Writing to a soundtrack

I’m a big fan of music when I’m drafting a novel – I have playlists for all of my projects, and I listen to them when I’m writing or thinking about my book. It helps me get really excited about my characters and see things from their point of view. When I was writing Green Rising, I listened to one band in particular – The Amazing Devil.

The book is told from alternating points of view between Theo and Hester, who start off as enemies and then fall in love. The band is a male and female duo, and a lot of their songs are angry duets where they’re yell-singing at each other. It fit Theo and Hester’s dynamic perfectly, and I typed out a lot of fast-paced arguments to their album.

Here’s my playlist for Green Rising, which includes more than a few The Amazing Devil songs, as well as others which resonated for me with the story. Hester’s complicated relationship with her father is represented in a lot of these, as well as Gabrielle’s chaotic law-breaking activism, and Edgar’s capitalistic space-race misdeeds. Enjoy! You can listen on Spotify here (or add me as a friend!).

Pruning Shears by The Amazing Devil


So we’re at this shindig everything’s going on they’re so filthy rich
Comparing oil rigs, how their girlfriend’s new car is so kitsch
And they’re discussing champagne
The latest and greatest lame campaign, and how their brothers own shares one
Day it’ll make them millionaires


Vienna by Billy Joel


Slow down you crazy child
You’re so ambitious for a juvenile

But then if you’re so smart tell me,
Why are you still so afraid?


Wasteland, Baby! by Hozier


And when the stance of the sea and the absence of green
Are the death of all things that are seen and unseen
Not an end, but the start of all things that are left to do?
Wasteland, baby


1 step forward, 3 steps back by Olivia Rodrigo


It’s always one step forward and three steps back
Do you love me, want me, hate me?
Boy,
I don’t understand


Seashore by The Regrettes


You’re talkin’ to me like a child
Hey I’ve got news, I’m not a little girl
You’re talkin’ to me like I’m dumb
Well I’ve got news, I’ve got a lot to say
Fight fire with fire and you’ll get burned
Hey I think right about now is your turn


Farewell Wanderlust by The Amazing Devil


All those letters unsent and that garden ungrown
I’m the captain of courage that you’ve eternally lacked
Our Gods have abandoned us, left us instead
Take up arms, take my hand, let us waltz for the dead


Riptide by Vance Joy


Oh, all my friends are turning green
You’re the magician’s assistant in their dream
Lady, running down to the riptide
Taken away to the dark side
I wanna be your left hand man


The Horror and the Wild by The Amazing Devil


Welcome to the storm, I am thunder
Welcome to my table, bring your hunger
Think of all the horrors that I promised you I’d bring


The Quittin’ Kind by Eleisha Eagle


There’s a corner you painted yourself in
I’m not sure what was your intention?
Now you’re trapped alone on an island and you can’t swim
Take it nice and slow my baby
Everything is OK and you’re doin’ fine
You’re not the quittin’ kind


Home by Cavetown


Get a load of this train wreck
His hair’s a mess and he doesn’t know who he is yet
But little do we know, the stars
Welcome him with open arms


Papa Was a Rodeo by The Magnetic Fields


Before you kiss me you should know
Papa was a rodeo
Home was anywhere with diesel gas


Restless Year by Ezra Furman


I’m the dusty jewel in the thrown-out crown
Got a bus pass to make my way
From hideout to hideout in the heat of the day
And when you catch my coattails I’ll be miles away


Battle Cries by The Amazing Devil


Our devils broke rank and out of the depths came an army
And as I walk away I know that I’ve been through the wars
But that creaking you hear in my bones, it’s not pain, it’s applause


The Fine Print by The Stupendium


The conglomerate’s got you in lock and key
We put the dollar back into idolatry
If you’re upset, you can rent an apology
We are a family forged in bureaucracy
No “I” in “team, ” but there’s “con” in “economy”


London Boy by Taylor Swift


You know I love a London boy
He likes my American smile
Like a child when our eyes meet, darling, I fancy you

Published by Lauren James

Lauren James is the twice Carnegie-nominated British author of many Young Adult novels, including The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe and The Quiet at the End of the World. She is also a Creative Writing lecturer, freelance editor, screenwriter, and the founder of the Climate Fiction Writers League. Her upcoming release is Green Rising, a climate change thriller. Her books have sold over a hundred thousand copies worldwide, been translated into five languages and shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and STEAM Children’s Book Award. Her other novels include The Next Together series, the dyslexia-friendly novella series The Watchmaker and the Duke and serialised online novel An Unauthorised Fan Treatise. She was born in 1992, and has a Masters degree from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and many of her books feature female scientists in prominent roles. She sold the rights to her first novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university. Her writing has been described as ‘gripping romantic sci-fi’ by the Wall Street Journal and ‘a strange, witty, compulsively unpredictable read which blows most of its new YA-suspense brethren out of the water’ by Entertainment Weekly. The Last Beginning was named one of the best LGBT-inclusive works for young adults by the Independent. Lauren lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient. She has written articles for numerous publications, including the Guardian, Buzzfeed, Den of Geek, The Toast, and the Children’s Writers and Artist’s Yearbook 2021. She teaches creative writing for Coventry University, WriteMentor, and Writing West Midlands, providing creative writing courses to children through the Spark Young Writers programme.

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