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.

Tuesday, June 17


Based on the true story of a dispossessed young lord and the mistress of a king.

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. NOTHING ELSE MATTERS - Apocalyptica
This song runs as a general theme throughout the novel and will appear again further down the list. It's bittersweet and this
instrumental version is perfect for starting off the story of Roger Bigod and Ida de Tosney as their lives undergo dramatic changes and they have to find ways of dealing with them.

2 THE PROMISED LAND - Bruce Springsteen
Roger's viewpoint as he faces up to his father. His feelings of desperation and anger. His grit to do something about his situation, especially the last verse. 'I've packed my bags and I'm heading straight into the storm. Gonna be a twister to blow everything down that ain't got the faith to stand its ground.'

3. PRAYER OF THE REFUGEE - Rise Against Roger burns his bridges and goes to his uncle's camp on the eve of the Battle of Fornham.

4. THE MONSTER IS LOOSE - Meat Loaf The Battle of Fornham. Roger's confrontation with his father.

5. BEAUTIFUL GIRL - INXS Henry II sets eyes on Ida de Tosney and her vulnerable innocence is irresistable to him.

Ida encounters Roger at court and falls for his mixture of strength and shyness.

7. A GOOD HEART - Feargal Sharkey Roger is attracted to Ida but is very wary of committment and knows that he is playing with fire because she is the King's mistress.

8. SWEET SIXTEEN - Billy Idol King Henry's relationship with Ida and wanting to hang on to her even though she goes through changes and he eventually lets her go.
9. LOVE IS ONLY A FEELING - The Darkness Roger's feelings towards Ida longterm and beyond the novel and into the follow up I'm writing.

10. ETERNAL FLAME - The Bangles Ida falling more in love with Roger and realising that she is the one who is going to have to do something about it. The scene in the orchard.
11. SWETE SONE - Medieaval Babes Ida's grief at having to part with her son.

12. INEVITABLE - Anberlin
Roger and Ida's wedding night. 'I want to be your last first kiss.' A wonderful, poignant song from a fabulous band.

13. SLOW HAND - The Pointer Sisters
Ida's feelings towards Roger re their love life.

14. YOU BURN FIRST - Alexisonfire
The joust at Senlis when Roger faces his brothers. I love the building angry menace in this. In a very warped way it kind of reminds me of Ravel's Bolero!

15. LIGHTNING CRASHES - Live The birth of Hugh. Ida's and Roger's feelings. The mingling of Angst, sorrow and over-arcing joy. Live have been one of my recent discoveries. Not well known in the UK which is a sin.

16. JEALOUS GUY - Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music Roger's struggle with jealousy over Henry and Ida

17. TURN, TURN, TURN - The Byrds Roger doing just that as he strives to rebuild his life and his family's prestige.

18. CHINA - Tori Amos
Ida feels the growing distance between herself and Roger

19. JUST LIKE THAT - Monique Brumby Roger arrives home after a long absence and Ida is both overjoyed and resentful. No youtube clip for this one.

The coldness from Roger's viewpoint and his realisation of his own part in the breakdown in the situation. Also has resonances with the building of Framlingham where Ida has not always been happy.

21. SNOW - Grey Eye Glances
Ida in sad and thoughtful mood but with a glimmer of hope. This is another band who ought to be better known. This is one beautiful song. It's from their album Eventide.

22. PLAY IT AS IT LAYS - Patti Scialfa
Ida comes around and realises that life goes on. Again, I can't find a clip to this one on youtube, but the lyrics are very pertinent. Patti Scialfa is a fine artist in her own right, but is also known for being the wife of Bruce Springsteen.

23. KEEP THE FAITH - Bon Jovi
Roger hammering out details with his brothers. Also touches on the relationship between Ida's sons William and Hugh. This is the slow, more thoughtful version from the album 'This left feels right.'


The grand finale from Ida's viewpoint. The first instrumental with lyrics.

The grand finale from Roger's viewpoint. The harder-edged masculine version.