Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Make a Christmas Wish: The playlist
All my books usually have playlists, which I normally compile as I'm writing the story. However, this year due to a combination of lack of time and computer problems I was a bit late in the day sorting it out. So here it is for your delectation and delight; the songs that inspired the story, and helped it on its way...
Livvy, the main character in MACW, came to me fully formed some years ago. She jumped into my head, and all I knew about her was that she was a very angry ghost. Initially I was inspired by Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit in which a dead wife haunts her husband. But then when I was looking for a new Christmassy theme, it struck me that A Christmas Carol was also a great place to go for inspiration, so I married the two themes together and came up with Livvy, Adam and Emily's story.
If you haven't read the book yet, Livvy is knocked down at the beginning, just after she's discovered her husband, Adam is having an affair with Emily. So the first song on the playlist, has to be Wuthering Heights, by Kate Bush, which perfectly captures Livvy's distress and anger about being shut out of her old life; all she can do is look on from the sidelines.
Livvy and Adam have a son, Joe, who has Asperger's. Although Livvy is an imperfect mother at times, she loves Joe with a fierce protectiveness, and fights hard for him to get what he needs. So cheesy and all, Joe's song for his mum is You Lift Me Up by Westlife; although he can't express his emotions very well, Joe adores his mum, and all he wants for Christmas is for her to come back to him.
Run to You by Bruce Springsteen is for Adam and Emily. They know their love affair is wrong, and they don't want to hurt anyone, but they are drawn together by a force which they can't control. When Livvy dies, they are left in limbo - do they ignore their feelings, or do they carry on? And how long is a decent enough time to wait...
Wire to Wire by Razorlight is for all three of them: Livvy, Adam and Emily. Livvy and Adam's relationship ended up being a toxic one, which is what has sent Adam into Emily's arms. Yet if Livvy gets her heart's desire, and a second chance with Adam, Emily will be heartbroken. No one wins in this situation, and it's an impossible dilemma.
The Ghost in You by the Psychedelic Furs is for Livvy - who is at once apart, as no one can see her but Joe, but also very much missed, by her son, her husband, and her mother.
Murder on the Dance Floor by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, is for the ghosts who inhabit Underworld, a nightclub for the dead underneath the local theatre. I had a blast writing their part of their story - just because they're dead, it doesn't mean they can't party!
Spirits in the Material World by the Police - I like the idea that all around us there are the spirits of those who've not passed on yet, lingering (I hope) mainly because they can't quite leave their earthly loves and lives behind.
I Put a Spell on You by Nina Simone. I adored writing the character of Laetitia, the mysterious spirit guide who lives in Underworld, and offers to help Livvy. If you've ever seen the film, Death Becomes Her, I drew inspiration from the character of Lisle von Rhoman, who seems to offer Meryl Streep the chance of eternal life. As in a lot of magical films - you might not necessarily like what you wish for...
You Know I'm no Good by Amy Winehouse. Livvy has to finally face up to what has happened in the past before she can move on, and this is for the moment when she discovers some very unpleasant home truths. I don't believe that Livvy is no good, but that she has been overwhelmed by a very difficult situation. What always shines through is her love of Joe.
Do you hear what I hear? by Whitney Houston and Carol of the Bells by John Williams are both lovely Christmassy songs which I thought were appropriate for the ending of my story.
And finally.... Angels by Robbie Williams. I've used this song over and over, because it's such a good one for mothers. But this time it's Joe's tune. To him, Livvy will always be an angel in heaven, and a star in the sky....
If you have Spotify and would like to listen to the playlist you can here.