Music helps me write. Whether or not I have my noise cancelling headphones on while I work, or whether I’m alone and can blast it, I usually have something playing in the background somewhere.
I’m always fascinated by the idea that a book could have a certain “playlist.” Certain songs, old or new come to mind and become the anthem of different characters. Many of the songs I picked for this book were more current than vintage, which is unusual for me. As I wrote The Rush’s Edge, specific songs became attached to the characters for me. Here’s a list of them.
Hal was my favorite character of the book. His whole life he’s been programmed to fight the enemy and protect the natural borns in his care. So naturally, these songs found their way onto my playlist.
- “Gladiator” by Zade Wolf was a natural choice and discovered early on in my crafting of Hal’s character and background. It had a strong beat the very start that made it a “Hal’s on the rush” sort of song. The chorus says it all, “Picked a fight with the gods, I’m the giant slayer. Boneshaker, dominator, Freight train, wrecking ball, I’m the gladiator.” If anyone’s a wrecking ball, it’s Hal.
- “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes is a great one for obvious reasons. When Hal makes up his mind on something, no one is going to change it. Except maybe Ty and Vivi.
- Another “Hal’s on the rush song” was “Start a Riot” by Duckwrth and Shaboozey from the Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse soundtrack. “What’s Up Danger” from that same soundtrack wasn’t a bad Hal song either. I listened to both of those a lot, especially when writing a fight scene.
- “Run Wild” by Thutmose & NoMBe was another great one. If this isn’t a Hal song, I don’t know what is.
- “Veteran of the Psychic Wars” by Blue Oyster Cult was another one that seemed to fit Hal and probably Ty as well. They’ve certainly been through some things at the hands of the ACAS.
Ty was a little harder to pin down. I think I’m still putting his character together every time I write him.
- “Heavy and Rolling” by Mark Ronson is a song about a guy and his car, but I think it could just as easily be about Ty and the Loshad. I think, for Ty, the Loshad is about him being free from allowing anyone decide how his life (and Hal’s) is going to go. I imagine when Ty left the ACAS, found Hal again and they started salvaging, he was pretty weary of life in general. The freedom of being with his best friend and having the Edge at their feet had to be “a way to move his weary soul” to quote the song.
- “Everything is Broken” by Bob Dylan is another Ty song. From his point of view, the Coalition is a broken thing. All those dreams he had when he was younger to be a part of the ACAS and have his service mean something have been broken. It’s not that Ty is a pessimist, but he’s seen what the universe can do to vats and everyone else and it’s not good. He’s determined to protect the family he’s got from whatever shit the universe is going to throw at them, and in that way, he and Hal are amazingly alike.
- “Things Have Changed” by Bob Dylan also exemplifies Ty’s attitude. He’s seen a lot in his time in the ACAS and by taking Hal with him on the Loshad, he’s decided to get what peace he can for the two of them.
Vivi’s songs are a little more complex because her character is more that meets the eye at first. Vivi’s been pretty sheltered her whole life in the Inner Spiral, but she learns a lot about life through her experiences with Ty and Hal. While Hal is on his own journey to be a hero and fully realize his own potential, Vivi’s got to shake off her sheltered upbringing and painful past to realize what she can be. So the book is about Vivi’s journey as well as Hal’s. The very fact that she’s able to open up and trust Hal after her history says a lot about her inner strength.
- “I Can’t Lose” by Mark Ronson is a song that became Vivi’s from the first. On this one, I just can’t explain why, except that maybe it’s connected to her love for Hal and how it makes her feel to be around him.
- “Summer’s Gone” by Thutmose and NoMBe. This song is Vivi’s because it’s all the things she hopes to show Hal in the brief time they’re going to have together. The reason I think they’re such a great couple is that Hal is innocent about what it means to love someone, and Vivi, through her experience, has the knowledge to bring him along and open up a deeper world of feelings to him. Hal doesn’t understand love, but Vivi’s determined to show him what it means to love and be loved in the time they have together. If you listen to the song, you’ll see what I mean.
- “Who Wants to Live Forever?” by Queen. The reason why is obvious if you’ve read the book.
Other groups/songs inspired me as well. It’s no surprise that the amazing group Rush is on the list. Here are a few:
- “Busted and Blue” Gorillaz
- “Tomorrow Comes Today” Gorillaz
- “Demolition Man” The Police
- “Too Much Information” The Police
- “Under the Milky Way” The Church
- “Underground” Men at Work
- “Dreamline” Rush
- “Superconductor” Rush
- “Working Man” Rush
- “Show Don’t Tell” Rush
- “Force Ten” Rush
- “Don’t Stop Me Now” Queen
- “I Want it All” Queen