I tend to play music when I’m writing, and it’s always going to be something that reinforces the mood of what I’m looking for.
Sometimes a particular song will sum up what I’m trying to convey with my own words. For Glowstar, that song was probably “Christmas” by Lori Carson. It’s a bittersweet song of love that maybe was found, but with a sense of fragility about it. From its opening line – Hope you’re not disappointed in the way things turned out – through the ending – Love was hard to find, but we have – it’s a gorgeously vulnerable song with a simple guitar backing most of it. There’s at least one version on YouTube as of this writing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_IQvsDKMrI
For Firefly Kiss the song I really found that captured the mood was Belly / Tanya Donelly’s “Sweet Ride.” The original single and album version is really the best, with a pedal-steel interlude between verses that brings out all of the melancholy longing from the song. There’s an acoustic version Tanya Donelly performed that’s currently on YouTube that comes close: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuM6ByWEHkw
A few more that I listened to while writing Glowstar:
* Winter Time – by Steve Miller Band
* Heaven – by Chris Rea
* Midnight Blue – by Electric Light Orchestra
* Fade – by Lori Carson (from “Everything I Touch Runs Wild”)
And most of the rest of Lori Carson’s “Where It Goes” album – especially:
* Through The Cracks
* Twisting My Words
While I was writing Isabel from Becomings (Winter Fade Stories) I listened to a lot of Joplin, and particularly “Bethena Waltz.” I chose to feature that particular song in the story itself as I wanted to mention a Joplin song, but most of his work was too upbeat and I was searching for something that evoked more of an introspective mood. Although Isabel takes place during the Roaring Twenties, I wanted an anchor song that would be close to the turn of the century for Jeremy to relate back to. “Bethena” came out in 1905, which was perfect, and also realized the mood I was looking for. I didn’t realize until later that the song was also featured in the movie “Benjamin Button.” But a good choice, and the “Benjamin Button” version probably captures the original intent, by being just a little slower and more reflective in its notes, than the faster version on my Joplin compilation.