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Music to Inspire - An #AuthorOfTheWeek Blog

Three years ago, when I launched my first book, Clemency made me two CDs to take with us on our roadtrip. In many respects, those became the soundtrack for my entire family saga. But many of the songs belong to the finished novels. This blog is looking at the music which inspires me while I'm writing.

As I mentioned in last night's blog and in my #AuthorOfTheWeek interview, most of the music I listen to when I'm writing has no words. This is the safest way of ensuring I don't just start writing out the song lyrics instead of my stories! But, for the sake of this blog, I'm thinking about a mixture of songs and instrumental music, just to ring the changes!

So I've come up with 6 pieces which inspire me (there could have been many more, but I don't want to bore you!) - here they are:

1 - The last three tracks of the Gladiator soundtrack (Elysium, Honour Him, Now We Are Free) [Hans Zimmer]
I fell in love with this soundtrack from the moment I went to watch the film at the cinema for my 15th birthday - yikes, that was a long time ago now!
These pieces of music are now so entwined with my "Story Story" (a.k.a. The Watchers' Heir) that I can hardly hear them now without thinking first and foremost of Wat, the main character.
Since the lyrics in this aren't in English there's no danger of accidentally writing those instead!

2 - Fortune's Wheel [Clare Mann, Aaron Jones]
This was found for me by Judith when we were building one another a playlist for our stories. I absolutely fell in love with it! The partnership of flute and vocals is just so evocative, to say nothing of how perfect the words are for Caledon.
Because this one has words, I usually just sit and listen to it, and then frantically type once it's finished. I'm on with Book 4 of Caledon (out of an ultimate 6) and this song has been with me from the beginning. I'm pretty sure it will stick with me until the end!

3 - Over the Hills and Far Away [John Tams]
I love folk music - something which will no doubt become very apparent during this blog! And, quite honestly, I suspect most authors of Napoleonic historical fiction have fallen under the hand of the Sharpe bug at some point! It's perhaps little surprise then that this made it's way onto the blog!
We were fortunate enough to see John Tams in concert several years ago. It was a fantastic evening, despite the fact we got a flat tyre, and rounded off an unreal day for us. We started at a recording studio, popped across to sing Joe Hill at a picket line, back to the recording studio, then off to the John Tams concert!

4 - Legends of the Fall (The Ludlows) [James Horner]
This piece just floats so seamlessly through chords, yet somehow it maintains a sense of simplicity and grandeur rolled into one. And, whatever I'm writing, this piece of music has a place in it.
After careful consideration, I think James Horner might be my favourite film composer of all time. I'm not sure my favourite pieces are by him, but I am sure that I could listen to virtually any of his soundtracks beginning to end and enjoy them.

5 - The Last Goodbye [Billy Boyd]
My Fotherby song! There is something heartbreakingly beautiful about the meaning in this song and I feel that, if any of my characters understand that, it's Fotherby.
Honestly, I was spoilt for choice from these soundtracks, but this one just has it all!

6 - Dark Lochnagar [The Corries]
It's that guy again - he creeps in everywhere - Byron, of course!
If the last song was Fotherby's, this is certainly- oh no, wait, no spoilers! Let's just suffice to say that this poem is central to the story, and one character in particular. It's not an understatement to say this song helped create the plot of Day's Dying Glory!
The list goes on, and it's almost inexhaustible. So many soundtracks, so many songs! To me, music is a part of my everyday life (I'm a private music teacher!), there's no wonder I find it so inspiring! During this lockdown, I'm making sure I find time to make music and, invariably, when I sit down at the piano and sing, each song speaks to me of a different part or character in one of my stories.

This has been a rather self-indulgent blog, but I hope you've uncovered some new tunes, and I'd love to hear what music inspires you to write - call it professional curiosity!


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