The Soundtrack to Blood Diamond

RJBlain-BloodDiamond-Concept1I have a very strange relationship with music. I don't buy much music… but I don't listen to much music, either. I tend to buy the music I listen to. I'm far more likely to buy music directly from the artist than I am from a label, but I'll buy from a label (in form of a cd typically) if I must.

I'm an author. I like being paid for my work. Therefor, I like paying musicians for their work as well.

Blood Diamond is a really interesting book. Like my other novels, there's definitely a bit of a soundtrack for it. I sometimes use music to capture the overall theme of a story. Sometimes the sounds just work for the novel.

Unlike some of the other stories I have worked on, Blood Diamond's soundtrack is quite a bit shorter than my other novels so far.

Because of that, and because of the fact I've been asked what I listen to while I write (and why), I'm going to take the time to discuss each of the songs and why they're being used for Blood Diamond's soundtrack.

Here's a list of the songs. Scroll to see the whys to each of the songs on the soundtrack!

  1. Just Give Me a Reason: P!nk
  2. U + Ur Hand: P!nk
  3. Try: P!nk
  4. That's The Way It Is: Celine Dion
  5. Manners Maketh Man: Kingsman Soundtrack
  6. A Thousand Years: Christina Perri (Bonus: The Piano Guys version.)

Song #1: Just Give Me a Reason by P!nk

You'll notice an immediate trend: P!nk has been heavily involved with the creation of Blood Diamond, so much so that I'll be buying complete albums instead of the typical mp3 purchases I do.

In Blood Diamond, Jackson's wife died five years prior to the start of the novel along with their unborn child. This is something established fairly early in the novel.

This has impacted the character pretty significantly. While he isn't a Fenerec, he took his vows to his wife seriously.

Some of Jackson's friends definitely view him as broken as a result. It just struck a chord with me, and as a result, with the book as a whole.

I've definitely been exploring the consequences of someone who holds such devotion to a single person, and the type of woman it would take to break down the walls he built to protect his wife's memory–and to protect himself from being hurt like that again.

Song #2: U + Ur Hand by P!nk

That's right, it's another P!nk song. This song really baffles me as a part of Blood Diamond's soundtrack. It doesn't really fit any specific character, but I think it has a lot to say about the attitude of certain female characters in the series.

I think, perhaps, it contains a certain attitude I'd like to infuse some of my characters with.

I think I'll chalk this one up to the attitude of the song, which I love.

Song #3: Try by P!nk

While I'm listing this song third in the line up, it's the true main theme of this novel. It fits Jackson, Evelyn, and many of the characters so well. It fits what they'll experience and what they'll endure to try to keep each other safe while they do what they must do to survive.

This video is really evocative, so if you're bothered by powerful imagery, especially with a bit of a sexual slant, I'd just listen to the song and avoid watching the video.

This song really, really applies to Jackson and Evelyn. It also applies to many of the other characters, particularly Vicky (from Inquisitor.) While Nicole (from Winter Wolf) has her fair share of trials, she's always had more of a support group, whether or not she's really realized it.

In Blood Diamond, all of these characters meet–and sparks fly. I think this song does a really good job of capturing all of the things they go through, fight for–fight against–and overcome.

They couldn't do this if they didn't get back up and try again. All of them have been burned.

Song #4: That's The Way It Is by Celine Dion

Yep, this applies to Jackson. It also applies to Jackson's brother. What can I say? They're twins.

It also applies to Evelyn, but perhaps not in the way you might think.

This is one of my favorite songs. It's kind of interesting that most of the love style songs I've picked for Blood Diamond have been for the men.

In a complete turnabout, it's not the women struggling with their love lives and romances. It's the men.

The women know what–and who–they want, and they're prepared to do what is necessary to prove themselves. It's the men who are really gun shy in this book. Well, two men in particular.

It's genetic. But that's okay, I think the women in their lives are more than willing to wait on them to get their acts together–or help them along a little bit.

Hey, I'm just being honest here–women are as much predators in romance as men are. I've been having a great deal of fun pursuing this whole thing from the male side of things.

That said, this book isn't really a romance–it has romance, and much stronger than in Winter Wolf or Inquisitor, but it's not a romance as a primary. It's as much of a thriller and an urban fantasy as it is a romance. It just happened to be that the characters in this story have a far greater need for loved ones in their lives–and the relationships born of friendship, necessity, and love.

Song #5: Manners Maketh Man, Kingsman Soundtrack

Earlier I mentioned my desire to support artists by paying for their works. All of the youtubes embedded are the official VEVOs for the artist, so while it's not quite buying the music, it at least is a legal listen. Please listen to this clip on its amazon page. There is no official clip for this song except through a sales venue. Sorry about that!

Anyway, this song is one of my favorites from the Kingsman soundtrack. I'll be getting this entire soundtrack on CD (well, I'm hoping. I asked for it for my birthday! If I don't get it for my birthday, I'm buying it for myself.)

I listen to this when I'm writing action sequences or need generic music with a good beat that is suitable for big explosions.

Blood Diamond has big explosions in plenty.

Song #6: A Thousand Years by Christina Perri

People might say a lot of bad things about Twilight, but it spawned this song, which is one of my favorite love songs. Considering how devoted the Fenerec are as a species, taking the mating for life thing very seriously, and Jackson's basic personality… I couldn't write Blood Diamond without listening to this song a few times.

I'm also going to make a point of mentioning the other version of this song is often played when I need instrumental music versus with lyrics. The Piano Guys had to make an appearance somewhere. I always have at least one The Piano Guys song in my novel soundtrack.

I'm sure there will be other songs to work its way into my writing, but for the moment, these are the primary songs I'm listening to. I usually set a song to repeat, as it becomes inspirational background noise instead of a disruption. Switching to a new song breaks my concentration as I stop to listen to what the new song is. By repeating one song over and over and over, I avoid this disruption.

I'd like to point out that I've listened to some of these songs, quiet literally, thousands of times. I can sing along to them while writing. (It's true, I'll be singing, not even notice I'm singing, while typing away at a book.)

I sing a lot. It hasn't made me a better singer. But I'll spare you from my cawing, as no one deserves that. Well, except for my husband, but he agreed to it when he married me. It doesn't seem to have caused him any real lasting harm.

Does music impact my writing? Certainly, to some degree or another. But my music choices are often a reflection of what I'm writing, not the other way around. I can't pick a song to create a mood I want in my writing. I pick the songs because I already have the mood brought about because of the writing.

I can't force a mood. Never could, never will–it's not me, and it's not how I write.

But I do find music that matches what I already feel, and that I hope I'm expressing in my stories.

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