The Queen of Coin and Whispers: music!

Music shapes my writing, from considering the initial seed of an idea, to figuring out characters and plot and scenes, to company while drafting. By the time I’m knee-deep in a draft, I have a playlist ready to go. These range from songs that inspired the original idea; reminded me of characters, pairings, or situations; or helped me evoke a particular atmosphere.

I thought it would fun to share some of the music I listened to (over and over again) while writing and revising The Queen of Coin and Whispers.

Feral Love – Chelsea Wolfe

Known by many from a Game of Thrones trailer, I listened to this over and over while teasing out my revision ideas. This is my ‘TV/movie trailer’ song–I can imagine an entire trailer for QoCaW through this song. (The music video is a bit odd, and the lyrics have no relation to my book. This is all about the atmosphere.)


I want to be there when you learn the cost of desire.
I want you to know that being kind is overrated.
I want to write my secret across your sky.
I want to watch you lose control.

(Warning: strobe lighting in video. Skip to 0:50 for the start of the song. Another strange video.)

I’ve had this song for years, and it stills evokes chills and a dark glee. Xania and Lia have been driven by their ambitions for years. Lia has gathered people to her through loyalty, while Xania has gathered secrets. But when they fall for each other, their ambitions clash with their desire for each other, and eventually they must face up to who they’re becoming–and what they truly want.

Basically: Lia thinks like a politician; Xania thinks about punching people.

This also feels like a Xania song: full of badly-suppressed rage, mirroring her obsessive grief at the beginning of the novel–and her slow realisation that it could destroy her if she lets it consume her.

Darkness Descends – Midnight Syndicate

This was actually one of Spotify’s “Hey, if you like X, you might like Y!” suggestions, and it was right! This song reminds me of the final third of the book. The plot threads are tightening together: Lia is questioning her choices, and Xania is questioning if she can accept everything involved in loving a Queen, especially when it clashes with her own moral code.

Carnival of Rust – Poets of the Fall

It’s all a game, avoiding failure, when true colors will bleed
All in the name of misbehavior and the things we don’t need
I lust for after no disaster can touch, touch us anymore
And more than ever, I hope to never fall, where enough is not the same it was before

This song has stayed with me since I first heard it. Between the dark carnival video, the lyrics, the hints of desperation simmering throughout–the longing and the hope of not returning to what was inspired me from the beginning.

War of Hearts – Ruelle

Come to me
In the night hours
I will wait for you
And I can’t sleep
Cause thoughts devour
Thoughts of you consume
I can’t help but love you
Even though I try not to
I can’t help but want you

This is one of the most YA songs ever, jammed with longing and unrequited love and feelings. This is the Lia/Xania song. I played it on repeat while revising, especially when working on the development of their relationship and the Midwinter scenes.

Adrift – Lisa Gerrard

My friend and CP David Slayton recommended this to me while I was revising. We’re both Lisa Gerrard and Dead Can Dance fans. This song reminds me of Lia, especially: there’s a pervading sense of doom throughout, that something is wrong and about to get worse. Which, well… spoilers. 😉

And, being Lisa Gerrard, the emotion in her singing makes you want to weep.



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