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. TUNNEL OF LOVE - Dire Straits

John Marshal at court - the ups and downs of the political life, the plotting, the subterfuge, the women.

2.CHEMISTRY - Semi-Sonic

John's attitude to the pleasures of the flesh!

3. MOTHER - Tori Amos

Aline's marriage to John. Her fear and uncertainty - being pushed out of the nest and into something she's not ready for.

4. VOLCANO - Damien Rice

Aspects of the relationship between John and Aline.


John at court in 1135 around the time of the death of King Henry. It's dangerous and he has to decide what to do.

6. AVE MARIA - Beth Nielsen Chapman

Aline's relationship with her religion. It's the only place where she is happy.


The danger of the royal court in Oxford. The wheeling, dealing, the rise and fall of powerful men

8. ALREADY GONE - The Eagles

John splits with King Stephen


John and a mercenary discuss their mutual and not so mutual interests.

10. OUT IN THE FIELDS - Thin Lizzy

The Fight for Wherwell Abbey

11. GIMME SHELTER - The Rolling Stones

John makes his way home from Wherwell

12. ANGELS OF THE SILENCES - Counting Crows

John recovering from his injuries and feeling bitter

13. ALIVE - Meat Loaf

John comes to terms with what has happened to him and goes back out to kick ass!

14. SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR - Grey Eye Glances

Sybilla wonders if there is more to life than the humdrum one she is living.

15. BLAZE OF GLORY - Bon Jovi
John takes on Patrick of Salisbury

16.DANCING IN THE DARK - Bruce Springsteen

John and Sybilla assess each other before their wedding

17. STOP! - Sam Brown

Aline's shock at the break up of the marriage. Sam Brown's performance is perhaps too forceful for Aline's character, but a lot of the lyrics fit, especially from verse 1.

18. ELEANOR RIGBY - Thrice

The metal version. It conveys more emotion than the one by the Beatles. Aline's character and a general comment on some of the emotions felt by all the characters. Intentionally screamy!

19. WHITE WEDDING - Billy Idol
The suggestion of the wedding between John and Sybilla is mooted. Lyrics are perfect!

20. BETTER DAYS - Bruce Springsteen

'This fool's half way to heaven and just a mile out of hell and I feel like I'm coming home.' Wow! This one was just so perfect for the soundtrack

21. SAMBA PA TI - Santana

The opening sequence to a series of wedding night songs. John and Sybilla's first dance together at their wedding feast - sexy and tender.

22. IRIS - Ronan Keating

The preliminary to the wedding night. John's slight apprehension.

23. BIG LOVE - Fleetwood Mac

The wedding night from both viewpoints. Fairly explicit!

24. SHOW ME HEAVEN - Maria Mckee

Sybilla's view of the wedding night

25. AIR THAT I BREATHE - The Hollies

John's view of the wedding night

26. LOVE RESURRECTION - Alison Moyet

Sybilla getting to grips with life with her new husband. 'If we pull together, we'll never fall apart again.'


Aline's remarriage. The end of everything with John

28. BED OF ROSES - Bon Jovi

John's ongoing relationship with Sybilla and his thoughts while away at war.

29. THE MUMMER'S DANCE - Loreena McKennit

The birth of John's fourth son William on an April morning.

30. SHE'S A LADY - Tom Jones

John's feelings about Sybilla - lyrics are spot on. She did help him build a mountain.

31. I WON'T BACK DOWN - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

John facing enormous odds but doing as the song title says!

32. HURT - Johnny Cash

John's reaction at having to give up his five year old son, William.

33. DOWN TO MY LAST - Alter Bridge

John at the siege of Newbury as it comes to crunch time. Again lyrics are spot on

34. LEARNING TO FLY - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Little William setting out on his life path to greatness


Finale song.
36. ONLY THE BRAVE - Runrig

A song that helped me find the book's title

37. BROKEN PROMISE - Placebo

This is the song that if I had copyright permission, I'd put on the 'trailer' to the movie.

38. MY SHIP IS COMING IN - The Walker Brothers
One that didn't make my final cut but which had meaning for Alison, my Akashic consultant and so it gets an honourable mention.

No comments: