Guest Post: Emmy Laybourne Playlist & Monument 14 Trilogy Giveaway
It’s a joy to be here on All The Write Notes. I met Jay Spencer, the founder of the site, after I came to Toronto on the Fierce Reads tour last summer. He and I have stayed in touch, plotting ways for me to come and hang out with him on this here site. I’m so delighted to be here today and, I tell you, we’ve got exciting things planned for next year!
Music has a big place in my creative process. I tend to write in what my friend playwright/lyricist David Spencer calls, a “White hot rush.” That means I try to immerse myself in the mood and feeling of the chapter I am about to work on and then I write intensely and without interruption. I use comprehensive playlists for each book, choosing certain songs to key me in to the rhythm and tone of the scene I am about to create.
Here is a Playlist retrospective of some of my favorite songs I’ve used during the past four years to create the Monument 14 trilogy.
“Everything In Its Right Place” – Radiohead
Just listen to the first four notes of this song. Oh my god – doesn’t it make you want to write something scary? Something tense and violent?
It does for me. Radiohead is the undercurrent soundtrack for the whole series – you’ll see them here on my playlist in different forms and incarnations. Their music has an edge of violence to it that’s drove me down the page.
“We Used To Wait” and “The Suburbs” – Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire was my number two band on my rotation. It was hard to pick just one song off The Suburbs so I picked two. The lyrics on this album paint such an eerie and poetic post-apocalyptic portrait of a Suburban town. I chose “We Used To Wait” because of those drums. I just love that off-beat kick in there. It makes me feel restless and hungry. And “The Suburbs” – there’s such melancholy in this track. It’s full of longing and regret and maybe some hope for recovery. Just how I could imagine Dean feeling if he could look out over the broken landscape of Monument, Colorado.
“Only Love” – Ben Howard
What a beautiful song! I used this one for fuel when writing the romantic scenes in Savage Drift. The melody feels to me like a whisper between two people in love. Don’t Niko and Josie deserve to have this song play between them, after all they go through? I think so.
When I heard this song I was driving on the 101 in LA, going to the meeting where I would meet the future producer and director of the Monument 14 movie* (Jeff Fierson and Brad Peyton). I had to pull over and write the name of the song down, I loved it so much. The drums and piano push the tempo into this anxious but satisfying race. This song is the itch and the scratch at the same time.
Get ready to spook yourself out in a major way. I would play this song when writing a suspenseful, quiet scene. This album of spooky, ambient jazz is great to write to. The only caveat – if anyone knocks on your door while you’re was writing to this, you’ll jump a mile high.
This song has a bitchin’ little melody, first of all, and I love the lyrics. There’s a sweetness to it that reminds me of Dean – though this would be a song Dean might sing for Astrid many, many years into their relationship.
“Fireworks” – Yoya
With all the tracks I use that are filled with danger and strife, I also need some beautiful, uplifting songs to buoy me up again. This song is so sweetly playful and has such a youthful, innocent vibe. Close harmonies like this are so pleasing to the ear. I love this album by Yoya – and a funny thing happened. I was asked about playlists back when writing Sky On Fire and I mentioned Yoya. A fan of theirs saw my mention and posted it on their Facebook page. I then wrote to them on Facebook and they sent me a free CD! Ah, the power of the interwebs!
I said that Radiohead is the band that fueled the Monument 14 series – but sometimes the lyrics get in the way when I’m working. Christopher O’Riley’s sensitive and sophisticated interpretations of Radiohead songs were the perfect songs to write to. I chose this one song as an example, but listened to all his CDs in rotation (thank you, Spotify). There’s heartbreak in this track.
“Teardrop” – Jose Gonzalez
This song sets a melancholy, introspective tone that I found helpful when writing scenes where Dean was taking stock of the ruined world around him. Also, I just plain like it.
“Black Swan” – Thom Yorke
Yeah, okay, so I have a thing for Radiohead and all its members. When I listen to this song I get this hit of self-loathing that I found really helpful when writing Dean. I know that sounds sick, but this song plays, to me, like an internal monologue. The singer is talking to himself in his head. And I think the harshness of the voice is how most of us talk to ourselves – this is mean self-talk. It helped me to remain grounded in how Dean feels inside, despite how nice he tries to be to everyone else. Thank you, Thom Yorke, I love you, though you scare me a little.
It’s not too late to get free bonus content with your pre-order for SAVAGE DRIFT! Go to www.emmylaybourne.com for more details. Hurry!
*For updated details on the development of the Monument 14 movie, go to Macteenbooks.com on Tuesday, May 6th!
A BIG THANK YOU TO EMMY FOR STOPPING BY A.T.W.N. AND SHARING HER PLAYLIST FOR THE MONUMENT 14 TRILOGY,
BUT NOW IT’S TIME FOR THE GIVEAWAY. UP FOR GRABS IS THE ENTIRE MONUMENT 14 TRILOGY! (NORTH AMERICAN ONLY. SORRY.) JUST CLICK ON THE LOGO TO THE LEFT, OR HERE, AND YOU’LL BE DIRECTED TO OUR RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY. IF YOU AREN’T THE LUCKY ONE TO WIN, MONUMENT 14: SAVAGE DRIFT HITS STORE SHELVES MAY 6TH, 2014 WITH FEIWEL & FRIENDS, AND CAN BE PRE-ORDERED THROUGH AMAZON, B&N, AND INDIE BOUND. IF YOU WANT TO CHAT WITH EMMY ABOUT THE MONUMENT 14 SERIES, YOU CAN VISIT HER ON HER WEBSITE, TWITTER, OR ON FACEBOOK .