I’m actually late to the party when it comes to playlists. I’ve been writing novels for nearly 20 years without them, figuring that because I like to write in silence there was no real place for music in my writing process. But while writing The Firebird, I discovered that certain songs actually set my characters in motion, creating music videos within my mind that formed the basis of some scenes and added resonance to others.
Here is the actual playlist I kept on my iPod.
For the modern day story between Rob and Nicola, these four songs seemed to give voice to their feelings:
“Separate Lives” by Phil Collins & Marilyn Martin
“What About Now” by Daughtrey
“(You Want To) Make a Memory” by Bon Jovi
“Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane
And this next song, whenever I played it and closed my eyes, showed me the whole arc of Anna’s relationship with Captain Jamieson:
“You’ll Be In My Heart” by Phil Collins (Anna & Captain Jamieson)
Edmund and Anna took up a good part of the playlist. The entire minuet scene in the Summer Garden was created while I listened to the Kenny Loggins song:
“Better Man” by Robbie Williams
“For the First Time” by Kenny Loggins
“When We Dance” by Sting
“Who Wants To Live Forever” by Queen
“No Way Out (Theme from ‘Brother Bear’)” by Phil Collins
And even though this song didn’t come out until the month after I’d finished the first draft of Firebird, the first time I heard it I downloaded it to my playlist to use for the months of rewrites and revisions, because it just seemed to so perfectly capture the way Anna felt—and the promise she made—in her final scene:
“Guardian” by Alanis Morissette
It’s a comfort to me that, even a year after finishing the book, just listening to these songs brings the characters fully to life in my mind again.