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, June 2


Not all of the tracks have links if I haven't been able to find them, but the majority of them do.

.1. EAGLE by Abba  - This is Alienor’s totem motif throughout the novel.  The opener and the closer.  Imagine a white gyrfalcon, wings outspread.

2. ONLY ONE REASON by All About Eve Alienor’s relationship with her father.  From the album Scarlet and Other Stories.

3 .THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE – Matt CardleThe impact Eleanor has on Louis the first time he sets eyes on her.  THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE    Because of what comes later and the changes,  I wanted the pure feeling at the outset to come through.

4. PRAISE FOR THE MOTHER – Richard Souther. This is the music of Hildegard of Bingen given a modern twist.  This stands for the wedding and the relationship afterwards between Louis and Alienor when they were close.  The element of female religious mysticism is deliberate. I was also thinking of the crystal vase that Alienor gave Louis at their wedding.PRAISE FOR THE MOTHER - RICHARD SOUTHER

5. SECRET GARDEN –  Tom Cochrane and Damhnait Doyle – Louis wanting more of Eleanor but he never quite understands her and is frustrated that she eludes him. 

6. SEX ON FIRE – Kings of Leon -  This is the highly charged sexual courtship of two important secondary characters.  SEX ON FIRE - KINGS OF LEON

7. IF SHE KNEW WHAT SHE WANTS – The Bangles.   This is about an unstable and flighty female character and her male partner, and defines their relationship. IF SHE KNEW WHAT SHE WANTS - THE BANGLES

8. CRUCIFY – Tori Amos.  Alienor's sister gets into trouble and the crap hits the fan.

9. LITTLE EARTHQUAKES – Tori Amos.  Another terrific Tori Amos track. The aftermath of shock when Alienor discovers her sister has been indiscreet, It is also about a traumatic personal event and the effect it has on the relationship between Alienor and Louis.

10. BLOW – Atreyu.  Standing for Louis’ horrendous tempers. This is loud and raw and very angry. Warning - explicit lyrics!

11. ONE – COWBOY JUNKIES  This is the continued deterioration of Alienor and Louis’ marriage.  ONE - COWBOY JUNKIES

12. CHEVALIER MULT ESTES GUARIZ – Early Music Consort of London -  A crusading song made up at the time Louis VII went to the Holy Land.  It basically says that whoever goes with Louis to the Holy Land need not fear death!

13. DON’T PAY THE FERRYMAN – Chris de Burgh.  The journey through various lands on the 3rd crusade and the dangers.

14. AIN’T NOBODY – Claire Maguire.  The relationship between Eleanor and someone else.

15  VISION (Oh Euachari in Leta Via) – Richard Souther.   The music of Hildegard of Bingen.  This is Constantinople and  Antioch, the glory and beautiful of the monuments and Alienor’s own spirituality.
16. I’M ON FIRE – Bruce Springsteen.   No comment as it really would spoil the novel if you haven't read itI'M ON FIRE - BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN!

18. WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING? – Dire Straits.  Louis preventing Alienor from doing what she wants.

19.  I’M OUT OF LOVE – Anastacia -  Alienor preparing to move on.

20. OUT OF THE RUINS – Brian Houston – Alienor and Louis’ divorce – more bird imagery here.  The phoenix and the eagle.  Perfect lyrics.  I love Brian Houston.  On the same page as Bruce Springsteen. Click here to listen Out of the Ruins

21. SOMEBODY THAT I USED TO KNOW – Gotye – Yes, that annoying song, but it so describes Louis’ emotions at the time of the divorce.SOMEBODY THAT I USED TO KNOW - GOTYE

22. I DON’T WANNA LOSE YOU – Tina Turner.  Alienor’s feelings about Henry II as she first observes him and then becomes attracted to him.

23. SOMETIMES WHEN WE TOUCH – Bonnie Tyler – The relationship between Henry and Alienor – intense and a little painful, and hinting at difficulties to come.

24. BLEEDING LOVE – LEONA LEWIS.  A theme that’s going to build throughout the novels.   Alienor’s feelings for Henry.  She loves him but it’s self-destructive.

25.  DO YOU WANT THE TRUTH OR SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL? – Paloma Faith.  About the life of Alienor of Aquitaine in the hands of the storyteller and the eyes of the reader.  Who was she really?

26. Eagle – Abba.  We start as we finish with the Eagle motif.

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