posted on May 19, 2020 by N.J. Walters

How Music Inspires My Writing

It’s no secret that most authors fall into two camps—music while writing or silence. I fall into the silence category. If I hear a song, I’m humming or singing. Way too distracting. I need the quiet to be able to hear my characters speak.

That doesn’t mean I’m not inspired by it. Just the opposite. Great melodies or guitar riffs can make our souls sing or move us to tears. Lyrics are like poetry—they make us think, maybe consider new ideas. Sometimes they’re just plain fun. I’ve had many theme songs for the various books and series I’ve written over the years.

When I first heard the song “Wrong Side of Heaven” by Five Finger Death Punch, I knew it was the theme song for a series I’d been wanting to write for some time. The line from the song, “I’m on the wrong side of heaven, but the righteous side of hell” really struck a chord.

Anyone who is familiar with my writing knows I have a soft spot for wounded heroes. I can’t seem to help myself. They’re dark, brooding males with some tragic event in their pasts—often a betrayal of some kind—that haunts them in the present and leaves them with a whole lot of trust issues.

The whole premise of my new series evolved from the question: Who do paranormals call when they needed to put down a dangerous member of their own kind? Cue the Forgotten Brotherhood, a group of paranormal assassins. Even among their own kind, whether it be angel, vampire, or shifter, they’re considered different, dangerous. They’re not the monsters lurking under the bed. They’re the ones that kill them.

Like the song lyrics says, “They’re on the wrong side of heaven, but the righteous side of hell.” They kill only those that truly deserve it, protecting humankind as well as other paranormals. But make no mistake, they are all stone-cold killers. Their code is simple: Kill only those that truly deserve it and let their gods sort them out. Kill them before they kill you. Never, ever betray a fellow assassin.

FURY UNLEASHED, the first book in the series, features Maccus Fury—fallen angel turned immortal assassin, and the leader of the Forgotten Brotherhood. Yup, that’s betrayal at its worst. Cast from heaven by someone he thought was a friend, he fought his way out of Hell and now wants nothing more than to be left alone. Morrigan Quill is one of Hell’s bounty hunters. She’s been sent on a suicide mission—kill Maccus. Stuck in the middle of a deadly game between Heaven and Hell, they join forces to uncover the truth, even knowing one of them must die. This is not your ordinary love story, but it’s theirs. Both main characters are complex, their motivation rich. Their distrust for each other exists alongside the sexual attraction that simmers whenever they’re close.

The second book, ARCTIC BITE, features a polar bear shifter who is much more than he seems. Alexei Medvedev is huge and quiet. Most people assume he’s all muscle and none too bright. Big mistake! As he likes to say, he’s the total bear package—strength and determination mixed with a keen intellect and curiosity. He’s tracked Cassie Dobbs to a remote bar in small-town Alaska, where this hot-as-hell Reaper is casually serving drinks, as if she doesn’t have a bounty on her head from Death himself. Alexei is dangerously intrigued, but everyone in the Brotherhood knows you don’t fall for your target.

There will be at least two more books in the series. The next features Asher, a vampire with an addiction to reality television who shows up in book one. Like the rest, he’s more dangerous than he seems. I’ve used Annie Lennox’s song “Love Song for a Vampire” as inspiration before (in a 2006 book titled Stefan’s Salvation) but broke it out again for this one. As deadly as Asher is, for as dark as his past has been, he deserves love. And who better to find it with than a vampire hunter. How can he not be drawn to a woman who tries to kill him?

I often go down the rabbit hole of YouTube, discovering artists and songs I’ve never heard before. While I’ll never be able to listen to music while I write, I’m always on the lookout for that next song that will speak to my heart and inspire the next book or series.

Do you have a song suggestions that might inspire me? Let me know in the comments section for a chance to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card.

N. J. Walters

N. J. Walters

N.J. Walters has always been a voracious reader of romance novels and decided one day that she could write one as well. The contemporary story, Discovering Dani, was the very first novel she wrote while living in a little town much like the one Dani O'Rourke lives in, though all other similarities to Dani's life pretty much end there. Then she wrote another one that followed up on Dani's friends and neighbors. But she didn't consider herself a "real" writer yet. Just a few years later N. J. had a mid-life crisis at a fairly young age, gave notice after ten years at her job on a Friday and received a tentative acceptance for her first published novel (an erotic romance) from a publisher on the following Sunday. Happily married for over eighteen years to the love of her life, with his encouragement and support she gave up the job of selling books for the more pleasurable job of writing them. She now spends her days writing, reading and reviewing books. It's a tough life, but someone's got to do it. And some days she actually feels like a "real" writer.

11 thoughts on “How Music Inspires My Writing”

  1. Thank you for having me here at Writerspace!

  2. Avatar Sandra Crocco says:

    Type O Negative is a group that is dark. I love the voice of the lead singer. Unfortunately the lead singer is dead now and there is no longer a group.

  3. Avatar Tracy says:

    I have a whole bunch of artists that’ll be new to you! For a fun, upbeat song, try Amy Gerhartz-It Ain’t You, It’s The Whiskey. If you’re looking for an inspirational song (not religious), try The Alternate Routes-Nothing More (I have the lyrics from this song tattooed on my arm, it’s that good). Amy Gerhartz also has another of my favorites, it’s called Enough, and it’s about standing up and saying “Enough” to all the impossible expectations we have as women. Melodime-Halo is a great one as well. None of these are rock songs, though. If you’re more into that, try my friends Welshly Arms-Legendary. Bluesy, rocking song, and Brianna (backup singer) has one of th he best voices I’ve heard in years, plus, she’s an amazing human being….

  4. Avatar Mary Dellenbusch says:

    I think songs can very much inspire ones writing. I have a favorite of mine by Annie Lennox which you already have listed. It’s called Love Song for a Vampire. Very beautiful and tragic at the same time. I personally love all her songs but this one is my favorite. Another song that gives me chills because it’s so close to the truth of what I really want is by The Tenors. Who Wants to Live forever. This song was also in the show called The Highlander with the two immortals who would fight and if one lost he or she would gain their powers. Very powerful song!! Thanks also for the chance NJ.

  5. Avatar gamistress66 says:

    i had recently come across Song of Woman by the Hu feat Lizzy Hale that I thought was inspiring — strong but haunting

  6. Not familiar with that group, Sandy. Will have to check them out.

    Thanks for all the suggestions, Tracy.

    Love that Annie Lennox song, Mary. Who Wants to Live Forever was originally a Queen song. It’s on my inspirational playlist. Great song.

    Haven’t heard that song, gamistress66, but I am familiar with the Hu. I’ll have to check it out.

  7. Avatar bn100 says:

    closer by Kings of Leon

  8. I’ll check that one out, bn100.

  9. Avatar Misty Simmonds says:

    Hi NJ. I believe u should listen to the song Unforgiven by Metallica. This lyrics are amazing! I hope u will enjoy it and be inspired!

  10. Avatar N.J. Walters says:

    Love that song, Misty!

  11. Avatar N.J. Walters says:

    Thank you to all of you who commented and shared some of the music you love.

    Thanks to random number generator, the WINNER of the $5 AMAZON Gift Card is Mary Dellenbusch. Congratulations, Mary. I’ll be contacting you about how to claim your prize.

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