Read Around the Rainbow: Music, the Food of Love?

It’s time for the monthly Read Around the Rainbow post again and this month it’s all about music. More specifically, whether we write to it, whether we have playlists for our books, and whether music is important to our characters. The quick answers are no, occasionally, and yes, but that’s not telling you anything! So here’s a bit more detail.

Do I write to music?

No, pretty much never – my brain can only cope with one or the other. If I have music on, then either I listen to the music, in which case I can’t write, or I focus on writing, in which case I’m not listening to the music. And if I’m not listening, there doesn’t seem to be much point playing it, so I don’t bother. Some background noise is fine – I can cope with traffic, trains, and even, unless it’s overwhelmingly loud, the racket of building work. But I find voices and the insistent beat of music incredibly disruptive. So no TV, no radio, no streaming, no YouTube. Just as much ‛golden’ silence as I can get in this modern world, then head down and write.

Do I have playlists?

Mostly I don’t, but occasionally music suggests itself while I’m writing, because it chimes with the action, or the atmosphere, or the characters themselves. The only book I ever had a specific playlist for, though, was my ghostly novel Gleams of a Remoter World. Although it had its flaws, it was an intensely atmospheric book and these tracks fitted the spooky and at times rather bleak mood.

Delerium: Innocente: Falling in Love
Mary Black: Leaving the Land
Japan: Ghosts
Gregorian Chant: Procedamus in Pace
The Specials: Ghost Town
Abba: The Day Before You Came

Although Gleams of a Remoter World is no longer available, I have plans to rewrite it at some point and it would be lovely to include the playlist at the back of the book so everyone could listen to it and see what I had in mind!

Is music important to my characters?

In some cases, yes, very much so. In Trench Warfare Jon’s learning the guitar, mostly so he can play the Beethoven music Steve keeps whistling on their archaeological site. He’s hopelessly, helplessly in love with Steve but doesn’t think he stands a chance; the music is just a way of coping and perhaps reaching out without appearing to.

And Richie in December Roses is a musician, who longs for a career playing the local clubs, but who’s having to comply with his father’s wishes to become a land agent instead. I could probably have made a lot more of the actual music in that plot thread, but there’s an important reason why Richie is a very enigmatic character, and why I didn’t want to give away too much about his life. I can’t say more than that without spoiling the surprise, so if you want to know more you’ll just have to grab a copy of the book!

So yeah, although I don’t actually write to music it’s still really important to my writing in one way or another. And if you follow the links you can find out how important it is to the other webring members and how they fit it into their writing lives.

Ellie Thomas :: Ofelia Grand :: Addison Albright :: KL Noone

Pic credit: Mike Giles on


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