My Favorite TUNES


I wish I could listen to music while I write. I just can't. I get distracted far too easily, but I do gravitate toward music while I'm daydreaming and thinking about my stories. Sometimes, I get stuck on a particular song and play it obsessively (away from my computer) until I get through whatever scene I'm working on. My kids love that, especially if it's a super sappy love song.

I don't have formal playlists for individual books. Sometimes I'm drawn to a particular artist or song for more than one story. But I do end up with groupings or clouds. Often they're far outside what I usually listen to in terms of... genre or style.

That said, I thought it might be fun to share some of my groupings by book. I'll include links to official videos wherever possible.


This was another really fun cloud to build, and it actually took me a really long time compared to the others. It was a little trickier to find the perfect songs for Astrid and Henry. I deleted and added and fiddled around a lot.

Cloud factoid:

  • My hero and I sang "Case of You" to all of our babies when they were little, and my youngest was obsessed with the entire Blue album. He would lie in bed and hold the case, looking at the cover art (Joni's portrait) until he fell asleep.

All I Really Want- Joni Mitchell

A Sky Full of Stars- Coldplay

I Want You Back- Detroit Sound Sensation

Heroin- Badflower

Small Town Moon- Regina Spektor

So Long Baby- The Marvelettes

Underneath- Blacktop Mojo

Next to Me- Imagine Dragons

Untouchable Face- Ani DiFranco

Valerie- Amy Winehouse

Fooled Around and Fell in Love- Graham Blvd

A Case of You- Joni Mitchell


I had such a great time putting this list together for Sugar Rush. I don't want to date myself... again... but I've been listening to some of these songs for, oh, over half my life. That they happened to be perfect for Ava and Leo's story was just... icing.
A couple of random factoids regarding the music in this cloud:

  • One magic summer night in the late nineties, I saw Ani DiFranco open for Bob Dylan on a beach in Long Island, and I've adored her ever since.
  • I can play Hallelujah (very badly) on the ukelele.
  • Four of the songs in this cloud have movie credits (including two from one of my very favorite movies of all time), and another one had an epic TV moment.


I first heard Dermot Kennedy on NPR, and I remember thinking at the time...

Oh, wow. That's Jack.

Glory is definitely one of my top 100 songs of all time. Mr. Kennedy said he wrote it while simultaneously grieving a friend and falling in love. To me, that's such a perfect description of life as an adult—it's complicated:

A Closeness- Dermot Kennedy
Under Pressure- Queen
The Promise- When in Rome
Hymn- Fleurie
I'm Gonna Be (500 miles)- Sleeping at Last
Glory- Dermot Kennedy
Higher Love- James Vincent McMorrow
On the Radio- Regina Spektor
Sweet Child O' Mine- Guns N' Roses
Bad Liar- Selena Gomez
Love Is Here To Stay- Nat King Cole
After Rain- Dermot Kennedy