Good morning, friends!
Here on the West Coast, it’s just after 2:30 in the morning. The June edition of #PitMad starts in a couple of hours, and naturally, I can’t sleep. Why? Well, as I mentioned in the title, insomnia’s a dick. So…I’ll be up until around 9pm tonight, after which I fully intend to collapse into my nice, comfy bed and sleep for at least twelve straight hours, provided no Apocalypse scenarios present themselves which require my immediate attention. In light of this, and given I’ve spent the last three hours listening to music on YouTube, I thought it might be kinda cool to give you an idea of what I’m listening to.
Many people ask writers, “What do you listen to?” or “What songs inspired XYZ book/chapter/scene?” With #PitMad very much in the forefront of my mind, I thought my readers might like a glimpse behind the scenes to get an idea of what sort of headspace I’ve been working in, and the songs and artists who put me there. And since it’s my website and my time going into it, you’re kinda stuck with me now. (Except you’re not. I sincerely hope you’re a willing participant and not someone being held hostage against your will. If you are, please notify the nearest FBI office or call 911, because all my phenomenal cosmic powers aside, I’m more likely to get you killed than get you free in a safe manner.)
With that disclaimer aside, let’s talk about books, music and their intersection.
I don’t know one single writer who isn’t inspired by music in some way. Some listen to it while writing; some insist on total silence; some get inspiration while standing in line at the coffee shop and hearing some song over the Muzak which would be “so perfect for blah-blah-blah!” they breathlessly pant as they dive for cellphones, tablets or, if they’re borderline Luddites like me, pen and paper to scribble down their latest brainstorm.
Music is and has always been a huge part of my writing process. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten out of the habit of listening to it while I write, but I can hear the “right” songs in my head as a hallucinatory soundtrack to the action I’m writing on the page. That’s not as crazy as it looks on paper, because a) I’m a guy who plays with his imaginary friends for fun and profit and b) you’re here reading about it, so at least one of us has to be sane, right? Right?! RIGHT?!?!?!
Since I’m pitching the first two books in The Soulforger Chronicles today through the #PitMad event, here is a selection of the songs which have been most important in getting them from my head, through my fingers, to the screen and thus hopefully to the eyes of agents who’ve been absolutely perishing to read what I’m bringing to the table. I’m going to try to group them more or less as they influenced the books, but there’s a LOT of crossover and this is by no means an exhaustive list. (You don’t really want to see a cross-referenced list of every song and YouTube video I’ve watched in the last seven months, do you? Yeah. Didn’t think so.)
The songs listed here are perennials which have disproportionate impact and which I hear in my head more often than 9,000 times in the course of writing a 100k-word manuscript. I leave you to do the associated math for yourself, if you dare.Some of these are going to seem like strange bedfellows, if not downright weird. On the other hand, you try having this eclectic mess bouncing around in your head for a few months and then let me know how stable YOU feel, mmm’kay?
But first, I’m going to start with a few songs which have influenced and will likely continue to influence my writing and worldview since they came out. Feel free to look them up for yourself, and tell me what your faves are!
You can safely assume these songs had a HUGE influence on TSC, and will continue to do so moving forward.
Unicron’s Medley – Original Score by Vince DiCola, medley sampled and assembled by Boombleeb (available only on YouTube, more’s the pity). Anyone who knows me won’t be even slightly surprised to see this at the top of my list.
Unicron Theme Remix – Rose of Jericho (and no, it’s not just because of the name, although for obvious reasons I dig it!). Also, see above.
Angel of the Morning – includes versions by Juice Newton, Billie Davis and the Brea Olinda High School Advanced Women’s Choir, just to name a few.
Thunder – Imagine Dragons
Roar – Katy Perry
The Champion – Carrie Underwood
There Must Be an Angel – original by The Eurythmics, but there’s also an excellent live cover by No Angels (4 minutes 46 seconds) which I found on YouTube.
Something to Be Proud Of – Montgomery Gentry
I Can’t Believe She Walked Away – Wayne Judd. You won’t find this one on YouTube (or anywhere else to the best of my knowledge), but I live in hope.
So…on to the books!
The Soulforger Chronicles: Adeptus
- In the Air Tonight – original by Phil Collins, but the In This Moment cover is the one which lives on my permanent playlist
- Shatter Me – Lindsey Stirling featuring Lizzy Hale of Halestorm; the version with Amy Lee of Evanescence is quite good and well worth a listen as well
- My Lover’s Box – Garbage
- A Stroke of Luck – Garbage
- Not Meant for Me – Static X
- Burn – The Cure
- Dead Souls – original by Joy Division, the Nine Inch Nails cover from The Crow soundtrack is my preferred version
- Awaken – Dethklok
- Unforgiven – Metallica
- Oye Mi Canto – Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine
- Seal Our Fate – Gloria Estefan
- Call the Man – Celine Dion
- Cadence of Her Last Breath – Nightwish
- Shot in the Dark – Within Temptation
- Angels – Within Temptation
- Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) – Original by Jimi Hendrix, perfected by Stevie Ray Vaughn (sorry, Jimi)
- All About Us – T.A.T.U.
- Hallelujah – original by Leonard Cohen, notable covers by Jon Bon Jovi, Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix
The Soulforger Chronicles: Sybarite
- All the Things She Said – T.A.T.U.
- Of Wolf and Man – Metallica
- I Get Around – Tupac Shakur aka 2Pac
- The Transformers Movie Medley – original score by Vince DiCola, covered and arranged by Antoine Baril
- Meet Me on the Equinox – Deathcab for Cutie
- Love Me Like You Do – Ellie Goulding
- If I Can’t Have You – original by Yvonne Elliman, cover by Eve’s Plum
- What I’ve Done – Linkin Park
- The Howling – Within Temptation
- Let Us Burn – Within Temptation
- Electric Chair – Prince
- Voodoo – Godsmack
- I Against I – Massive Attack featuring Mos Def
- Fatal – The RZA
- Tuscan Chica – Soul Ballet
- Exotique – Soul Ballet
- Chop Suey – System of a Down
- Personal Jesus – original by Depeche Mode, cover by Marilyn Manson
So there you have it, folks. Over forty songs which inspired me in some way to create The Soulforger Chronicles. Want to know what tracks will inspire TSC: Warlock? Guess what…me too! *insert laugh emoji here* I suppose, if you really want to know, you should stay tuned!
All this writing has me curious. What’s YOUR go-to writing or reading song or songlist? Leave me a shout-out in the comments, and don’t forget to follow @jerichoswayne (my urban fantasy Twitter account) and @iamlordunicron (my account for everything ELSE) for more cool stuff coming soon!