Novel Playlists from Fantasy Novelists treats each fantasy novel like a feature film and encourages the author to put together their own dream soundtrack. So fire up the ol’ Spotify and give this playlist a gander as I lead you on an inaugural aural adventure through my debut novel The Woven Ring:
In exile since the civil war that tore the nation of Newfield apart, former spy and turncoat Marta Childress wants nothing more than to quietly live out her remaining days in the West. But then her manipulative brother arrives with one final mission: Transport the daughter of a hated inventor deep into the East. Forced to decide between safely delivering the girl and assassinating the inventor, Marta is torn between ensuring the fragile peace and sparking a second civil war.
Requim At Sundown – Ghoultown: I intentionally set a rule for myself at the onset that I would only use one song per band when making this playlist, then immediately broke that rule by including two from this hometown Dallas band. But I ask you for a better song to get across the fantasy/ western/ horror feel I was going for with my book than this. I never did get to see them live, but I have seen their poster in the Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines video game. And how many people can say that?
Rumbrave – Murder By Death: If they just changed the opening line from “I have jade colored eyes” to “mud colored,” I’d swear they wrote this song about Marta. How better to describe her than “the ax that clears the forest?” I could have probably made this playlist entirely from MbD's songs, so this was the one I thought fit the best to describe my protagonist. Plus, it has a cello solo, and that’s just awesome!
Cannibal’s Hymn – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: This song is to represent both Carmichael as a character and Marta’s mission as a whole. And it has two of my very favorite lines of all time in it: “If you’re going to dine with cannibals, sooner or later, darling, you’re going to get eaten,” which pretty much sums up Marta’s family to a T, and “Allow me, my love, to allay your fear,” which is probably the greatest example of alliteration ever. Murky mortality and morality at its best.
Red Moon – Old Bear Mountain: Another obscure band that Spotify was kind enough to turn me on to. And I honestly can’t tell you why this song represents Caddie to me, but it does. Perhaps it’s the simple banjo, which I’m always a sucker for. Lots of war and death imagery for what sounds like a sweet song, so maybe that’s the reason. Because, believe me, that girl’s seen some death. And is going to see a lot more before this story is through…
This Tornado Loves You – Neko Case: This song is to represent Marta’s past timeline, and is probably the only one now that I think about it. She really was a tornado before her capture, chewing through boys' hearts like an indifferent force of nature. Lots more destruction imagery now that I think about it. Plus, Neko has a voice like liquid fire, which I can never get enough of.
What Are You Willing to Lose – Lucero: Moving on to introduce/ sum up Luca now, and this one hits the nail on the head. I don’t know if this is as obvious to everyone else, but it is to me since I know a lot more about his character, which will be the subject of the past timeline chapters in book two. So hopefully we’ll all be on the same page soon…
Gun In My Hand – Dorothy: Well hell, if Luca gets his own song, then Isabelle does too. Man, why is it my male gets a fun song to describe him while my two female leads are intertwined with violence?
The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here – Alice In Chains: If you would have told me 20 years ago that I would willingly listened to AiC with any lead singer other than Lane Staley, I would have slapped your face, but this is a seriously solid album that I listened to a lot when writing TWR. The idea of people explaining away the existence of dinosaurs via the Devil sums up the religious dogma of my fantasy world (and a lot of ours), hence its inclusion. Plus, it reminds me of the tolmen too.
Deep Sea Mama – Quiet Hollers: Now we’ve reached past the midpoint of the story, which means things are going worse for our characters. So it’s time to slow the songs down and add a baleful quality to them. I realized after I wrote this book that I have a strong water/ ocean theme running through it, so this baleful water-related song seems apt. And I have to say, I love this band and wonder why they’re not better known by this point.
Long Black Highway – Chris Knight: I’ve said before that I don’t believe Chris Knight even owns a thesaurus, but I’ve also said I wish my prose was even a tenth as evocative as a single one of his songs. No one can wring nearly as much of an image with so few and simple words as him, and this is one of his many ghost/ vengeance stories that I strongly suggest everyone check out.
Zip City – Drive-By Truckers: The inclusion of DBT was never in question, though the specific song was. This choice is a little logically out there, but at this point we’re structurally at the Dark Night of the Soul in our story, and I can’t think of a single song that gets across that restless, helpless angst of being a teenager, which is about as low as you can emotionally go in my mind. Plus, there’s that driving, three-guitar power to it that I think drives us into the sonic third act…
Gunfight At Red Sands – Ghoultown: ...with an awesome instrumental for our finale! Savvy listeners will note the melody for later song Walkin’ Through the Desert (With a Crow) in the guitar solo. God, I love rock bands with unusual instruments like trumpets and cellos.
The Long Road – Tiger Army: And our dénouement with our heroes safe and entering their next adventure as they cross into the East. I think it’s best to end on a happy note, because things are going to get bad soon in the sequel…
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