Books and Music: The Playlist for Susanna Kearsley’s FIREBIRD

Today’s post by this month’s featured author, Susanna Kearsley | @SusannaKearsley

The Firebird Cropped

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.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). She is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS and the forthcoming HINDENBURG (both published by Doubleday).

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41 Responses to Books and Music: The Playlist for Susanna Kearsley’s FIREBIRD

  1. Kimberly Brock July 17, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I took a minute and used Susanna’s post to create a Spotify playlist for THE FIREBIRD. If anyone’s interested, here’s the link:

  2. Susanna Kearsley July 17, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Thanks, Kimberly. <3 you!

  3. Kelly Duff July 17, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Music, for me, has always been part of my life and has created so many of the scenes in stories I have written. I love the idea of making a playlist of songs the reader should listen to – it’s like dramatic music in a movie. It sets the mood.

  4. Kathleen Basi July 19, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    This is so fun! I have to write in silence, too, but there are songs I adore for the same reason: they seem to encapsulate my characters. It’s so nice to know I’m not alone. I have Firebird waiting for me, next in line to read. Can’t wait!

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