When you write, it’s so important to get the background sound right, or sometimes the juices just won’t flow. I’m lucky enough to be a librarian and have a child who really enjoys taking part in children’s programming on my days off, so I get to spend a lot of time there. I was surprised to find how much the sometimes silent, sometimes loud environment worked to make the words flow. But what about the other writers involved in Love Across the Universe, which releases today?
The authors of Love Across the Universe sat down and answered a series of questions about writing, science fiction, romance, and more.
In another interview, we asked the Love Across the Universe authors to tell us some songs that would play on their story’s soundtrack, if it were to be made into a TV show or movie. In contrast to that, this question asks them what they listen to when they write—which isn’t usually the same thing.
Elsa M. Carruthers—“All B+ut You”
I think the music would be modern funk/folk music/neo soul.
M.T. DeSantis—“The Princess of Sands”
I write to relative quiet. My boyfriend and I share a workspace, so he makes noise every once in a while. But I’ve mostly learned to ignore him. Not in a bad way, though.
Traci Douglass—“A Dream to Build a Kiss On”
I LOVE my Pandora subscription. I have mine set to the instrumental or movie score channel. I always have music playing when I write, but it has to be songs without words. Weird, I know, but if I don’t then the lyrics always end up showing in my writing somehow. LOL. Once I start getting into my pages, it doesn’t much matter if it’s classical or jazz or trailer music, it all fades away anyway.
A.E. Hayes—“Tristan’s Tryst”
I usually listen to instrumental/orchestral/piano music while writing (anything with words causes me to sing along, and then, I don’t work!), especially the soundtrack to Batttlestar Galactica as well as piano concertos. But when I edit, I need silence. Actually, that’s not true: I need the sound of my voice, reading my words back to me so that I know they sound the way that I’d like them to.
Serena Jayne—“You Only Love Once”
I have been using a program called “BrainFM” on the focus mode. It plays music to stimulate brain waves. If I’m out and about in a noisy place, I listen to the same music I play when I exercise. It gets my blood pumping.
I listen to whatever music I want when I write. It does not seem to influence the story and it helps me drown out whatever else is going on around me until I start writing. I’ve had Spotify playlists turn into completely different sorts of music than what I’m normally interested in and I don’t realize it until I’ve stopped writing.
I’m not a music gal per se. I write in silence.
Cara McKinnon—“The Pirates and the Pacifist”
I write either to music (typically scores to movies/tv/video games) or white noise. I recently discovered an app called “Sunny” for iOS that has some fantastic ocean waves tracks with optional rain, bird, and music tracks that you can play over top of the waves crashing. I like mixing the waves with just a hint of rainfall and that puts me right into the writing zone.
Sheri Queen—“Red Sand”
My favorite sound is water flowing (ocean waves, rivers, waterfalls) and I like it to be in a real setting.
Mary Rogers—“Breakfast on Pluto”
I love The Thin Man, and that whole 1930’s and 1940’s age of glamour, fabulous drinks, dressing for dinner, etc. Recently we rode Amtrak from NY to California and while I know those halcyon days were gone, I wished there would be evening gowns for dinner, sidecars hanging from fingers beringed and dripping with opera gloves. I got shorts, tee shirts, and a very overworked staff, but it was lovely in my head. I guess that I write to a scene, and not a sound.
I love instrumental music to write to. For this story, though, I listened to a lot of Lana Del Rey (as I mentioned in my story soundtrack) as I wrote, as her work is very dreamy and slow and conveyed to me the feeling of floating and space. Usually I listen to a mix of classical and jazz and surreal film and television scores as I work, depending on what genre I’m working in. For writing non-fiction, it’s a lot of Dave Brubeck and Vince Guaraldi, and for fiction, I lean toward Ryuichi Sakamoto, Brian Eno, and Angelo Badalamenti. Non-fiction can be a bit dry and needs something peppier to keep me focused, whereas a lot of my fiction is slower or noir-tinged.