ground and the zombie love anthology Hungry For You. She is excellent at missing deadlines, has long forgotten what ‘free time’ means, and is utterly addicted to chocolate. She lives in London, a city not half as foggy as some seem to think.
Don’t forget to enter the mystery raffle giveaway, A.M. Harte is giving away 11 mystery prizes for every letter in the book’s title!
The first glimpse of sun may be her last.
When Lilith Gray goes above ground for the first time, she hardly expects to stay there — much less be trapped on the surface with no way home.
Hunted by trackers and threatened by the infected, Lilith is on the run, desperate to return underground. Her only hope for survival lies with a taciturn werewolf with a dark agenda of his own.
Lilith’s old carefree life has been reduced to one choice:
Adapt. Or die trying.