Blow by Ke$ha
I probably listened to this song 100 times while writing Spark. It’s about a dance party, but the music is so penetrating that I’d turn off all the lights in the middle of the night, blast the song in my headphones, and write Gabriel’s fire scenes. Something about the electronic music behind the lyrics reminded me of fire alarms, and the intensity of the song kept the adrenaline going.
What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger) by Kelly Clarkson
I’m a firm believer that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and Layne would feel the same way. This is totally a girl power song. Layne would love it.
We Are Young by fun.
This song is all about being young and taking the world by storm. When I wrote the final scene between Gabriel and Layne, I imagined this song playing in the background.
Stereo Hearts by Gym Class Heroes featuring Adam Levine
This is one of the sweetest songs I’ve ever heard, and I think it perfectly captures the romance between Layne and Gabriel.
Everybody by Ingrid Michaelson
This song is all about falling in love, and it’s completely innocent and lighthearted, and believe it or not, this song was my backdrop for writing about Hannah and Michael. (Don’t tell Michael. He’d be pissed.)
Good Feeling by Flo Rida
This song just makes me want to dance and gets my pulse going. Great backdrop for the action scenes.
Without You by David Guetta featuring Usher
Another romantic song that makes me swoon for Layne and Gabriel
Love Bites by Def Leppard
This is one of my favorite songs of all time, because it perfectly captures the pain of first love.
Your Guardian Angel by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
This song is a power ballad, and it works for both Layne and Gabriel. I think they’d both say that the other is their guardian angel, don’t you think?
Mean by Taylor Swift
This song is all about standing up to bullies—and I must have listened to it on repeat about a hundred times, right along with Blow.
When She Turns 18 by Christian TV
If there’s ever a perfect song for a boy telling off the father of his girlfriend, this is it.
Start a Fire by Ryan Starr
This could be Gabriel’s theme song.
You’re Gonna Go Far Kid by The Offspring
This song is angry and intense and challenging and is exactly the kind of thing I’d expect Gabriel to blast in his headphones.
Something Beautiful by NeedToBreathe
This song is the theme song for The Elemental Series. Any time I need inspiration for a book, I start with this song.
Some Nights by fun.
Any time I write a book, there’s a song that kind of kicks it off for me, and gets me in the mood for that character. With Spirit, I didn’t have a song that was talking to me. I’d listen to old music, write a chapter, scratch my head, and write a little more, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I asked for lots of song suggestions on Twitter, and while there were tons of great suggestions (many of which made it into this playlist), none of them really fit Hunter. Then I heard Some Nights by fun., and I knew I had Hunter’s theme song. Every word fits.
Home by Philip Phillips
So this was the first year I didn’t watch American Idol. (Brigid, meet deadline.) I didn’t know about Philip Phillips until everyone else already did. But the instant I heard this song, I knew it would be part of the playlist for Spirit. I had a discussion with Alicia (my amazing editor), during which I was discussing some plot choices, and I said, “This book isn’t about Hunter finding romance. It’s about Hunter finding himself.” Hunter just needed a little guidance to get there, and this song really reminds me of his relationship with Michael.
50 Ways to Say Goodbye by Train
This song is catchy and clever and dark and hilarious, and for some reason, it reminds me of Hunter’s relationship with Kate.
Blow Me (One Last Kiss) by Pink
Heh. I love this song. Pink is a total badass. Or as Kristin Feliz would say, a BAMF. Totally makes me think of Kate.
The Fighter by Gym Class Heroes feat. Ryan Tedder
This is totally the perfect song for gearing yourself up for something difficult. Fits the book, and totally fits my life. Love it.
Cupid Shuffle by Cupid
This song has nothing to do with the book. But for some reason, I downloaded it, and I couldn’t stop listening to it while writing Spirit. Look, they’re not all going to be cool songs, okay? (But come on. You want to do the dance now, don’t you? Down down, do your dance…)
Give Your Heart a Break by Demi Lovato
I just loved this song the first time I heard it. It’s so unusual to hear a song sung by a woman, promising not to hurt a guy. It’s a ballad (sort of), and I loved the turnabout. Perfectly fit Hunter and Kate’s story.
Don’t You Worry Child by Swedish House Mafia
I didn’t hear this song until Spirit was in edits, but I found myself with a lot of necessary revisions, and this song totally fit the mood. Fast, driving beat, and absolutely perfect lyrics for Hunter.
Shake It Out by Florence + the Machine
Usually I listen to songs by Florence + the Machine, and I have no idea what they’re about. I just listen and like them. This song is no different, but the song moves me and made me think about Kate differently, letting me soften her edges. So in that way, I’d say this is Kate’s song.
My Oh My by Tristan Prettyman
Oh, this song has Kate and Hunter written all over it. Kate knows who she is and what she wants, and then she meets Hunter, and ends up questioning everything she thought she knew. (And Tristan Prettyman has an awesome voice!)
“Demons” by Imagine Dragons
While I had many songs that fired up my imagination for Adam and Quinn’s dance routine, this one seems to have stuck in my head. It’s so perfect for all the relationships explored in the book.
“Hey Pretty Girl” by Kip Moore
The first time I heard this song on the radio, I took a snapshot of my XM display so I could remember to buy it on iTunes. I knew it was going to be in this playlist, right from the first listen. Rough, raspy, sexy voice? Swoon-worthy lyrics? I mean, come on. This is the song I imagine Tyler playing for Quinn on his porch, the first night they spend together.
“Same Love” by Macklemore feat. Ryan Lewis
Many, many people suggested that I listen to this song when they found out what I was writing about. I loved it from the first listen. What a fantastic message. What a fantastic melody. I love every word.
“Cough Syrup” by Young the Giant
This song is simply … amazing. If you’re a Glee fan, it’s the song that Blaine sings while Kurofsky is contemplating suicide after he’s unfortunately outed at school. It’s a powerful song, and I listened to it on repeat a dozen times while writing some of the more intense scenes with Nick and Adam.
“Get Your Shine On” by Georgia Florida Line
How can anyone not like this song? It’s so summertime-good-feeling. “Slide that little sugar-shaker over here…” Totally reminds me of Tyler and Quinn.
“Follow Your Arrow” by Kacey Musgraves
This song is all about being who you are and not letting other people’s expectations draw your life map. I should have had Adam play it on repeat for Nick.
“#thatPOWER” by will.i.am feat. Justin Bieber
This song really doesn’t have much to do with the book. I just listened to it about three bazillion times while writing. There were many times I wanted to get up and start dancing at Starbucks, just listening to this song.
“Bruises” by Train, feat. Ashley Monroe
I love this song the first time I heard it. When Adam is teaching dance class, this is the song I imagine him using.
“Brave” by Sara Bareilles
If you haven’t heard this song, you need to go listen to it immediately. Go on. I’ll wait. It’s all about standing up to bullying, and it’s amazing.
“Stubborn Love” by The Lumineers
This song completely reminds me of Tyler and Quinn. You need to listen to understand.
“All This Time” by One Republic
I actually first heard this song on a YouTube video for a girl who owned a horse that everyone said was a complete waste of time, but she ended up training him and riding him all the way through to her B rating in Pony Club. (That’s a big deal. Really.) It’s a moving song that really makes me think of Nick and Adam, first, but also of Nick’s relationship with Gabriel.