Soundtracks & Stories

I’m one of those people who loves music  as much as or more than writing (*gasp!* Did I just say that?), so most of the time when I write, like really write, sitting at the computer late at night transcribing chicken scratch and making more stuff up to fill in the cracks, I have headphones on tuned in to a varied mix of melodies on

My stations range from classic rock, to progressive, alternative, grunge, pop, hip-hop (hey there’s a place and time) and others. It really depends on what I’m writing. However, music doesn’t always play a role. For instance, my children’s book wasn’t written to music. I tried a few times and found that the character kind of changed, became more updated current cowboy, if you will, instead of ‘old west’ as is his time period. I thought about listening to older country music, but, alas, I just couldn’t do it. That’s one style of music I don’t think I’ll require any time soon and, yes, that’s on purpose.

When I write I think about the characters listening to music and usually end up writing songs into the stories. I think this gives another dimension to the characters particularly if they comment/react to the song (not to me, of course). I also think music can add the time/space dimension meaning, I think you can pigeonhole the century/decade/year in which a story takes place just by using music from that era continuously throughout your story or scene. We’ve seen it done in movies so we know it works, but sometimes in books it may get lost if other details don’t fit the era like style of dress, slang or popular fashion items. To me, I like using music in my stories with my characters because I think it makes them more real, maybe because music makes me feel more real, alive.

Anyway, for my debut YA release, Highway 90, I listened to A LOT of music. I jumped between music styles, based on the various scenes my characters were in, which included a night club, but made sure they were all released during a certain musical era (see if you can figure it out). Incorporating different styles allowed me to show the versatility of my characters as well as their depth to some degree. Perhaps their brooding darker side as well.

Below are songs actually mentioned in the book and some that aren’t, but they moved the story forward for me, so I’ve included them as well. Some of the songs may seem — hardcore — and you may not like them or may wonder, “how could this song affect the story?” Rest assured, I thought the same, but sometimes it wasn’t the beat, but the lyrics or vice versa, that moved me and the story. Sounds strange, but sometimes a song gave me the push to go further with my characters and storyline to places I didn’t think I would go or could go. Believe it or not, sometimes it was the singers voice. 😉

So now on with the show! Artist and title in bold above the track. Click the arrow on the left to play (for you newbies ;)). They’re in order of appearance (or would be appearance if I would have mentioned them in the story) that’s why you don’t see all R.E.M. songs grouped together because the story faded on their song ‘Belong.’ Hope that makes sense.

Highway 90 Soundtrack

Soundgarden, Jesus Christ Pose

R.E.M., Radio Song

R.E.M., Losing My Religion

R.E.M., Near Wild Heaven

R.E.M., Me In Honey

Dance Club Songs

2 in a Room, Wiggle It

Bele Biv Devoe, Do Me

Jane Child, Don’t Wanna Fall In Love

Depeche Mode, Personal Jesus

Warrant, Cherry Pie


Megadeth, Tornado of Souls

Chris Cornell, Seasons

Pearl Jam, Alive

Alice In Chains, Would

R.E.M., Belong