In 'On Writing', Stephen King (one of my favourite writers ever) says that he writes to loud music:
'For me the music is… another way of shutting the door. It surrounds me, keeps the mundane world out. When you write, you want to get rid of the world, do you not? Of course you do. When you're writing, you're creating your own worlds.'
That's exactly how I feel about music and writing too. I find it much harder to write in silence than if I'm surrounded by a wall of sound. Certain bands and songs become inextricably linked to whatever I'm working on while I'm listening to them; for example, I can't hear anything by the Strokes without being transported back to the world of my first YA novel which I wrote 9 years ago, a contemporary school story. And Bloc Party and Hard-Fi? My second novel, which was all about a summer holiday love triangle (even more complicated for me to write than it was for the characters to live through!).
However, I never put together an actual soundtrack for any of my books until I wrote ACID.
So what was different about it? Why this book, and not the others? The main reason, I think, was that it was a thriller (the first time I'd returned to that genre since I realised I wanted to be an author at 13), and as I was writing it, it unfolded in my head like a film. I could see each scene as if it was playing on a screen in front of me, and found that certain songs captured the mood of these scenes perfectly, helping me get them down on paper (well, okay, onto the computer) more or less exactly as I envisioned them.
ACID is a dark, gritty book with a lot of urban settings, so the soundtrack contains several electronica and dance tracks. There's some rock in there too, though, and even some indie. I've had it playing on repeat as I've worked through each draft, then my edits and now my copyedits, and I still haven't got tired of it. Here it is (click on links to view on YouTube):
And my WIP, although it's only a half-written first draft, already has a soundtrack too. I'll leave you with the theme tune, the mindblowing Many of Horror by Biffy Clyro…
What about you? Do you make soundtracks for your WIPs? What's on them?
Pass grew up at an environmental studies centre near London, went to
art school in Cornwall and now lives in the north-east Midlands with her
artist husband, where she has a day job at her local library. She's
also minion to The Hound, a retired racing greyhound with whom she
appears to have signed a contract in her own blood agreeing to attend to
his every need – even if those needs include getting up at 3am to
remake his bed because he's scratched it up so much he can't get back in
is represented by Carolyn Whitaker at London Independent Books and her
YA dystopian thriller ACID is out from Random House Children's Books in
early 2013. You can find her blog here, and catch her procrastinating on Twitter here.