I write to music, and below are some of the songs that made the regular playlist while I wrote The Prophet. Although always influenced by music, I felt this novel was perhaps unusually connected to certain songs, and I’m grateful to the artists who provided them.

 1) Juarez,  Augustines

A dark rock number with lines like “Tell my sister I’ve gone to find someone, and I won’t come back no more” that felt surreally close to my fictional world.

 

2) Return to Me, Matthew Ryan 

I’ve never felt such a strong connection between a song and a novel as I did with this haunting number by one of our most talented songwriters. It seemed to be Adam Austin’s personal anthem to me.

*Not available on the Spotifiy playlist*

 3) Free Fallin’, Tom Petty

One for Marie Lynn Austin. Provided the inspiration for what became one of the turning-point scenes in the book, the scene when the police search Marie’s childhood bedroom.

 

4) No Harm, The Boxer Rebellion 

Look close enough and you’ll find the phrase “no harm” in a critical moment of the novel.

 

5) After the Storm, Mumford & Sons

Plenty of tracks from this standout album lived in my headphones during the writing, but none made more frequent appearances than this number.

 

6) Bloodbuzz, Ohio, The National

A favorite song from a favorite album, I saw The National play live at a point when I was struggling with the book, and this song connected that night and many times after.

 

7) I Believe Jesus Brought Us Together, The Horrible Crowes

If Matthew Ryan provided the theme song for Adam, then The Horrible Crowes provided the bulk of the soundtrack. The album “Elsie” arrived when I was nearing the homestretch, and I felt as if it had been written by the characters in my book. In this song’s case, by Chelsea and Adam. “I think that your trouble and my trouble shook hands…”

 

8) Blood Loss, The Horrible Crowes 

9) Ladykiller, The Horrible Crowes 

And the beat goes on…with lines like “I can leave the wound wide open, and maybe see if I can tough it out” you’ll understand why I was feeling this album. A haunting but propulsive rock ‘n roll masterpiece, these are songs that Brian Fallon seems to sing from his bones.

 

 10) Carolina, M. Ward 

This would be the Kent Austin anthem of the mix, I believe. The story of a man divided, walking backward to the place where he’s come from, “but that ain’t enough, no, you want me to run.”

 

 11)  Lines on Palms, Josh Pyke 

Another one of the “Kent” tunes, and one of the few upbeat, pop numbers in the dark mix! Josh Pyke is a wonderful Australian talent, and this is a lyrical gem. The opening lines defined Kent Austin to me.

 

12) Goodbye, The Drive-By Truckers 

Patterson Hood just doesn’t miss with me much, and he sure doesn’t on this country-tinged rocker.