Writing to Music

1A version of this post previously appeared on Tina Klinesmith's website when she graciously hosted me for the release of The Governess Was Wicked.  Music is a big part of my writing process, but ironically it doesn’t come into play until I’m editing a book. For some reason I can’t write to music, but I love listening when I’m working through revisions. The music helps evoke a mood. It keeps me on track with the emotional direction of a book and makes it easier for me to jump back in after a long day of work and real life.

I wrote my Governess series at what felt like a breakneck pace. I would be writing one book in about three weeks, taking a week to edit it, and then using the remaining week to do a polish pass before sending it off to my editor. All the while, I was usually also tackling developmental edits for the previous book. Because all the books were going at once, I ended up lumping all of the playlists I’d started for each book together and created this one big list.

Here’s the playlist I listened to to hundreds of times while working on The Governess Was Wicked, The Governess Was Wanton, and The Governess Was Wild along with a short description of my top five favorites under the embed:

  1. “Superpower” — Beyonce

Hands down, this was my go to song, especially when I decided to completely rewrite the last half of The Governess Was Wanton. “Superpower” is slow, dreamy, and sexy. It never quite crescendos, and it’s perfect to put on loop while wearing noise cancelling headphones (not that I would know). Every time I hear it now I’m immediately transported back to the world of the Governess series.

  1. “Work Song” — Hozier

Here’s another moody, sexy song. It’s a quiet, reverential love letter and felt absolutely perfect for my story about a slow burn, years-long love in The Governess Was Wicked. Even more of a bonus, it’s by Hozier. I fell in love with his album back in 2014 and think he makes some pretty perfect writing music.

  1. “Hello” — Adele

Every book needs a dark moment, and this felt like a great accompaniment part of all three of my books. Adele manages to pull out such deep, fraught emotion in her songs that it’s hard not to get wrapped up them. I put this one in particular on my playlist because it’s about grieving the death of a relationship. While some of her other songs are also powerful — especially “Someone Like You” — this one fit the books better.

  1. “Love Me Like You Do” — Ellie Goulding

If I had to make a list of rules for romance novel playlists it would probably read something like this: every playlist must have a sexy song for the very sexy times, an angsty song for the dark moment, and a joyful song for the “realization of love and reconciliation” moment. This is my joyful song. There’s something about the buildup throughout the first verses that just sends it soaring about halfway through. It’s perfect for that big “he loves me” moment.

  1. “XO” — Beyonce

Another Beyonce song (one of three but who’s counting). This also falls solidly into the joyful zone. Like, “sing at the top of your lungs because this is your anthem of love” joyful. It also has a big, swooping crescendo, and the lyrics talk about her lover being as “bright as ever” and finding him “in the darkest night.” It’s the perfect way to end a book about love and romance.