Are you a pop music fan? I love it, and listen to it as I write. I slip into my writing chair, put on my earphones, and crank up the volume—the louder the better.
I’m not a music critic. To be honest, there’s a strong likelihood I’m tone deaf. It’s difficult to explain why music facilitates my writing, but I think the beat translates to story pacing. Fast-paced songs remind me to incorporate action, while slower, more emotional songs remind me to reveal what my characters are feeling. As I listen, words become scenes, scenes become chapters, and a story is born.
This is a list of some of the songs I listened to as I wrote Jigsaw, with a bit of an explanation of why each song is on the list. Sometimes the themes in the songs dovetailed with the emotional themes that are part of Jigsaw; with other songs, I simply liked them and enjoyed hearing them as I wrote.
1) The One – by Kodaline
I first heard this song as I wrote the initial draft of Jigsaw. The lyrics hit the bullseye for how Zeus feels about Samantha. She was The One, from the moment Zeus met her. She will always be The One-even as she refuses to become anything to him.
2) Never Stop (Wedding Version) – by Safetysuit
This song captures what Zeus feels for Samantha. The lyrics are simple, pretty, and stunning.
3) If I Lose Myself – by One Republic
I love the fast beat of this song, particularly at 5 a.m. when I’m sipping my first cup of coffee and settling into my study for a writing session. If you’ve read Jigsaw, you know that Samantha was frightened of losing herself by falling for Zeus, so the song resonated more as I wrote scenes in her point of view.
4) Crazy Lucky – by Better Than Ezra
This is an upbeat, feel-good song about finding The One, by one my favorite bands – NOLA’s own Better Than Ezra. I still listen to it repeatedly and love it each time I hear it. Songs like this provide a good contrast to some of the heavier-themed songs I gravitate towards.
5) One Call Away – by Charlie Puth
Superman-themed songs are usually a hit for me, and this one is perfect. If you read Deceived, Shadows, and Jigsaw-you’ll probably agree that my male characters, and a few of my female characters, can identify with this song’s theme of personal belief in one’s ability to solve any problem. Plus, Charlie Puth is just so adorable. ☺. Here’s a twist, if you want to play along. As you listen to One Call Away, imagine how Zeus—who believes in the infallibility of his own power and strength—feels throughout this story.
6) Start of Something Good – by Daughtry
For me, just about anything by Daughtry is perfect. Do you agree? I’ve been a fan since I first saw Chris Daughtry on American Idol a hundred years ago. Daughtry’s voice carries just the right of masculinity, with rip-your-heart-out emotion mixed into it. His voice is perfect to listen to as I write (and, hopefully, you read) my novels.
7) Demons – by Imagine Dragons
This song is a carryover from Shadows, A Black Raven Novel, which precedes Jigsaw. When I wrote Shadows, the grit and near desperation in this song captured Sebastian’s thoughts and emotions. I still enjoy the song, even now, as I’m working on the first draft of my next Black Raven novel, Concierge. Demons has become a standard on my playlists, as it captures the darkness of the real-world problems that Black Raven agents must conquer.
8) Keep Your Eyes Open – by Need to Breathe
In Jigsaw, Zeus ultimately has to persuade Samantha that she’ll be stronger with him than without him. Keep Your Eyes Open oozes with cascading emotion, similar to the crashing fear Samantha experiences regarding her feelings for Zeus.
9) Wanted – by Hunter Hayes
Listen to this beautiful song as you read Jigsaw and you won’t need any explanation of why it is on my Jigsaw playlist. Hunter Hayes sings the classic love song lyrics with the perfect amount of emotion.
10) Piece by Piece – by Kelly Clarkson
What a powerful song! Though the lyrics relate to a father who walks out on his daughter, the theme of abandonment translates to how Samantha felt when Zeus walked out on her seven years before Jigsaw begins. Zeus has to rebuild Samantha’s trust, and he knows that he is facing a daunting task.