The Music of Our Literary Worlds
Every movie has a soundtrack. Each scene is brought to life by the tunes playing in the background during a fight, a love scene, or the climactic ending. Books can be the same in that regard. When I write, I have my headphones on and I’m rocking out to whatever metal song comes out of the shuffle. There may be some rock, but metal is my poison.
When I wrote The Calling, I had to step back and think about the time period I was writing in. The novella isn’t set in the present, so I had to try to go with what the sounds of the time were. Most of the year was dominated by pop and the birth of Nu Metal, but here are the ten songs I put on a track list and why they helped me to set the mood for The Calling.
- Aerosmith – Living on the Edge: I love Aerosmith and I felt this was a good song to listen to in the book’s opening chapter. Ashley has to come face-to-face with the entity she’d been running from, living on the edge since she escaped it the last time.
- Soundgarden – Fell on Black Days: I miss Chris Cornell already and this song is Frank Hill during the entire book. He never seems to be in a good spot as White Creek’s sheriff and the events of the book really fit with the vibe of the song.
- Slayer – Serenity in Murder: Something is killing people in White Creek and when I got to places where a death was about to happen, I put this on to set my mood. I can imagine the killer would like this song too. It is dark and moody with a good kick to the teeth.
- Tom Petty – Mary Jane’s Last Dance: There is a scene with some death and this is the song I heard playing in the car as people died. There seems to be a theme here…
- Nine Inch Nails – Hurt: This is another song I had in mind for Frank while he sits alone on Thanksgiving Day. Over all, I wanted the reader to feel the isolation and responsibility Frank puts on himself to protect White Creek and how those same feelings influence his decisions later in the book.
- BlackHawk – Every Once and a While: Telly’s sits on the outer edge of the town and is really a blue-collar bar where the workers of the town go to drink beer and listen to some country music on the jukebox. This was a song from around the same time and brought back all kinds of high school memories.
- Garth Brooks – The Night Will Only Know: This was the other song I picked for Telly’s and if you listen to it the second time Carl visits the bar, you get a sense of where things are heading. While released in 1993; this song was a favorite of mine too because of how dark the song is and really nobody has a happy ending in it either.
- Queensryche – I am I: The guys from Queensryche are another of my favorite bands and this song is a perfect one for the book. Who are we? Well, I am I and I can be nothing else but I. The book deals with identity and how we can only be what we are intended to be in the end. We can run and hide from our true nature, but somehow, the real us comes out in the end.
- Warren G featuring Nate Dogg – Regulate: When I imagined Prater being out on patrol in the book, I heard him listening to this song and trying to rap along with it. Of course, he does a horrible job, but it helps him get through those cold nights in White Creek.
- Megadeth – A Tout Le Monde: When they released this song in 1994, the video was banned from MTV because they thought the song represented suicide. The song is more about coming to the end of your life and saying goodbye with dignity and respect for those being left behind. There are many journeys ending in The Calling, but for Frank Hill, his life is only now beginning. I felt this was the perfect song for him to have playing in the background when he says his last goodbyes in the end.
So, if you have some of these tunes handy, listen to them while you read the book and see if you agree with how they were used in my head. Maybe someday we’ll be able to watch the movie adaptation together and listen to the same songs on the big screen. I like soundtracks…
The Calling – Brent Abell
Carl Volker has a problem. After waking one morning with a hangover to find his wife gone, he notices a crow stalking around his yard. As days go by with no word from his wife, more and more crows gather.
Frank Hill is sheriff in the seemingly pleasant town of White Creek. Up until recently, his job has been fairly mundane but after a recent spree of murders, bodies are beginning to pile up and Frank has no clue as to who the killer may be.
White Creek has kept its secrets hidden well over the years but the sins of its past are coming to light; the town harbors an evil and the bindings that keep it in check are beginning to unravel.
As Frank and Carl’s friendship is tested and their destinies are revealed, the dead accumulate while the crows watch and The Calling begins!
Brent Abell lives in Southern Indiana with his wife, sons, and a pug who sits around eating the souls of wayward people. His stories have been featured in over 30 publications from multiple presses. His work includes his novella In Memoriam, collection Wicked Tales for Wicked People, and novel Southern Devils; which are available now. He also co-authored the horror-comedy Hellmouth series. Currently, he is working on the second book in the Southern Devils series and the next book with Frank Hill in the White Creek Saga.
Facebook: Brent T. Abell