I write to music. I drive with music. I do housework and exercise to music. When my husband is away, I sleep with music playing in the background.
Even long before ipods and playlists I used to create soundtracks. Usually one for each year, with songs that had inspired me or reminded me of something that happened.
Foreigner’s Waiting for a Girl Like You reminds me of my final year at school. Any track by Bruce Springsteen or Mark Knopfler immediately takes me back to university. Pink Floyd’s music brightened a winter spent in Moscow.
And for some reason that completely escapes me, Down Under by Men at Work will forever remind me of the day my mum died. Even now, thirty-two years later, the first image that comes to my mind when I hear it is one of myself standing in a phone booth at 5.30am, calling for a doctor.
So once portable music became more than a pipe dream – and yes, I know I’m showing my age here – it was only logical that my stories and characters should get their own soundtracks, too. And boy did they!
Music isn’t just background noise to my stories, though. Often, it sets the mood. In many cases it’s active inspiration. I’ll think of Ricky’s death every time I hear Crosby & Nash’s Half Your Angels. Massive Attack’s Protection isn’t just the ringtone that tells Jack that Gareth wants to talk to him, it also gave me part of the storyline of Ghosts. And Painted Desert … well, I haven’t finished Wayward yet, but I see Gareth pacing Jack’s hospital room when I hear it.
I have a magpie’s taste in music and find inspiration in the strangest places. If I get a speeding ticket this summer, it’s definitely the fault of this song. On the face of it, it’s one of those bright, summery songs that lends itself perfectly to sunshine, a topless car and an empty road. If you know a little about the band and their story, it could be a lot more than that.
The video is pretty enough, but I don’t need it. Changmin’s voice and the club vibe get me moving and smiling all on their own. The hints of defiance and determination… if you want to go and spot them… fill the fiction muse with glee and inspiration. And if Jack’s story were a movie, you’d probably hear this song while the end credits roll.