Long before iPods and the days of the dear, departed Sony Walkman, it was clear that life – all our lives – had a soundtrack. What is Desert Island Discs but the soundtrack of a life? Couples have “their song” and a few of us have decided what we’d like played at our funerals. One song caught by chance on the radio and there you are, right back in school or out on the awful date you were sure you had forgotten.
Books, however, can have soundtracks too. There’s a website I like called largeheartedboy.com, which happily mixes music and books and doesn’t seem to make much distinction between them. There are “note books” – discussions of particular albums – and then there’s the bit I like, “book notes”, in which authors discuss the music that plays behind their latest work.
It is easy for me to choose a soundtrack for my novel – the music is why I wrote it in the first place. Seizure is the story of a woman and a man in the present day, or at least it is for the most part; but the heart of the book lies in stories I’ve heard over and over again, in many different versions and across many years. The stories are found in songs whose plots might seem like fairy tales … but remember that one of the roots of the word “fairy” might be “feral”, and that fairies didn’t used to be the icing-sugar monstrosities lately found in Toys ‘R’ Us….