I’ve mentioned before that when I’m writing I often create playlists of songs that evoke a mood or theme I’m trying to explore in a book. The Castle of Earth and Embers was no different, and here are some of the songs that helped inspire me while I was writing.
Blackmore’s Night – Fires at Midnight
Briarwood castle is a magical place steeped in history, and nothing brings out that mood I tried to create more than Blackmore’s Night. Part of that is the sheer brilliance of the music – Ritchie Blackmore’s amazing guitar skills combined with Candice Knight’s rich, lyrical voice. But another part of it is that listening to this band brings back one of my favourite memories ever – standing with my husband in the courtyard of a 12th-century castle, drinking beer brewed on-site, in a crowd of Germans dressed in medieval garb while bonfires blazed around us and Blackmore’s Night entertained us from the stage. Pure magic.
Something Evil (featuring Marc Scibilia) – The Hot Damns
This song was on the Longmire soundtrack, so it automatically makes me think of the Southwest, where Maeve grew up. I love the way the song manages to sound soulful and sinister at the same time. Something evil is coming to Briarwood.
Helvegen – Wardruna
These guys are awesome to listen to while writing, because I don’t feel the urge to sing along as much, but also, wow are they amazing. When I think of fae music I imagine it sounds a little like this.
Seasonspeak – Elvenking
Another beautiful folk metal song that to me really evokes the sense of magic and the stillness and fragility of nature that I was trying to capture. Love all the vocal harmonies.
Girl in Amber – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
I still cannot listen to this without crying. To me, the entire Skeleton Tree album is a siren call of mourning, and whenever I want to tap into that I listen to it.
She doesn’t know it, but this is Maeve’s song.
Skyclad – Earth Mother, The Sun, and The Furious Host
There are a lot of themes in the Briarwood books, and one of them is about religions like Christianity forcing an idea of superiority against nature, of humans ruling the earth, and how maybe that’s an idea that needs to be challenged. This song about challenging beliefs and embracing old ways even if they make you feel humble seem to suit.
Alestorm – Fucked with an Anchor
Because it made me realise how satisfying it is to use the word ‘wanker’ in prose, and because I feel as though Flynn would like this song.
Blackmore’s Night – Ghost of a Rose
See above. I pretty much thrashed all of Paris Moon while I wrote the first book.
Hold the Heathen Hammer High – Tyr
Fun song about being proud of the old magic and the old ways, that I feel the Briarwood coven could really get into.
Season of the Witch – Donovon
I heard this on Riverdale and fell in love. Released in 1966, and apparently a classic that’s been covered several times since. I’m a fan now.
Start a War – Klergy
I also heard this on Riverdale and loved it. War is coming to Briarwood.
Astral Sabbat – Jess and the Ancient Ones
A bit of a silly name, but these Finnish rockers are bringing back the 70s witch rock in style. If you’ve read The Castle of Earth and Embers the reason why I chose this particular song is probably obvious.
She – The Devil’s Blood
I freaking ADORE this band. There’s nothing like writing about badass witches than some badass witch rock.
There you go – lots of witchy tunes and folk-inspired metal to keep your hearts happy while I finish the next book. Grab your copy of The Castle of Earth and Embers today in Kindle or paperback.