has always had a strong pull for me. Right from the moment I wrote my first novel as a 15 year old, I have used songs as a way of understanding my characters and getting into and developing their emotional lives. Songs in themselves tell stories - frequently of deeply or strongly held feelings and I harness the resonances in lyrics and music as part of my creative process. I had popular music soundtracks to my novels long before film makers started using them regularly in blockbusters, on TV and to sell cars and insurance! Indeed, I was rather miffed when the Heath Ledger film A Knight's Tale came out, because it had pinched my way of marrying the medieval story with the Medium of the rock song!

People are often surprised to know that I use such contemporary music to inspire my novels, but it's my opinion that society changes, not people. The lyrics in a song such as Cat Stevens' Father and Son is as relevant to the Middle Ages as it is to today, juxtaposing as it does, the impatience and fire of youth with the tolerance and knowledge of maturity and slowing down.
My tastes are eclectic, although I tend not to go for opera, rap or hip-hop. I have a weakness for guitar-driven metal and rock in most of its incarnations. I own most of Bruce Springsteen's albums. I was a fan of Bryan Adams long, long, long before he performed the theme to the Kevin Costner Robin Hood film. As a teen my favourites included the aforementioned Cat Stevens, David Bowie, Steely Dan, Bad Company, Eric Clapton, Amazing Blondel, Stevie Wonder and Joan Baez - eclectic as I say! Those favourites have been joined by (to name but a few) Tori Amos, Anberlin, Nightwish, Grey Eye Glances, Seether, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Apocalyptica and Loreena McKennit.

To cut to the chase. I have created this blog to list the soundtracks I have used in my various novels and explain without getting too spoilerish for those of you who haven't read the books, why those tracks have been chosen. I've included some urls to Youtube so that you can hear some of the songs that have helped me on my way to creating my characters and scenarios.

Sunday, July 22


I've linked many of the tracks to urls at Youtube. Not all of the video content is appropriate to what I had in mind, but the songs themselves are all very relevant and will give readers an idea - I hope!


1. THE VOICE - Instrumental of the Irish Eurovision Song contest sung by Eimar Quinn.
A general introductory piece to settle into the novel

2. RELAX - Frankie Goes To Hollywood
William Marshal, a young knight has to learn to control himself in the thick of the fray as he experiences his first hard battle for real.

3. FIGHT - No Vacancy
More of the above. A driving rock song as William is engaged in fierce fighting

4. FELL ON HARD TIMES - Neal Casal
William suddenly finds himself horseless and without a job. He has to sell his cloak in order to make ends meet. I loved the bit in the lyrics that echoes this: 'I sold my green leather jacket' .


William first sets eyes on Eleanor of Aquitaine and he is captured for life!

6. SHE'S ALWAYS A WOMAN - Billy Joel
More on the character of Eleanor of Aquitaine

7. I WANT IT ALL - Queen
King Henry's heir, Henry The Young King is impatient for power and glory. Echoes of William in some of the lyrics too

8. WOULD YOU? - Touch and Go
William's meeting up again at a tourney with Clara, the woman who saved him earlier

9. ADDICTED TO LOVE - Robert Palmer
Clara and William get to know each other better

Clara and the dissatisfaction about what she's getting from William

11. YOU'RE SO VAIN - Carly Simon
The Young King's personality

More of the above. The Young King. 'So you got the moves but have you got the touch?'

13. HALLELUJAH - Rufus Wainwright
The conclusion of William's relationship with Clara. Some echoes too of William's relationship with the Young King

14. DON'T SPEAK - No Doubt
The relationship between William and the Young Queen's wife from her viewpoint.

15. EVERYBODY KNOWS - Don Henley
A comment on the end of William's association with the Young King. 'Everyone knows it's coming apart, take one last look at this sacred heart before it blows.'

William accused of things he hasn't done and he exiles himself on pilgrimage.

More of the above. William takes a hard look at his life

18. PROTOCOL - Gordon Lightfoot
William on pilgrimage and coming to terms with himself. The death of Henry II. 'Where are the kings in their coats of mail who rode by the Cross to die? Did they all go down into worthiness, is it wrong for a king to cry?'

19. THE CLASP - Jethro Tull
Political manoeuvering between the Kings of France and England.

20. EASILY - Red Hot Chili Peppers
William expecting hard times after the death of Henry II, but finding himself in favour instead. In the difficult years he has very much become his own man and no one's gofer.

21. THESE DREAMS - Heart
Isabelle de Clare dreams of a life beyond the walls of the Tower of London

22. BRING ME TO LIFE - Evanescence
Isabelle and William meet and find out they not only have a great deal in common, they complement each other too.

William suddenly finds his cup runneth over. His life force at full surge.

24.VINDICATED - Dashboard Confessional
An aching, bitter, poignant song about William's brother John.

25. FIELDS OF GOLD - Sting
William's brother John again. This time there's a sad, redemptive quality.

26. ALL ABOUT SOUL - Billy Joel
William and Isabelle. The foundation of their relationship. It's about coming through and going forward.

1 comment:

Jody said...

Just incredible, I really could feel the book in these selections. Really adds to the enjoy of a great book.