Soundtracks

Soundtrack for Minx

  • “Coming Around Again” by Carly Simon

    The image of the family at the breakfast table, completely unable to communicate, makes me think of the end of Minx, where Henry and Dunford have so much to say but don’t know how. My favorite version of this song is on her live album (recorded on Martha’s Vineyard) when she segues into “Itsy Bitsy Spider.

  • “Hammer and a Nail” by Indigo Girls

    I adore the Indigo Girls. (“Galileo” is a personal favorite, but I couldn’t figure out how reincarnation worked with any of my books.) This song is all about the satisfaction or working with one’s hands and it always makes me think about the beginning of Minx, when Henry puts Dunford through the paces at the farm.

  • “One Step Ahead” Split Enz

    One of my favorites from the 80s, this song always reminds me of this book.

  • “In My Life” by the Beatles

    Such a sweetly romantic (and nostalgic) song. It’s almost a lullaby.


Soundtrack for Dancing at Midnight

  • “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails also Johnny Cash

    No one ever believes me when I say that one of my books was inspired (at least in part) by a Nine Inch Nails song, but when I wrote Dancing at Midnight, I really wanted to explore John’s feelings of self-loathing and guilt, and this song seemed to capture this perfectly. The emotion is so raw. I heard it on the radio and thought, “That’s him.” Nowadays, I like to listen to the Johnny Cash cover. It literally makes me shiver.

  • “Bad Reputation” by Freedy Johnston

    Another song I listened to when I wanted to get John’s character just right.

  • “No Myth” by Michael Penn

    I had to put this song somewhere. I mean, please—”What if I was Romeo in black jeans? What if I was Heathcliff, it’s no myth?” It’s gotta go in my tortured hero song collection.

  • “This Poem Sucks” by Mike Myers

    From the soundtrack to So I Married an Axe Murderer. It’s just too funny.


Soundtrack for Splendid


Soundtrack for The Lady Most Willing

  • “Take Me Out” Franz Ferdinand

    First of all, Franz Ferdinand is a Scottish band. Secondly, they keep singing, “I know I won’t be leaving here,” which does seem appropriate for a snowed-in castle. (Yes, I know that they’re actually singing, “I know I won’t be leaving here with you,” but hey, it’s not like my hero and heroine thought they were going to fall in love when the story opened

  • “Call Me Maybe” Carly Rae Jespen

    There was no escaping this song when it came out, which happened to coincide with the writing of The Lady Most Willing. Plus, the video is terrific (it features romance novels and has an awesome twist at the end), plus the Harvard baseball team did a great YouTube cover and I have to give props to my alma mater, plus come on: “Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy?” Pretty much sums up John and Catriona.

  • “Baby It’s Cold Outside” Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer

    This American standard by Frank Loesser has been recorded countless times, but I’m still partial to this 1949 recording.

  • “This Must Be the Place” Talking Heads

    Talking Heads aren’t really known for love songs, but “This Must Be the Place” is one of the sweetest, loveliest love songs around. According to David Byrne, it’s a collection of “non sequiturs, phrases that may have a strong emotional resonance but don’t have any narrative qualities.” Whatever the case, this is a song that never fails to make me smile, and the whole song, but especially the line “Home, it’s where I want to be, but I guess I’m already there” makes me think of John and Catriona.


Soundtrack for The Lady Most Likely…

  • “Her Morning Elegance” Oren Lavie

    I absolutely adore this song and listened to it hundreds of times while I was writing my section of The Lady Most Likely…. I listened to it quite a bit while writing What Happens in London, too, but the woman in the (amazing!) music video looks just like I imagine Gwendolyn, and since I almost never have a clear picture of my characters in my head, I thought I’d better save the song for The Lady Most Likely….

  • “Starry Eyed Surprise” Paul Oakenfold

    I love how falling in love takes Alec and Gwendolyn completely by surprise.

  • “You and the Mona Lisa” Shawn Colvin

    This isn’t my favorite song on Colvin’s wonderful album A Few Small Repairs, but Gwendolyn is always getting compared to pieces of art, and something about the melody seemed to fit her personality, too. (P.S. If you’re interested, my favorite song on the album is “New Thing Now.”).

  • “Mysterious Ways” by U2

    Poor Alec seems constantly befuddled by the females in his life, whether it’s Gwendolyn or his sister. I think this song could be his anthem.


Soundtrack for Where’s My Hero


Soundtrack for Lady Whistledown Strikes Back

  • “Rumour Has It” by Adele

    This one would work for any story with Lady Whistledown…

  • “If I Had $1,000,000…” by Barenaked Ladies

    When Peter falls in love with Tillie, he is very concerned about being thought a fortune hunter. I’d like to think that if he did have $1,000,000 (or whatever the pound sterling equivalent would have been in 1816) he wouldn’t have bought her a monkey. But he probably would have bought her a green dress.

  • “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” by Paul Simon

    Continuing the theme… This is one of my favorite songs of all time, off one of my favorite albums of all time..

  • “New Slang” by The Shins

    This is such a beautiful, wistful song. There is a lot that’s fun in “The First Kiss,” but there is also a lot that is sad. Tillie is mourning her brother, who died in the Napoleonic wars, and Peter is trying to adjust to life in London after years as a soldier. The words are rather poetic and can be interpreted in many ways, but the melody fits the story perfectly.


Soundtrack for The Further Observations of Lady Whistledown

  • “Like the Weather” by 10,000 Maniacs

    So much of this story (and indeed, the entire anthology) revolves around the weather. The winter of 1813-14 was the coldest on record in London, and the Thames really did freeze over!

  • “Crash Into Me” by Dave Matthews Band

    This one seemed fitting, given how everyone is crashing into each other at the skating party. But more than that, I have always found this song intensely romantic.

  • “Bizarre Love Triangle” by New Order

    I don’t write very many love triangles in my books, but I did in “36 Valentines.”

  • “That’s Just What You Are” by Aimee Mann

    You don’t often find such deliciously bitter songs on my playlists, but this one was just perfect, considering that “36 Valentines” opens with Susannah having been jilted by the hero’s brother. Plus (and I swear I only realized this after I chose the song), they share the same last name. Susannah’s eventual love is David Mann-Formsby, and his brother (who marries Harriet Snowe) ends up with the best sort of revenge: the name Clive Snowe-Mann-Formsby.


Soundtrack for Scottish Brides