On last year’s blog tour for The Marian, one of my favorite posts I got to do was a playlist post over on BookCrushin. I got to talk about music that I like while simultaneously discussing different themes in my book, and it was awesome. As I prepare for the release of the next book in the trilogy, called The Hunted, I thought it would be fun to put together a similar post.
So here we go:
The Ongoing Concept – Soul
The Ongoing Concept is a wild band to listen to. At their heart, they’re a metalcore band (or some other version of hardcore or metal…please forgive me, Metal Genre Police), but their music also heavily features elements of southern rock, glam rock, bluegrass, pop, and even honky tonk on occasion. I’ve always liked books that play with genre the way The Ongoing Concept does in their music. Stephen King’s Dark Tower series is one of my favorite examples of this. It has bits of science fiction, western, horror, fantasy, and plenty of post-apocalypse sprinkled throughout. I like art that pushes the edges of genre, and I hope The Marian Trilogy has done a little bit of that with its combination of science fiction, supernatural thriller, and pirate adventure.
I chose this particular Ongoing Concept song because of its repeated lyric “I sold my soul to the devil.” No one goes quite that far in The Hunted, but…well, that’s probably enough information for now.
Remedy Drive – Under the Starlight
I wasn’t very deep into The Hunted when I really started wrestling with the concept of violence in young adult fiction. I wrote a whole long-winded blog about it (which you can read here), but the gist of it is that I think young adult authors need to be careful with the stories we tell. So often, young adult fiction shows teenagers going through some incredibly heavy stuff, but it all feels so cool and glamorous. We see teenagers exposed to government corruption, forced to kill before they can shave, and, of course, trapped in the middle of love triangles. I’m not saying these elements are bad – in fact, many of the teenage characters in my own Marian Trilogy are forced to kill – but I am saying we as young adult authors need to really think about what we’re putting our characters through and how that’ll affect them.
In The Hunted, I really tried to lean into the theme of young people wrestling with all the death around them. To reflect this theme, I’ve chosen a song off Remedy Drive’s fantastic album Commodity, a project written about frontman David Zach’s efforts with The Exodus Road to end human trafficking. This song in particular talks about child soldiers, which I thought was appropriate in view of the young adult action genre.
Abandon Kansas – The Chase
Okay, maybe the lyrics don’t match up perfectly here. This song is about love and only wanting what you can’t have, while The Hunted is about a crew of water smugglers on the run from the government and mercenaries…but hey. Both concepts involve a chase. Plus, this is a sweet song and a great band. Fantastic live performance, too.
Violents – Where We Are Now
I chose this song less for its lyrics and more for the overall concept of the project. The constant thread for Violents is producer Jeremy Larson, who’s played keyboard for Mutemath and handled string arrangements for Switchfoot, Sleeping at Last, and others. He’s released four EPs under the moniker Violents, and each one features a different female vocalist. It’s that intentional spirit that put this song on the list for me.
I’ve been realizing how male-dominated my fiction is lately. Men make the most sense to me, so my go-to when writing a new character is to make him a dude. I’ve been working on changing that in a way that feels natural and not forced. I remember reading someone who recommended occasionally choosing a male character in your book and seeing how it impacts the dynamic to reimagine him as a woman. Since The Marian was already published when I started thinking about this, I couldn’t do it with any of the existing characters. Instead, when it came time to write a new character for The Hunted, I tried this exercise. I’ve gotta say, it went really well. This character has ended up being one of my favorites to write.
The Overseer – Depraved
I really like the chorus in this song: “Everyone’s loved, but nobody’s lovely / Everyone’s low, but nobody’s lowly / Everyone blames but nobody’s blameless / Everyone shames but nobody’s shameless / Everyone’s used but nobody’s useless.” Those lyrics sum up so well the brokenness and and messiness I try to give my characters. They bring up themes of…
Aw, forget it. I chose this song because it sounds really cool, and if these books somehow get turned into movies, I’d love to see this song used in a trailer.
So there you have it. A very brief playlist for The Hunted. It’s set to release on August 17, and you can find links to preorder it here. If you haven’t read The Marian yet, go check it out here. I’ll be offering both books for 99 cents apiece until the end of August, so if it’s been your lifelong dream to purchase over 700 pages’ worth of post-apocalyptic pirate madness, now is your chance.