Songs for Beautiful Ones


Some people write and they have special playlists and all kinds of elaborate stuff. I don’t. I tend to be obsessive compulsive and need to listen to the same song over and over again. I played “Sleep Walker” while writing a story exactly 25 times yesterday (wow, says my poor husband).

Therefore what follows is not a playlist exactly, it’s more a song I would associate with four of my characters. If you’ve read the book this will make sense (hopefully).


Hector is an operatic, tear-my-heart-out kind of guy. As such, there’s an obvious choice: something by Jim Steinman. Celine Dion made “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” famous, but it works just as well as a duet, with Meat Loaf and Marion Raven. You know Hector has this on his playlist on repeat: “I just have to admit that it’s all coming back to me.”


For Valerie, I thought of Annie Lennox. The obvious choice was “Walking on Broken Glass.” The video actually works visually with its period piece imagery and despondent woman, but in the end I’ve gone in a different direction: “I’m Only Happen When It Rains” by Garbage. Do you think Valerie would ever want anything to be simple? No chance on Earth. She “only smiles in the dark.”


For Nina, a soft ballad seemed like a given and there are also many poppy, happy songs to pick from which could have done the trick. I mean, Sixpence None The Richer with “Kiss Me” is Nina… and every romcom you’ve ever seen, but that’s kind of the point.

In the end, though, I discarded that idea and went for Jimmy Eat’s World and their song “Seventeen,” which contains the lyrics “It was only in your dreams but it felt like it was real.” If that doesn’t summarize Nina, I don’t know what does.


Confession time. When I was preparing to write this book I originally considered having four point of view characters. The fourth one was Luc. But because the novel would have ballooned to about 150,000 words and because his POV didn’t really intersect until halfway through, I decided not go to that way. I still miss all those scenes we might have seen of decadent urban life, though. Luc is a nightclub, drinks and gambling sort of guy. It would have been fun to experience that part of the city. Anyway, for Luc I’ve chosen Aerosmith from the early 2000s with “Jaded.” “When everything you see is a blur And ecstasy’s what you prefer.” We know, Luc. We know.


Finally, I said I don’t really have playlists.  But there was one song I was listening to on repeat for part of this book. It was Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers “Don’t Come Around Here No More.” Which I think is appropriate for more than one moment in the book.