The Songs that Influenced While You Were Gone
By Amy K. Nichols
Music plays a huge role in my writing. With two kids at home, my house is pretty loud; so over the years I got used to wearing headphones and listening to music while writing. Now I listen to it, even when the kids are at school. I found that music can do more than just drown out noise. It can influence story.
My typical process is to choose a song that fits the tone of the scene or chapter I’m working on. Then I listen to that song on repeat while I write. Depending on the length and difficulty of the chapter, this means I can listen to a single song on repeat for…well…hours. Crazy, right? But the cool thing is, after a few times through—usually the length of time it takes me to get comfy in my chair, open the document, read what came before, and get my head into writing mode—the song has sort of faded into the background and has become a kind of white noise. I no longer really hear the words, if it has lyrics, but the mood of the song still informs the mood of what I’m writing. So, if I’m writing an action sequence, I usually pick something with a quicker tempo and lots of intense guitar. If it’s a solemn scene, I choose something quieter, maybe acoustic or instrumental. As long as it fits the tone.
I’m always on the look out for new songs, too. I spend a lot of time in my car (ferrying the kids about) and I play music constantly. I also do a lot of thinking about my characters and their stories while I’m driving. When a song comes on the radio that clicks with a character or what’s going on in a particular scene, I pull out my phone and Shazam the song so I can refer to it later.
The one drawback I’ve found to this process is that it programs my writing brain to respond to certain songs. I’ll be standing in line at the grocery store and one of my writing songs will play, and all of a sudden my brain is full of the images and feelings of the scene or character I’ve associated with that song. If you ever see me standing in the check out line with a far-away look on my face, you’ll know why.
I created a playlist of some of the songs I listened to while writing my first book, Now That You’re Here. So, I decided to do the same with the follow-up book, While You Were Gone. The types of songs are all over the map, everything from Tool to Frou Frou. Each one helped me lock into the mood of a particular scene or character. They’re presented in no particular order. Maybe when you read While You Were Gone, you’ll be able to match up which songs belong where in the stories timelines.
Here’s the playlist. Happy listening, and reading!
[If you want to embed the actual playlist, paste this link into the html code of the blog post: https://open.spotify.com/user/12165619886/playlist/5CCccZlA0KT7IFQO1gZxXI]
About While You Were Gone:
Eevee is a promising young artist and the governor’s daughter in a city where censorship is everywhere and security is everything. When a fire devastates her exhibition—years in the making—her dreams of attending an elite art institute are dashed. She’s struggling to find inspiration when she meets Danny, a boy from a different world. Literally.
Raised in a foster home, Danny has led a life full of hurt and hardship until a glitch in the universe changes everything. Suddenly Danny is living in a home he’s never seen, with parents who miraculously survived the car crash that should have killed them. It’s like he’s a new Danny. But this alternate self has secrets—ties to an underground anarchist group that have already landed him in hot water. When he starts to develop feelings for Eevee, he’s even more disturbed to learn that he might have started the fire that ruined her work.
As Danny sifts through clues from his past and Eevee attempts to piece together her future, they uncover a secret that’s bigger than both of them. . . . And together, they must correct the breach between the worlds before it’s too late.
While You Were Gone is the second book in the Duplexity series, and the sequel to Now That You’re Here.