Music was very important to me in setting scenes, developing characters, and even inspiring certain backstory elements. The folksongs and the classical pieces featured in this nineteenth century story are in keeping with the time period; however, the songs with the most influence on my writing are contemporary, relating to the timeless themes of yearning, love, loneliness, bitterness, and redemption. I provide this list as a fun side note, knowing full well that the musical tastes of my readers will vary greatly.
CLIFF OF THE RUIN SPOILER ALERT: Italicized annotations reveal parts of the story’s plotline.
Inspiration for Mae: “Spell” - Marié Digby I listened to this song over and over again as I wrote the scene in Chapter 4 where Mae is mysteriously drawn to Kieran. “Pietá, Signoré” by Louis Niedermeyer - performed by Andrea Bocelli The ship’s orchestra performs this aria the first night of the voyage, when Mae remembers Kieran. A stirring piece of music, especially the first half. “Élérgie” by Jules Massenet - performed by Joshua Bell Played the final night of the voyage. Dream-like and sad. Fit the sleeping dinner scene very well.
Inspiration for Will: “One Moment Away” - The Afters HBO played this for one of their promos. Had “Will” all over it. “Hamburg Song” – Keane Lyrics beautifully encapsulate Will’s strength, selflessness, love. “I’m Outta Time” – Oasis “Never Alone” – BarlowGirl
Inspiration for Kieran: “Sleep” - My Chemical Romance This song, more than any, helped me get into Kieran’s head, tapping into the anger, bitterness, hopelessness, maybe even a yearning for rescue. “Heaven Help Us (B-Side)” - My Chemical Romance “(Stranded on) The Wrong Beach” - Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds “Were You at the Rock” - Aine Minogue This haunting piece is what I imagined for Mae’s Burren dream (featuring Kieran) in Chapter 28.
Ireland, 1879: “Skibbereen” (folksong) - performed by The Kells A portion sung by Fingal in Chapter 26. “The Foggy Dew” (folksong) - performed by A.L. Lloyd Played at the pub with Will, Aaron and Fingal in Chapter 27. Obviously mirrors an aspect of Mae and Will’s relationship.
The waltz Mae and Will dance to at Deirdre’s wedding: In Chapter 4, Will asks for a Waltz by Johannes Brahams—which would be “Waltz Opus 39 No. 15”. Prettier and less jarring than most nineteenth century waltzes.
Overall themes of trust and hope: “Run” - Addison Road “Where the lost souls make a beautiful sound.” Love it. “Never Alone” - BarlowGirl