Dear Reader Letter, Playlist, and Excerpt from Kate Cross's Breath of Iron
Let me begin by asking a question—do you have a favorite song? Are there songs that when you hear them, they immediately transport you to another place and time? As soon as I hear the opening of Def Leppard's "Love Bites" I'm a teenager again, bemoaning and lamenting the fact that he chose that other girl over me. "The Show Must Go On" by Queen chokes me up every time because it's so linked to Freddie Mercury's death for me. The moment I hear Alanis Morissette sing "Head Over Feet" I smile and think of the first time I realized I was falling for the man I later had the good sense to marry. "Head Like a Hole" by Nine Inch Nails still makes me want to go clubbing, and I would rather stick a fork in my eye than brave the club scene again.
The absence of having 'a song' is one of the things I don't like about writing historicals—do you think anyone ever heard Beethoven's "Fur Elise" at a ball, turned to his wife and said, "I say, my dear, I do believe they are playing our song."? Maybe, but doubtful. I suppose poetry filled that void, but it's not the same, is it?
Maybe it's just the '80s kid in me that finds a soundtrack so important to one's life. I mean, all the good movies had fabulous music. Heck, even the bad ones have scores! If you've ever seen a movie from the '80s, most of them are just one step away from being one long music video, complete with dance number!
Music is very important to me. It sets a tone for a movie or TV show, and I like to use it to set a tone for my books. I can't tell you how many love scenes I've written while listening to Bon Jovi or Nine Inch Nails (don't ask lol!). With almost every book my main couple or character has a "song" or several. To this day, the song "Iris" by GooGoo Dolls makes me think of the hero of my second book. It just suited him so incredibly well. So, it shouldn't surprise you that Breath of Iron has its own soundtrack. In fact, out of the Clockwork Agents trilogy, Mac and Evie had the most songs, the deepest musical connection. In fact, I've never had a couple choose their song even before I began writing about them, but these two did just that.
A couple of years ago I had the good fortune to meet musician Eli August at a Steampunk event. We hit it off and Eli invited my hubby and me to a private show they were putting on after hours. At that event Eli sang a song called "Steady." It was such a powerful song that it stuck hard in my head. I would find myself humming it, and when Eli finally released it on a CD, it immediately became one of the most listened to songs on my iTunes player. At that point I was only planning this trilogy, but I knew that "Steady" was Mac and Evie's song. It had to be. It fit the book so much that I even named a character after Eli in thanks. Give it a listen and I think you'll see—or rather hear—what I mean. And if you're interested in what other songs I listened to while writing Breath of Iron—a steampunk romance set aboard a soaring airship—just take a look below.
Steady - Eli August
Don't Let Me Down - The Beatles
All About Loving You - Bon Jovi
All of Me - Buckcherry
Cannonball - Damien Rice
Atmosphere - Eli August
Misery Loves Company - Emilie Autumn
Start Again - Guy Pearce
All That I've Got - The Used
Hole in the Boat - Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys
All my best,