An increasing number of writers are talking about the music they use for inspiration, and even suggesting music they think goes well with their books. One of my favorites is Carrie Vaughn, the author of the Kitty Norville books.
Kitty is the host of The Midnight Hour, a call-in radio show talking to and about the supernatural community. (Think Dr. Joy Browne for vampires, werewolves, witches and were-alpacas.)
"'Hi, Kitty.' His voice was tired, flat. 'I'm a vampire ... I was attacked and turned involuntarily about five years ago. I'm also—at least I used to be—a devout Catholic. It's been really… hard. All the jokes about blood and the Eucharist aside—I can't walk into a church anymore. I can't go to Mass. And I can't kill myself because that's wrong. Catholic doctrine teaches that my soul is lost, that I'm a blot on God's creation. But Kitty—that's not what I feel. Just because my heart has stopped beating doesn't mean I've lost my soul, does it?'
I wasn't a minister; I wasn't a psychologist. I'd majored in English, for crying out loud. I wasn't qualified to counsel anyone on his spiritual life. But my heart went out to him, because he sounded so sad. All I could do was try."
Kitty is herself a werewolf, struggling to find her way in the competitive supernatural world.
"Hands thicken, claws sprout, think about flowing water so she doesn't feel bones slide under skin, joints and muscles molding themselves into something else. She crouches, breathing deep through bared teeth. Teeth and face growing longer, and the hair, and the eyes. The night becomes so clear, seen through the Wolf's eyes.
Then she leaps, the Wolf is formed and running, four legs feel so natural, so splendid, pads barely touching soft earth before they fly again. Wind rushes through her fur like fingers, scent pours into her nose: trees, earth, decay, life, water, day-old tracks, hour-old tracks, spent rifle cartridges from last season, blood, pain, her pack. Pack's territory. And the One. The Leader. Right behind her, chasing.
Wrong, fleeing him. But fleeing is better than fighting, and the urge to fight is strong. Kill her if she doesn't say she's sorry. But she is sorry; she'd do anything for him."
Each book comes with a playlist, which caught my attention right away. The playlist in the book I just finished, "Kitty Takes a Holiday", has 14 songs on the playlist. Some worked better than others. I especially liked "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers (a fantastic fit for an important plot twist) and "Kingdom" by VNV Nation (I saw it as voicing the prejudice and fear the locals express toward Kitty), but Blondie's "Hanging on the Telephone" didn't really do anything for me.
"I'm coming out of my cage
And I've been doing just fine
Gotta gotta gotta be down
Because I want it all
It started out with a kiss
How did it end up like this?
It was only a kiss
It was only a kiss
Now I'm falling asleep
And she's calling a cab
While he's having a smoke
And she's taking a drag
Now they're going to bed
And my stomach is sick
And it's all in my head
But she's touching his—chest
Now, he takes off her dress
Now, let me go
I just can't look
It's killing me
And taking control"
You can find the playlists for each book at Last.fm and at Blip.fm at knobradio (KNOB is Kitty's radio station), as well as at the beginning of each book.
Book: Kitty Norville Series, Carrie Vaughn
Music: Mr. Brightside, The Killers
Kingdom, VNV Nation
Hanging on the Telephone, Blondie