For me, creating a playlist for a story is a fundamental part of the writing process. And I usually have to make two. The first is for writing with which contains a lot of instrumental pieces from movies/tv shows/games with similar vibes. And the second is a short one with a few songs that serve almost as a soundtrack.
And for THE BREATH BETWEEN WAVES these ten songs were chosen for specific reasons:
- “Dying to Live” by Edgar Winter—“why am I dying to live, if I’m just living to die?”—this song is one of the first I picked, mostly because I feel it perfectly captures how the main character, Penelope, feels during the sinking. It starts off with an almost hopeless feel before evolving into a desire to keep fighting, to keep living, and enjoy life for what it is. And I have this scene of this song playing, a little slower with a soprano, as Titanic
- “Come Josephine, In My Flying Machine” by Máire Brennan—“balance yourself like a bird on a beam”—this song is the only song that also appears in the famous movie. And it’s that version I use too because there’s something so haunting about the way it is sung a cappella with words from the movie interspersed. It was also a song popular during the time and was played by the bands aboard Titanic, which helped me place myself in that time period.
- “Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow” by Freddie Mercury—“This is our last goodbye, and very soon it will be over”—the reason this song is included is because it not only covers Penelope when she first boards Titanic, having to give up everything she knows, but it is how she and Ruby view their affair. They believe that, once they step off Titanic they won’t see each other again. Of course, circumstances mean that doesn’t happen, but it was important to have something that captures how both girls feel about their relationship before the fateful crash alters everything.
- “Days of the Ring/“Into the West” (feat. Annie Lennox)” by Howard Shore—“Soon you will see all of your fears will pass away”—Lord of the Rings is always a go to for the instrumental playlist but there was something about this one I couldn’t leave there. Annie Lennox’s voice is hauntingly beautiful and the imagery just seems to fit Penelope and Ruby as well. It seems to fit after Titanic has sunk and Caparthia has arrived to rescue the survivors. And then how it fades from the lyrical part into the instrumental section is perfect.
- “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel—“Your time has come to shine, all your dreams are on their way”—now this song was mostly self indulgent because it is one of those songs that always makes me emotional. And I needed that while writing this book. But I also feel like it does capture the relationship between Penelope and Ruby. How things started from a fleeting relationship to them willing to lay down their lives for each other.
- “I Want Love” by Elton John—“I want love, just a different kind”—the reason behind this is purely because I a) like the song and b) thought it sort of fit the girls since they’re both lesbians in a time when it wasn’t acceptable to be open about that and the song seems to capture that. Just like the previous one, this rather helped get me get in the right mindset, rather than inspiring a certain scene.
- “Loch Lomond” by Runrig—“you take the high road and I’ll take the low road”—now this song was included because it was also apart of the music played aboard Titanic but also because Penelope, the main character, is Scottish and she really doesn’t want to leave Scotland for America. It’s also just a really good song and always puts me in a good mood.
- “The Story” by Sara Ramirez—“They don’t know what I’ve been through like you do”—for this song, it’s almost like the epilogue, which is why it’s last. For me, it’s the perfect song for the reunion on Caparthia. There’s just something about the rawness in Sara Ramirez’s voice that is made for Penelope and Ruby after everything they’ve been through, but how they’re still together.
And that’s it! These eight songs are ones I feel perfectly capture key points and the overall mood of THE BREATH BETWEEN WAVES. And the playlist can be found here.
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