A lot of people have asked me about my writing process. What shapes my craft? Why write? How do I find the ruddy time? I’m not sure there’s a succinct equation which explains how I do it. There are some answers here but in terms of genre, I’ve always known I wanted to write stories that relate to the experience of being in the thick of modern life. I only write at night like a little owl. This means I’m always in my pyjamas. I like to drink green tea and I keep notes on timeline and character names in a Moleskine notebook. But when I’m sat there in the darkness on my own, trying to stay focussed and authorly and not be distracted by the Sky box and the contents of the biscuit jar, I listen to music. So, here is my music blog – a rundown of some of my writing playlist, the whys and whos and the stories behind each song. I’m not a music journo and my tastes are a bit questionable so don’t judge.
1) Ben Howard – Only Love. I fricking love Ben Howard. He’s a British singer-songwriter with a voice that haunts your soul, breaks your heart and gives you a great big hug all at the same time. I want to be one of his guitars. I frequently play Every Kingdom on loop.
2) Coldplay – Sparks. Before Chris Martin met Gwynnie, gave up meat and started wearing neon trainers, he was charmingly awkward with hair like a sea sponge. He had obviously had his heart trampled on a few times too. Sparks was from the Parachutes album which was released when I was at university and so was the soundtrack to my lovelife at Bristol. I remember every word to that album but sadly, very little of my degree content.
3) Nick Drake – Northern Sky. Ned introduced me to Nick Drake and he quickly became a firm favourite. This was the song playing when John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale finally see each other at the end of the movie, Serendipity. We also played it at our wedding.
‘I never felt magic crazy as this I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea I never held emotion in the palm of my hand Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree But now you’re here Brighten my northern sky.’
4) Lily Allen – The Fear (acoustic). Are you judging me yet? Lily is awesome, I don’t care what you say. I’ve always found her sweet and endearing and her lyrics make me laugh. I also appreciate anyone of a reasonable register. Worse thing is when you’re singing along to Beyonce and she makes you sound like a squawking cockatoo.