AW May Blog Chain: Music!

The topic du jour is: what does my story/characters sound like?


Aaahhh, music. Definitely one of the purest forms of expression next to the written word, and oftentimes, it’s instrumental to the written word. I, for one, cannot think of writing without there being some sort of music around: either something that strikes an emotional mood that best fits a scene, or something that’s such a perfect soundtrack that from there on in, I will only see that particular scene when I listen to the song.

Come to think of it, there are very few points in the story that I can’t sum up in music.

Book 1 I can best sum up with Slipping Away by Nine Inch Nails. I first heard it as a backdrop to an episode of CSI in Season 6, and it stuck. Heavy, hard-hit song that best portrays both Shourron I’s struggle, what little of it he shows, with Arriella trying to keep everything around her together under her given  circumstances.

Book 2 is not that easy. It’s a lot more intricate and takes through several periods: the one-century-later catch-up is not the same as the Tournament, which is drastically different from Underworld, which is just as different from the secrets in some characters’ closets.

Book 3 is pending editing. So I won’t know what it sounds like until I actually look at it for more than two moments…

So, let’s do it by character, if we so can, shall we? And since YouTube is a hell of a resource, I can give the examples of what songs suit each character best, if so possible.

My general taste in music is instrumental, but oh, I love my rock from time to time…

ArriellaWalking on the Sun by Smashmouth. At least for the first two books, this song is perfect for her general attitude. Not that Arri doesn’t have her faltering moments, but considering Book 2, especially when she kicks some serious ass in the tournament, it’s best suited for her out of my entire playlist.

Shourron I – The man haunted, and even the man as he was before, definitely gets a Nine Inch Nails song: Every Day Is Exactly The Same. If you never heard it, have a listen right here. Perfectly suitable.

Shourron IIThe Music Inside by Chuck Loeb. Shou is the person who’d like to just have a quiet life and enjoy the small moments. The song is light, intricate, a little tap on the shoulder that tells you to slow down and take in what’s around you.

Makkian – This one is a bit difficult. He’s concerned for things going right, he’s passionate, he’s strong, and is a firm protector, even at the expense of his own comforts. He’s a bit dumb that way, but is generally a good person to be around. But he needs to relax. And for him… Club Paradise by Kirk Whalum. It captures Kian at his best.

Kataria – She requires a strong rock theme. She’s ambitious; goes after things regardless of whether or not they are a good idea, or have any measure of success. Whether or not she’ll ever admit it, she’s a LOT like her sister, insofar as she will stand for her principles. She gets The Fly by U2.

Charlotte Stevens – The Rolling Stones, Factory Girl. Charlotte’s a quintessential go-getter. No curlers in her hair, but if there’s a job to do, her sleeves get rolled up in seconds.

Alex KramerHe is a good businessman, a great friend, a phenomenal manager, but in Book 3, you want to knock him out a window. Well, someone does, matter of fact :). But he’s a typical New Yorker, albeit in the 34th Century. He gets…Nightingale by Avenue Blue.

Jason Watson – Without fail, I’ll give him Only Tomorrow Knows by Dave Koz. Jason is someone who cannot be shaken easily, if at all; he’s thrown through every possible gauntlet and not only does he manage, he shows that he has more than one good trick up his sleeve. He manages to turn even the most unlikely things to his favor. He’ll take lemons, give you lemonade with your choice of booze (and never ask him where he’ll get it!) and serve it up with a knowing grin.


The interesting thing is – and some of you might know this already – at the time that I was writing/plotting out the books, the scenery was always laid down longhand, at a jazz show. Without fail, I’d be the person huddled up in the corner, with one eye on the stage, ears wide open and pen on paper, regardless of where I sat. Something about the music would just be the perfect setting and setup for the inspiration. To date, I’ve written to Randy Brecker and Chuck Loeb, Jeff Lorber,  Special EFX, Larry Carlton… The list goes on. The more music I see live, the more I write. The two aren’t separable even in concept.

So, my readers and fellow artisans, let me leave you with my new favorite song. I found it on Pandora and it’s been in my head for a near week. One of the most beautiful things I heard in a long time – Sunshine in the Rain by Ryan Farish. Which, by the by, is a featurette of one of the final scenes of Book 2. Not the complete track, but get it on iTunes. Well worth the buck.

And, of course, meet the chain

Stefanie Gaither:
Hayley E. Lavik:
Yours Truly.
Aimée Laine:


29 thoughts on “AW May Blog Chain: Music!

  1. I love Smashmouth! I know, I know, child of the 90s, but they have some really good lyrics going on :) … Even though it seems like only car commercials play that song anymore. Haha.

    1. I’m a 90s child myself and something about that song is just completely kicky. I found it by reading some old, OLD fiction and it was listed as a soundtrack song. I looked it up and was like, “HELL YES!”

  2. *replays Sunshine in the Rain* I officially label that one musical discovery of the week. Thanks for that!
    Your series sounds great with strong contrasting characters that are bound to step on each others toe.
    Nicely done!

    1. Anytime! And ohgods, Sunshine in the Rain… It’s just impossible to get rid of once you play it. I don’t know what exactly about it is just so enticing and magical, but when Pandora hit it, I just stopped short with a dropped jaw and was like “What is this, who is playing it and how did I live without it?” It’s not every day that a song just does something like that. <3 <3 <3 my piano, yes I do.

  3. “He’ll take lemons, give you lemonade with your choice of booze (and never ask him where he’ll get it!) and serve it up with a knowing grin.”
    That sounds like a good character trait. ;)

    1. He’s based on a RL friend of mine…

      …who is exactly like that. He’s one of my best friends and I don’t know if I want to place him in a headlock or give him a hug half the time!

      It usually ends up a hug. :)

  4. Great musical selections, Katherine!

    I live in a small town, and I don’t think we’ve *ever* had a jazz concert here; but it sounds like the perfect situation for hammering out some setting details!

    1. See if you can traipse off to a destination festival. I heartily recommend it.

      If not for writing, then know this: there’s no party like a jazz party!

  5. “Sunshine in the Rain” is lovely, thanks for that. I like that you have a mix of artists and genres here, makes it sound like an interesting story.

    1. I love it. The artists nearly always ask me what I’m writing; it’s a great way to network (and maybe earn some rib pokes). Creatively speaking, it’s about the only way I can write; either at a show or right after it, on the train home.

  6. Loved Sunshine in the Rain. It’s great to discover new artists and their music.

    I love the idea of one eye on the stage while the other tends to the written word. And I’d love to crank out 1000 words at lunch too.

    1. 1,000 words at lunch? Okay, what’s your secret? I’m lucky if I squeeze out 500 at a time when I’m at work…

    1. Heh. I always liked their version of I’m a Believer. But Walking on the Sun is just fitting for this one.

  7. I found it interesting that you said that your stories start with slow Jazz and longhand… I’ve often found that the speed of the music often changes the speed (and tenor) of my writing! Slow, liquid music and the words dance on the page…flowing descriptions and beautiful maidens. Hard-hitting rock and I’m baning out words at a million miles a minute…and it’s muscle, blood, and sweat.


    1. Jazz just puts me into that headspace that I need to be in to write anything. I can’t do it otherwise.

      Thing is, jazz is varied in its tempo; most of the jazz I listen to is fairly mellow, but there’s some pieces that borrow a bit of funk, a touch of R&B and kick it up. Makes for a fun mood to write, I tell you that!

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