Monday, 2 January 2012

3 Days Without a Book! Countdown to Publication #13: 15 Days Without a Head Original Soundtrack

15 Days Without a Head will be in bookshops in 3 days time. By way of celebration, I will be publishing a new post here every day, leading up to publication on Thursday. The idea is to provide a few bonus items, such as you'd expect to find on the extras disc of a DVD – except these will be available before the main feature of course.

The start of my musical adventure – check out the carpet!

Music has always played a big part in my life. I was lucky enough to spend nearly ten years touring and recording with a band, and was nearly famous! My leather trousers have long since been retired, though I still pick up a guitar most days and keep a stack of vinyl records in the attic for those moments when I need a blast. I envy writers who can actually write with music on. I’ve read that Stephen King listens to rock while he works, but there are others who need absolute silence – William Hussey, for instance, often writes with earplugs in.

I think I’m somewhere in between. I certainly can’t write while listening to music with words, and usually work in silence, but during the final stages of 15 Days Without a Head, I created an eight hour playlist of instrumental music which helped me through the long, and often late, hours I spent revising the manuscript. (Big thanks to RF who introduced me to much of the music on the list.)

I’ll often compile a soundtrack for the book I’m working on, it provides a reference for the mood I’m trying to create. Playlists for characters can be useful too, as it helps to get inside their heads. (A couple of the stops on my Blog Tour will be dealing with this in more detail, including Mina’s playlist for Laurence)

The one below is a small selection of the music I was actually listening to while working on the book. The Original Soundtrack album, if you like … 

1. Biosphere – People Are Friends

(I think the video for this is brilliant. It captures the cold concrete essence of The Heights and Laurence's belligerent determination to survive. Great track too!)

3. Gonzales – Overnight 

4. Max Richter – Autumn Music 1 
(I dubbed this one Laurence’s theme)

5. Max Richter – Sunlight 
(And this one for Mina) 

(There had to be one from Elliott and some of the words from this seemed apt.)

7. Stars of the Lid – Down 3

("There's a saying round here that goes: How do you know when you reached rock bottom? Answer: You wake up in The Heights")

9. The Cinematic Orchestra – Prelude

10. Tord Gustavsen Trio – At Home

Tomorrow: is the first stop on my 15 Days Without a Head Blog Tour when I’ll be visiting Writing From The Tub to talk about Getting inside Laurence’s Head.


  1. Really interesting post, I love hearing about how other people's music preferences for writing vary. I tend to vary between music with and without lyrics depending on what I'm doing, I shall definitely be giving some of these tracks a go.

  2. Ah lovely post ... as a writer who CAN"T write with music in the background, I salute you. Also, just writing in to let you know I'm expecting Amazon to deliver my order of your book very soon!