Warden's gramophone

It's Sunday 30 June, which means there are only 50 days until The Bone Season is published in English. I'm so happy to finally share this special milestone post with you: the soundtrack(s) to the novel.

Music is key to my writing process; I spend a lot of time with my headphones on. The pseudo-Victorian setting of The Bone Season allowed me to introduce lots of lovely old music into the narrative via the gramophone in the Founder's Tower, where Paige is forced to share a living space with her Rephaite keeper, Warden. One of the ways I try to connect the past with the future in the story is through anachronism, and weaving in some tunes from the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries helped me create an ‘old world’ atmosphere. 

In the book 

Gloomy Sunday – Billie Holiday
Danse Macabre (Jaxon's Theme) – Camille Saint-Saëns 
Did You Ever See a Dream Walking? – Bing Crosby
Mr. Sandman – The Chordettes
Molly Malone – Unknown
I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance (With You) – Frank Sinatra
It's a Sin to Tell a Lie – The Ink Spots
Komm, süßer Tod (Come, Sweet Death) – J. S. Bach 
I'll Be Home – The Flamingos
Fantaisie-Impromptu – Frédéric Chopin 
Daisy Bell (A Bicycle Built for Two) – Harry Dacre

Author's soundtrack

Anyone's Ghost – Silver Swans
Blinding (Paige's Theme) – Florence + The Machine 
Burning in the Skies – Linkin Park 
Breaking Hearts – James Vincent McMorrow
By an Ion (Nick's Theme) – Raised by Swans 
Candle – VAST
Clair Voyant – Two Steps from Hell
Distant Creatures – The Daysleepers 
Don't Fear (The Reaper) – Blue Öyster Cult 
England – The National 
Fragments of Your Imagination – Two Steps from Hell
Ghostman – Skinny Puppy
Half Asleep – School of Seven Bells 
Hear Me – Imagine Dragons 
It's the Fear – Within Temptation 
Jericho (The Sargas Family's Theme) – City of the Fallen 
Keep the Streets Empty for Me – Fever Ray  
Lifeline – Imogen Heap 
Merchant Prince – Thomas Bergersen 
Skin of the Night – M83 
Sleeping With Ghosts – Placebo 
Song for Ireland – Mary Black
The Carousel – Jerry Goldsmith
The Crane Dance (Warden's Theme) – Ludovico Einaudi 
The Host of Seraphim – Dead Can Dance
The Lion and the Wolf – Thrice
The Sword & the Pen – Regina Spektor 
The Unquiet Grave (Finn and Kay's Theme) – Steven Wilson
We are Stars – The Pierces 
World of Dreams – Future World Music 

Apart from Fantaisie-Impromptu and Komm, süßer Tod, the songs from the book are all mentioned by name. Fantaisie-Impromptu is the Chopin piece mentioned in Chapter 27 of the final version of The Bone Season – it doesn't appear in the ARC – while Komm, süßer Tod is the piece I envision being played by Warden on the organ in Chapter 26. If you have RainyMood playing in the background, you'll be listening to exactly what the scene sounds like in my head. Not all of the songs on the inspiration soundtrack were used for specific scenes – some suited the tone, or put me in mind of a particular aspect or theme (for example, The Lion and the Wolf for me is about the Rephaim and Scion) – but some of them were playing while I wrote.

Just a quick note on using music in novels: although it's fine to use the names of songs, never put lyrics in your book unless you've got [a] a really good reason and [b] legal permission. In other words, you can make up your own lyrics, but for God's sake don't use Lady Gaga's.

On the subject of book soundtracks, check out the fantastic book blog Novel Sounds, which combines book reviews with music. I'm a little bit in love with it.

See you next week!

PS: Look out for extra art teasers on my friend Leiana's art blog, The Fourth Order. She's just put up three new pictures. (Watch out for spoilers if you haven't read the book.)


  1. I love this! And happy 50 days to publication. I'm off to listen to the playlists now ;)

  2. Yay! We're at the 50 day mark :) I can't wait to read about Founder's Tower!

    1. Can't believe the next milestone is 25 days, it's gone so fast...

  3. Fantastic playlist. Some truly beautiful and inspiring songs there. Do you write whilst the music is playing? I used to do that but then I had kids, and, well, now I seem to require peace and quiet. Do you have a favourite song from that list, or one that gets played more than the others?

    1. Thanks, Melissa. I sometimes write while it's playing, yes, but sometimes I need silence. Depends on the scene and how I'm feeling.

      My favourites are 'The Crane Dance', 'Song for Ireland', 'Candle', 'The Lion and the Wolf' and 'World of Dreams'. Those probably get the most plays!

  4. Some soundtracks are really cool here! Liked the Warden's Theme. Just imagine gramophones in 2059! And Samantha, imagine your feelings just one day before release of TBS.

    You haven't updated about foreign rights news. Is the number of countries still eighteen? Also, i suggest that you should transfer your blog to the main domain before 20th Aug, to give it a more organized look!

    p.s. Just checked Leiana's art blog on TBS and her artwork is amazing. Is it official art for TBS?
    if she doesn't mind, can i feature her art on my website?

    1. Glad you liked it, Mohsin!

      The number of foreign countries is 22 or 23 now, I think. I'll do an update next week. I'm looking at transferring the blog.

      Leiana is one of my best friends and is kind enough to spend a lot of her free time working on art for TBS. While they're not 'official' drawings per se (there are no official illustrations for the book), I'm hoping Bloomsbury will help spread the word about her art, as she really captures how the characters look in my head. You'd have to ask her for permission to use the art – you can contact her via her Twitter (@l_leatutufu) or her Tumblr page.

    2. Thanks for the links. I will take her permission to feature her art.

      If you want to transfer to WordPress (best CMS platform), then it is not a problem. I know how to do it. You can easily transfer all of your blog, including Posts (published and drafts), comments, categories, images and stats, without losing anything. You can also setup current layout there.

  5. Some pretty cool stuff here. Looking forward to what the 25 day milestone is gonna be.

    Particularly fond of the Daisy Bell tune, Nat King Cole sings a version of this song which is pretty good and worth a listen. The Lion and the Wolf is another good one. Can really see what you're saying about that song relating to Scion and the Rephaim (at least from my current understanding of the nature of the relationship between the Rephaim and Scion).

    And just something that was going through my mind as I was listening...how different is the world of Scion from our own? I know it's different in terms of the clairvoyance and governments, but what about the history of the world? How much of what has happened in our time (World Wars, Cold War, etc.) has happened in The Bone Season's timeline?

    1. Hi Tyler,

      Glad you like the soundtrack! I love Daisy Bell.

      I don't want to give too much away in terms of the timeline – I'd rather explore it in the novel – but it's essentially an alternative history starting from 1859, and history is mostly unaffected outside Scion countries.

    2. Completely understand about the timeline stuff.

      On a more book/publishing related note, I had a question about book jackets. You know how on hardcover book jackets there's always a little synopsis of the book on the inside flap? Who writes those, is it the author themselves? Maybe this is better suited to the question section of one of your posts but it was just a little something that I've been wondering about.

      Thanks, Samantha

    3. I'm pretty sure my editor wrote mine, although I imagine it's a group effort within the publishing house. They then sent it to me to approve, and I made a couple of amendments.

    4. No, it's not the author. My editors wrote mine (one each for US and UK), but I was allowed to check it over.

  6. Amazing playlist! I love how a music playlist can give you a feel for a book without giving anything away.

    Less than 48 days to go :-)

  7. Just listened to Komm, süßer Tod with Rainy Mood in the background. Can't wait to read that scene in the book and how it fits into the story.

  8. This blog is really awesome. I have been going through all these how-to books and websites that offer writing advice. They all end up making me feel like I will never get my book out. Like I am doing it all wrong. None of them were half as useful as your blogs. Thank-you so much for your time and consideration. Just hope I get my book out by next year and we can be 'colleagues'. All the best for your future!

  9. For some reason "So Beautiful" by Pete Murray came to me upon completion of the book in reference to Warden and Paige. I don't mind the song but don't particularly listen to Pete Murray. Perhaps I heard it on the radio whilst reading and didn't realise! It doesn't completely fit but not altogether without sense.

  10. Love this list! Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday is a song I've imagined in your books.


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