So you can read my books

Saturday, July 20, 2013


O the dragons are gonna fly tonight
They're circling low and inside tonight
It's another round in the losing fight
Out along the great divide tonight

We are aging soldiers in an ancient war
Seeking out some half remembered shore
We drink our fill and still we thirst for more
Asking if there's no heaven what is this hunger for?

Our path is worn
 our feet are poorly shod
We lift up our prayer against the odds
And fear the silence is the voice of God

Emmylou Harris - The Pearl

Throughout THE END OF DAYS, the lyrics of THE PEARL occur to the characters. 
Some even sing the above lyrics -- although since I am not independently wealthy, I could not put those lyrics in the book and audiobook.   I just referred to them. 
And Francene Lockhart was extremely grateful --
since she did not have to sing them!
Do song lyrics speak to any of the characters or actions in your novels?
Sorrow is constant and the joys are brief
The seasons come and bring no sweet relief
Time is a brutal but a careless thief
Who takes our lot but leaves behind the grief

It is the heart that kills us in the end
Just one more broken bone that cannot mend
As it was now and ever shall be amen
Music is a powerful influence, affecting us emotionally, physically, mentally -- even moving us at a molecular level.

Many writers employ music in their novels as a way of communicating emotions beyond words, or to encourage consistency in character, tone, and language.

Music in fiction can create the mood of a time,

like John Updike's Rabbit Run, set in the late 1950s,

or it can influence the structure of a novel like James Joyce's Ulysses.

Music has also played a major role in British literature, with Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, George Eliot and Ian McEwan among the writers who have used music in their work.

Music is so much a part of our lives that its presence in literature can help readers relate to fictional situations and characters.

Also, characters who love music are often creative people (as is the case with real-life music lovers),

and creative people tend to be quite interesting. 

Victor Standish is such a person as Alice Wentworth discovers as he shares her mind in END OF DAYS.

In addition, music can give us insights into what makes protagonists tick:

What do they listen to?

Do they also sing, write tunes and/or play an instrument?

Does music set off Casablanca-like memories in the minds of fictional characters (as music can do in the minds of real-life readers)?

Music's jogging of memory is quite profound in James Joyce's "The Dead."

That magnificent short story gets really interesting when Gretta Conroy hears a song that sparks a melancholy recollection of a major event in her youth.

She subsequently discusses this with her kind-of-stunned husband Gabriel,

and readers are reminded

that we often don't know everything about the people we're closest to.

Then there are novels in which music is mentioned even if it's not the major theme:

Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice features this quoted-in-part line: "A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music..."

James Baldwin's searing Go Tell It on the Mountain includes a scene in which teen John Grimes unenthusiastically listens to lively church music -- not feeling the religious calling he's supposedly destined for.

Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife has scenes in Chicago punk-rock clubs that make readers want to dust off their 30-year-old Clash albums.

Ragtime great Scott Joplin is referenced in E.L. Doctorow's Ragtime (no surprise given that novel's title).

Rap music, classical music and "oldies but goodies" make their aural appearances in Terry McMillan's Waiting to Exhale.

So when it came to me telling the tale of one rag-tag band of young and old champions of the light raging the last fight against the darkness, music just seemed the thing to include.

Besides, there really is a battle with flying dragons by a lone Blackhawk helicopter in END OF DAYS

What are your favorite works of fiction with some or many musical elements?


  1. The Hobbit has singing in it.
    Music is important to me while writing, but so far only once has any music made its way into a story. (It was during a festival scene.)

  2. Alex:
    And what is a festival without music?