It’s no secret in my house that I can’t write with music on; in fact, I really need it to be completely quiet (which is no mean feat with small children.) However, I do listen to a lot of music while I’m brainstorming, most of which seems to occur in the car.
When I wrote the first draft of Caterpillar, I was spending a lot of time driving my oldest to camp and my twins to doctor’s appointments and visits with friends and on errands and other things you do with two toddlers. As it happened, I was listening to a lot of Bjork in that era (I still am—am I dating myself? Probably.) There were certain songs that resonated with each of my three main characters, and I still associate the songs with the characters when I happen to hear one of them.
I Play Dead (Cara) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHiHZ35TPfM
This speaks so much of Cara early on in Caterpillar, who has most of her feelings to overcome her childhood.
Army of Me (Liv) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHiHZ35TPfM
Ah, Liv. Well, as Cara’s older sister, Liv and Cara share a lot of childhood trauma... except that Liv never had the blessing of an older sister to mitigate some of what was going on with their parents. Instead of going emotionally blank, as Cara has, Liv’s angry. Really angry.
Pagan Poetry (Will) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgFajP3vLro
Will is such a melancholy character when we first meet him, he’s used to a kind of extreme intimacy that he hasn’t been able to experience in... a while... which leads him to Half Moon Bay at the beginning of Caterpillar. And is there a better song for someone who can literally feel DNA?
And for Will and Cara together: All is Full of Love http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjAoBKagWQA
I don’t think this one needs explanation ;). But if you’re reading Chapter Twelve, this is the song I had in mind when I wrote it.
I also listened to the radio in between my Bjork jags, and there were a few radio hits that worked for me:
Paramore: The Only Exception (Cara) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-J7J_IWUhls
I admit, it’s an obvious choice. But this song works for Cara’s relationship with Liv as well as her relationship with Will.
And Adam Lambert’s Whataya Want from Me (Will)
What can I say? Will’s an angsty guy. And this is not only a song sung by angsty Adam Lambert, but it was written by the uber-angsty Pink. Et voila.
About the author: Kate Oliver is a writer of Young Adult and Middle Grade novels of every variety. Having worked as everything from a professional statistical programmer to a professional student to a professional parent, she now splits her time between writing and wrangling her children just outside of Washington, D.C.
Her first novel, Caterpillar, a sci-fi romance, will be released by MAB Books on April 10, 2012.