Music Makes the Writing World Go Round

The Rat Pack

Music has always been important to me and transports me back to times and places that are permanently etched in my mind. I also managed a rock band for several years, so I guess you could say music will always be part of my heart. So it’s not surprising that music is a BIG part of my books. Not only what the characters listen and dance to, but as I write them! I write historical mystery thrillers that take place in the l930s. I often will listen to period music to help with the mood, the ambiance, and the point in time. But I also listen to modern music if it sets the tone or gets me riled up to write a good action scene. I often write to period crooners like Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sammy Davis, Jr. I also listen to modern day crooners like Michael Bublé and Harry Connick, Jr.

Lady Gaga

But on occasion, I need MOOD. I need tempo and drive. The end-scene in The Gold Pawn, where you at last discover a critical piece of information in a diabolical scene, I wrote it to Lady Gaga’s Poker Face. Just seemed to fit. Others were written to Rihanna, Eminem, INXS, The Beatles, The Killers, Journey, Aerosmith and the B52s.

On Twitter I recently asked writers how music moves them. I got some fabulous responses!


Sean Cameron, up and coming author, wrote that the Promontory Theme from the film Last of the Mohicans always helps him make a sequence better, tighter, more intriguing. (I also have that on my Playlist! It’s divine) He also loves soundtracks from films including Inception, Hoosiers, Gladiator, and We Were Soldiers to name a few. (I’m a huge fan of soundtracks. Just looked up so many songs from the series Umbrella Academy!)

Mariah Fredericks, bestselling author of historical mysteries said that Thomas Newman’s score to Little Women (Here it is: always brings her to her time period, even though it’s technically a littler earlier. (LOVE her writing! If you haven’t read her Death of A New American, you should!!!!) Here you go:

Adam Hamdy, UK author extraordinaire, said that his fast-paced Jason Bourne style action novel, Pendulum (Get it here: ) was written to The Journey, a two-hour drum and bass mix.

So how do you feel about music? Do love having it around you at certain times? Do you feel like life isn’t complete if you DON’T have it? I also love having some jazz playing while I’m making dinner, drinking a glass of wine. Or maybe some 90s happy music like How Bizarre by OMC :-).

For our BIG SUMMER GIVEAWAY WEEK, we are featuring today Robin Stuart and D.A. Bartley! Robin has a scrumptious story in a coveted anthology by Northern California Crime Writers, FAULT LINES!

D.A. Bartley is giving away her first book, Blessed Be the Wicked AND her upcoming release (STARRED review by Publishers Weekly!) Death in the Covenant. Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to WIN today! “Razor sharp” -Linda Castillo

Let us know how music moves YOU! Leave a comment and share to social media to be entered to win!

Winners will be chosen tonight at random. Good luck to you all!


  1. I’ve never thought much about music, but how would we live without it! I think it’s a bigger part of our lives than we realize.

  2. My husband and I always have music on in the car and in our home. Usually classic rock but we like a bit of everything really.

  3. I’ve always loved music. It’s also been another connection between me and my daughters….they love my generation’s music, and, introduce me to new music/artists all the time.

  4. I firmly believe there are few occasions in life that aren’t improved with the addition of music. There are some, but not too many. I do write in silence during my first writing session of the day, but after that, I can–and do–listen to all kinds of music. Chamber music is good when I need to concentrate and cheesy hits from the 80s (including Nena, one of my personal favorites from the era) are great when I want something upbeat. Then there’s K-Pop, cabaret, bachata, jazz, reggae, the list goes on. This weekend, I discovered that Spotify has lists of the top 50 hits by country. I fell in love with songs from Israel, Finland, and India.

  5. What would we do without music in our lives! Sometimes I imagine that in earlier days I might have managed to master the piano….. in the modern era it was too easy to turn on a radio and listen.

  6. Words set to music embed themselves deep in our brain. It’s amazing to me that I can sing the words to hundreds of songs I grew up with–even though I don’t specifically remember memorizing them. In college, friends taking classical music survey courses would memorize titles and composers of classical music for tests by setting them to the tune. *Beethoven’s Fifth* I mourn the fact that writers aren’t allowed to put even a snatch of song lyrics in our novels!

  7. I think it’s brilliant that you listen to music from the 30’s to get a feel for that era! It got me thinking about what would you listen to if you wrote in Jane Austen’s era. Harpsichord?

  8. Music is an integral part of my life! Oldies from the 70’s energizes me and helps pass time as I work on various projects. However, sometimes I find myself distracted by lyrics (i.e. when reading) and I have to resort to instrumental music without lyrics for the purpose of concentration. Music is definitely an important part of life, so turn up the volume!

    1. You know? That’s funny – I can’t listen to music when reading either, unless it’s instrumental. BUT I do write with music with lyrics Huh! And yeah, music is SO energizing and can you out of bad moods or sadness or laziness. Super powerful:-).

  9. It seems that the memory of every major event in my life is triggered by a song I hear. I always have music playing around me, so my entire life is remembered in the songs I hear.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *