Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Soundtrack to Your Life (or at least my book)

I don’t do silence. I can’t. I grew up surrounded by chaos instrumented by three demons by the names of Ryan, Liam, and Trevor, my three younger brothers. These were not, and still aren’t, studious, well behaved darlings who liked nothing better than to sit down with a good book or play with her dolls like their angel big sister. No, these boys had enough energy and testosterone to supply an entire Starbucks and bodybuilding gym with some still left over to attempt to “kill” or “wrestle” their sister and each other. Screams, whining, and loud bangs on the television were staples of my youth. So when I moved out on my own, I soon discovered I needed the noise. There is always a television or radio on, even as I fall asleep. This is true when I’m writing as well. I can write pretty much anywhere (if you have a strong desire to stalk me, see the acknowledgments page of my book Mind Over Monsters to see where I write), but the one thing that helps get my creative juices flowing the most is music. The right song can make or break my scene, even inspiring me on some occasions.

As I was writing Monsters, I found that certain songs really helped pump up the visuals and mood. They helped me get to a place where I needed to get inside my head to convey what was going on in my imagination and translate that to the page. Music just adds so much more to the experience. So I started compiling playlists for the books. Like the book, the soundtrack has a narrative flow in line with the book. You don’t have to like all the songs, I have eclectic taste, but at the very least if you sample them, you’ll get a feel for the book. So here it is:


1. Magic to Do- Ben Vereen from the musical Pippin

2. Edge of the Ocean- Ivy

3. Cold- Annie Lennox

4. If It Wasn’t For Bad-Elton John & Leon Russell

5. Shadows of the Night-Pat Benatar

6. Four Minutes – Madonna fet. Justin Timberlake

7. Tainted Love – Soft Cell

8. Say It Right – Nelly Furtado

9. Fields of Gold – Sting

10. Ordinary World – Duran Duran

11. Savin’ Me – Nickelback

12. Precious – Depeche Mode

13. Home – Depeche Mode

Please download legally. All songs are available on iTunes.

And since this is the post before my book officially comes out I have to do some shameless self promotion. Through the wonderful company Bewitching Book Tours I have a blog tour. For a complete list of stops, blog radio interview times, and possibly even a TV appearance please visit The Harlow Gazette at my website Also I got some great reviews from Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly, and The Library Journal. It's nice to know someone besides my Mom thinks I'm cool. 'Til next time!

Jennifer Harlow


Alan Orloff said...

I admire your ability to write while listening to music. If I tried that, I'd be afraid I'd end up with too many tra-la-las in my manuscript. Best of luck with MIND OVER MONSTERS!

Darrell James said...

Jennifer- music does inspire my writing, but not while I'm writing. I need quiet. Great selection of songs, by the way. Good luck with Monsters.

Lois Winston said...

Jennifer, I'm just the opposite. I grew up in total chaos, too. I was the oldest of 4. Until I was nearly 12 we had 6 people living in a tiny 2 bedroom apt. in the city. When we moved to the suburbs, it didn't get much better. We did have a third bedroom, though, so my parents moved from the studio couch in the living room into their own room. Anyway, I crave peace and quiet as a result of never having any growing up. When I write, I want total silence except for the click of my keyboard.

Best of luck with MIND OVER MONSTERS! May you have many sales.

Keith Raffel said...

Takes all kinds, Jennifer. I don't mind background noise, but not pounding music please. I write in a cafe with noise-canceling headphones on.

Deborah Sharp said...

Oooh, I'm so jealous. Like your mom, I also think you're cool, as I am in awe of those who can write to music. I require every one of the limited number of brain cells I have just to form sentences.

Beth Groundwater said...

What a great concept for book promotion--to come up with a suggested playlist while reading the book!

I'm one of those who can't write to music, because I have to be able to hear my characters talking in my head. However, since so much of my stories takes place in the great outdoors, I think I could write while listening to the sounds of nature. My problem with being outdoors, though, is that I'd rather hike, raft, ski, bike, etc. than write when I'm outside. :) So, I have to lock myself up in my writing office when it's time to crank out those words.

Kathleen Ernst said...

Congrats on the new book! And thanks for sharing your playlist. Haven't thought of "Magic to Do" in years.

I often listen to historical or ethnic music as I write, depending on the time/topic my history-oriented books feature.

Sebastian Stuart said...

love your playlist! rock on.