I’m often asked what my favourite book as a kid was and I’ll always answer: ‘Matilda’ by Roald Dahl. I love the dark humour, the tenderness of Miss Honey and Matilda’s friendship and I love how scary it is in the final ‘blackboard’ scene. So, also being partial to the odd musical, I was very excited by the prospect of Matilda: the Musical.
The show managed to exceed my already high expectations.
It’s running in the West End of London now (and is opening on Broadway in 2013) and won a record breaking number of awards in the short year it’s been there. If you’ve read the book or seen the film, you’ll know the story already. But the writing team of Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin (yes, the comedian musician Tim Minchin) took the fantastic novel and expanded on it in all the right places. I won’t give too much away but they added a really ingenious subplot between Matilda and her favourite librarian. Read the rest of this entry »
As I wrote in a previous post, music plays a big part for me whenever I’m coming up my stories. Sometimes I listen as I write but generally it’s whenever I’m strolling around the place, earphones in, world shut out and thinking about the various adventures Arthur gets up to.
There’s a bit more music mentioned in ‘Arthur Quinn and the Fenris Wolf’ than there was in ‘World Serpent’ so I figured I’d list some of the tracks that inspired the feel of the story. Some of you may like to use this list as a kind of soundtrack for reading, while others may just be interested in the songs that I had in mind, while even more of you will probably say that this is a boring post and that you have no interest in it.
Regardless… Here are the tracks.
99 Red Baloons’ by Nena
When we first meet Arthur in ‘Fenris Wolf’, he and his friends are at a bowling alley. In the book it says that a pop song from the 1980s is playing. I only really had one track in mind when I wrote this – ’99 Red Baloons’ by Nena. I really like the way the song starts; slow at first and then kicking right into it with a fun beat. If this was a film, I imagine the prologue ending with that quiet part of the song before we arrive in the bright and colourful world of the bowling alley. The song is so upbeat that it works as a perfect contrast to the scary thing that happens later on in the chapter! Read the rest of this entry »
Right now I’m working on Books Two and Three of the Father of Lies Chronicles. I like to get the whole plot worked out in my head before I sit down and write it. In fact, I always find the writing the easy part. But as I’m thinking about the final few plot points, I realised how important music is to me when writing.
When I’m working out the plots I find it useful to go somewhere by myself. Maybe go for a walk, or a trip on the bus. But always with my iPod earphones tucked tightly in. The music I listen to helps and informs the scene I’m thinking of. It makes the movie playing in my head all the more real. I don’t often listen to music when I’m doing the actual writing bit, but it can help then too. I’ll sometimes listen to exciting, bombastic, fast music if I’m in the middle of a particularly thrilling scene.
So this got me thinking. What songs and pieces of music would add to the experience of reading Arthur Quinn and the World Serpent? And here are three of them with brief explanations why I’ve included them. Think of it as an unofficial soundtrack for the book.
All the Strange Strange Creatures – Murray Gold
A lot of you might recognise this piece of music from Doctor Who. I hold my hand up; I am a big Doctor Who nerd. But I’m including this piece for a more important reason than my Who-obsession. I first had the idea of the World Serpent and the young boy that would have to defeat it while on the bus back to Dublin one Sunday. It was raining and the traffic was idling slowly along the Quays (as in the opening scene of the book). While looking out on the Liffey, I thought that it would make an interesting story if the Vikings had left something under the water. A monster. The music playing on my iPod as I had that thought was this piece.
Room of Requirements – Nicholas Hooper I love all the music in the Harry Potter films but for me, this piece always stood out. It’s playful, creepy and loads of fun, which is probably why I played it to myself while writing the underground scenes in The World Serpent.
New Born – Muse As you’ve probably noticed already, I tend to prefer music without lyrics when writing. But here’s one song that I find great when coming up with really epic and exciting action scenes, just like the end to The World Serpent.
(Now, for a laugh, why not play them all at once!)