Archive | Author Playlist

Books And Music: the Playlist for Someone Else’s Love Story

Today’s post by this month’s featured author, Joshilyn Jackson | @JoshilynJackson

If SOMEONE ELSE’S LOVE STORY had a theme song it would be the live version of Rise (Eddie Vedder). My husband made me listen to Rise right after he read the rough draft. I was all, “Aw yay, baby, you GET me! ” I listened to it all through revisions. Before my husband pegged it, I had the theme song set in my head as I SAW A BIRD FLY AWAY by Dar Williams.

But most of the songs on my playlist are associated with a single character. I am so in love with William he got about 900 theme songs, one for every moment of his life. I have limited myself to sharing three.

William: Fisherman’s Blues (The Waterboys) I listened to this song a mentally ill amount when I was first trying to write William. I had it on repeat on my iPod and took a two hour walk around a golf course having imaginary William/Bridget conversations. After that, I wrote the first William scene that I didn’t immediately throw away.

Gone Gone Gone (Phillip Phillips) I love the VIDEO for this song, too. Perfect.

Night Vision Binoculars (Passenger) This is for teenage William, watching Bridget tear up a local park. It makes me crazy that I can’t buy this song for my MP3 player/iPod in this country. Why???

Shandi — Ocean Size Love (Leigh Nash)

Walcott — Ho Hey (The Lumineers)

Paula — The Calculation (Regina Spektor)

Bridget — Days (Kristy Maccoll)

Natty—Mammals (They Might Be Giants)

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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.

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The Wishing Tree Soundtrack

Today’s post by our very own Marybeth Whalen | @MarybethWhalen

Marybeth Whalen

I always listen to music when I write. I have a Pandora station that inspires  a reaction  like Pavlov’s dog– I hear that music and my mind thinks, “Write!”

With my new book, The Wishing Tree, I had a soundtrack that went with the book, a collection of songs that meant something to the characters; songs that encapsulated the range of emotions they experienced as the events of the book played out. I thought today I would share some of those songs with you, to give you a better idea of what the book is about. And maybe inspire you to check out the book that inspired the soundtrack. Or was it the other way around?

Back To December by Taylor Swift:

This was Ivy and Michael’s song. If you listen to it (and read the book), I think you’ll agree.

Everything You Want by Vertical Horizon:

Ok, so this is one of my running songs. But during the time that I was writing the  book I would run and think about how this song best describes Ivy and Elliott’s relationship. Michael said all of the right things at exactly the right time. And yet, he meant nothing to her, but she didn’t know why.


If He Should Break Your Heart by Journey:

A perfect encapsulation of what Michael felt for Ivy back when they broke up. If you don’t know it, listen to it. I suspect I will always think of Michael’s broken heart whenever I hear this song from now on.


Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye:

This is the song I thought of as I wrote the parts where Michael was over Ivy. He was confident and in charge, and I was happy for him. Ivy is now just somebody that he used to know.

The Man Who Can’t Be Moved by The Script:

My husband is a huge Script fan, which means I’ve listened to them a lot. This is one of their songs that I actually have on my own iPod. To me this song describes Elliott. Even though he’s not physically sitting on a corner, he stakes out his own little corner of the internet via Twitter and begins broadcasting his apology to his wife when she won’t listen, hoping that he’ll wear her down. He’s not moving.


Leaving Me Now by Level 42:

One morning while I was writing this book I woke up and thought of this song– an old song from my teen years that I hadn’t thought of in a very long time. I found it and played it and was surprised by how fitting it was for the scene when Ivy leaves after learning of Elliott’s betrayal. The despondency communicated by this song to me fits how Elliott feels as he watches her go. Does she come back? Should she? Or does she decide to go back to Michael?



Well, now, I guess you’ll just have to read the book…

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Books And Music: The Playlist for AND THEN I FOUND YOU

Today’s post by this month’s featured author, Patti Callahan Henry | @pcalhenry

Sometimes an author share the music they listened to while writing the book. But Patti chose to share the songs that are actually in AND THEN I FOUND YOU. Have a few spare minutes this morning? We’d encourage you to listen to what she calls a “wildly eclectic” playlist. Nothing will help you discover the mood of this novel like the music found within.

You can hear all the songs right here on Spotify. Or you can search for them one by one. Here’s the list:

“I’ll Be Seeing You ” (Fain and Kahal) by

“Paradise by the Dashboard Light ” (Meatloaf)

“Brown Eyed Girl ” (Van Morrison)

“L’Amour”  Carla Bruni

“Danny Boy ” (Irish Traditional by Celtic Thunder)

“Cotton Eyed Joe” (Starsound Orchestra)

“He’s Mine ” (Rodney Atkins)

“I’ll Be Home for Christmas ” (Michael Buble’)

“Let It Snow ” (Diana Krall)

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The Theme Song For Man In The Blue Moon

Today’s guest is Michael Morris, author of this month’s book club pick, MAN IN THE BLUE MOON | @MichaelMorrisBK

When my first novel, A Place Called Wiregrass, came out one of the first questions I was asked on a radio interview was if I had to pick a theme song for my book what would it be? I was dumbfounded. I had never thought of that before and I think I babbled on about a Loretta Lynn song. But since then, I’ve thought about that question a great deal and still consider it one of the most creative questions I’ve ever gotten about my work. Because of that question, I now always think about a theme song for my novels.

Since “The Orange Blossom Special ” is a song I always tie to Florida because the state is mentioned in the lyrics, I think it would be the perfect theme song for Man in the Blue Moon. There is hurriedness to the tempo that makes me think of Ella fighting against time to pay off the bank note and save the land that has been in her family for generations.

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Books And Music: The Playlist For Blackberry Winter

At She Reads we’re endlessly fascinated by the process of storytelling. And for many authors, part of  that process includes a playlist that they write to–a musical collage of sorts. In many cases once you know the playlist you can recognize those emotional undertones running through the story.

We asked this month’s featured author, Sarah Jio, to share her playlist for Blackberry Winter. I’m not sure about you but we can “hear” the story in these songs.

Playlist for Blackberry Winter:

-“Blackberry Winter” by Hilary Kole

-“Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own” by U2

-“Wintersong” by Sarah McLachlan

-“You & Me” by Dave Matthews Band

-“You Don’t Know Me” by Ray Charles

-“Love Theme From Sparticus” by Jean-Yves Thibaudet

-“A Little More of You” by Ashley Chambliss

-“I Think It’s Going to Rain Today” by Norah Jones

-“Heartbreak Warfare” by John Mayer

-“From Embrace to Embrace” by Joy Wants Eternity

-“Blackbird” by Sarah McLachlan

-“And So It Goes” by Karrin Allyson

Did any songs come to mind when you read Blackberry Winter?

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Books and Music — The Meryl Streep Movie Club Playlist

Ever wonder what authors listen to while they write? Now’s your chance to find out! This month’s featured author, Mia March, shares her much-loved playlist:

Mia March

I could not write a word of THE MERYL STREEP MOVIE CLUB unless either one of two particular albums were playing. So I put them on repeat, and these beautiful songs, these beautiful, unique voices, would bring me right back into the story, into the characters’ worlds and issues:

21 by Adele: If you’re not familiar with Adele, you’ve definitely heard Rolling in the Deep, which I’ll never get tired of, and Someone Like You. Rumor Has It and maybe Set Fire To The Rain. Adele’s gorgeous, powerful, soulful, real voice, singing these terrific songs about love, heartbreak, and personal power. Right now my favorite songs are Turning Tables and One and Only, but every song, EVERY song, is amazing. A little tidbit that makes me laugh every time I think about: at my son’s day camp this summer, there was a little boy named Rueben, and every time the counselors blasted the song Rumor Has It, little Rueben, all of five, would sing the chorus as: “Ooh, Rueben has it . . . Ooh, Rueben has it ” and everyone joined in.

White Ladder by David Gray: When I was in grad school in New York City in 2000/2001, I went to the same coffee shop every day, where the staff was in love with this album and played it over and over. I always sat at the huge 8 person table near the electrical outlets where the laptoppers—writers, students, photographers, freelancers—worked with their coffees and treats. Very often a guy would sit down at the table with his laptop and we got to talking, then dating, then marrying . . . then divorcing. Such is the greatness, the spirit, the emotional power, of this album that I still can listen to it, be moved by it, write to it. Love, loss, hope. Each song is more beautiful than the next. You’ve likely heard Babylon, which used to be on the radio all the time: If you want it, come and get it, for crying out loud. The song Silver Lining gives me goosebumps:

Take the silver lining
Keep it in your own sweet hand
Then shine it when the light is burning red
Shine it in the twilight
Shine it on the cold cold ground
Shine it till these walls come tumbling down  

Also, there’s one song that I listened to over and over during the timeframe I wrote The Meryl Streep Movie Club, except I listened to it while NOT writing—meaning, I’d play it in my car or during my three mile thinking walk or while doing the dishes, those times when a writer is doing her “magic writing ” in her head: Coming Around Again by Carly Simon, from the movie Heartburn, one of my favorites. This is the book’s theme song. I know nothing stays the same, but if you’re willing to play the game, it’s coming around again . . .

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The Guest Book Soundtrack

Today’s post by our very own Marybeth Whalen | @MarybethWhalen

Marybeth Whalen

One of the things I most love to read about when I read about authors’ work is the music that inspired or sustained them as they wrote. So far in my writing, each of my books has gained a theme song along the way—a song that I listened to often to help me get into the spirit of the story. In fact, that’s one of my benchmark moments in my writing process: when I realize I have a theme song for the novel.

For anyone who knows me, you already know of my sincere and devoted love of 80’s music. So when I’m writing I’m usually listening to at least some 80’s music. And my 80’s taste tends towards the lesser-known songs. None of that overplayed pop music for me. I like the songs no one remembers.

One band that I listened to all through the 80’s was Icehouse, an Australian band I discovered as a teenager in a music store in 1985. In 1988 Icehouse had their biggest commercial US success with a song called Electric Blue, a single from the album Man Of Colours. It was the title track from that album that became the theme song of The Guest Book. A few lines from the lyrics served as the epigraph for the book:

He says I keep my life in this paintbox
I keep your face in this picture frame
When I speak to this faded canvas, it tells me
We have no need for words anyway.

So here is the video of Man Of Colours, a song that tells a story itself. A bit of trivia before you watch it: The old man in the video is the lead singer of Icehouse, Iva Davies’, father, a fact that makes me like the song—and Icehouse—all the more.


Marybeth’s latest novel, THE GUEST BOOK, is this month’s featured book club selection and as a way to celebrate we’re giving away a number of prizes including a trip for two to Sunset Beach, North Carolina, handcrafted sea glass jewelry, and organic soap from Southern Soap Factory. Read this post for entry details.

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Searching for the Sacred in a Song

Today’s post by this month’s featured author, Kimberly Brock | @KimberlyDBrock

Kimberly Brock

Music has always been an art that reaches my emotions before anything else, and on a deeper level than most forms of expression. I love instruments, I love choirs, I love blues, I love soul, I love old time Appalachian bands and gospel. I love orchestral pieces and accordions and harmonicas and French horns and tympani drums. I love jigs and reels and fugues and hymns and carols and Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash and Broadway tunes and soundtracks and Carol King.

And I love lyrics. I love a songwriter who can string together inspired poetry that I can sing to the tops of my lungs. There is no purer manifestation of the yearnings of the human heart. At least, not mine.

When I write, I always find inspiration in music and my playlist becomes a kind of personal soundtrack that follows me around through my days. Ironically, I can’t actually write while I listen. But almost any other time, my ipod is working hard to help my brain form the story it wants to tell. In particular, with The River Witch I relied on music to transport me to the setting. I did listen to some Sacred Harp music occasionally, but found it difficult to appreciate for its own sake. I think the experience of actually participating in a singing is what most interested me.

What I did do was start to search for songs that were sacred to me, as the alligators’ songs were sacred to those on Manny’s Island. I went looking for music that moved me or challenged me, like Granny Byrne’s choir. Lyrics that spoke truth or drew a strong reaction, like the Trezevants. Driving rhythm that helped me imagine the Seminoles or the Saltwater Geechee people, like Nonnie. Lullabies that the mothers in this book and the world over, may have murmured to their children. Hymns that brought lonely individuals to a bountiful table of acceptance, the true power of the Sacred Harp. And soon, I had a list of songs that began to tell a story much like the one in the novel.

Of course, there were many more than the ones listed here. Songs of all kinds, because just as I believe our stories are all about our search for the divine in a temporal world, our music is an expression of the longings of the soul.

I wonder what songs are sacred to you?  I hope you’ll enjoy the music on my playlist and maybe share some of your own.

The River Witch Playlist

Oh Cumberland Matracea Berg and Emmylou Harris (The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band)

Salty South Indigo Girls (Acoustic Version)

Somewhere to Lay My Head Florida Folk Life Collection

Flood Waters Anna Kline and the Grits and Soul Band

She’s Not Innocent Antigone Rising

All Roads to the River Kathy Mattea

Wayfaring Stranger Emmylou Harris

I Find Jesus The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Fleet of Hope Indigo Girls (Acoustic Version)

Amazing Grace Florida Alabama Progressive Seven Shape Note Singers

Forever Young Bob Dylan (Biograph version)

I’ll Fly Away Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch

Here I Am Mary Chapin Carpenter

Wellington’s Reel Florida Folk Life Collection

Just Breathe Pearl Jam

Jubilee Mary Chapin Carpenter

Wagon Wheel – Old Crow Medicine Show

Down in the Valley – The Head & the Heart

Question for you: what’s on your favorite playlist? When do you listen to it?

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