Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Kristi Cook's Perfect Playlist for MIRAGE

We are thrilled to have Kristi Cook, author of  HAVEN with us today talking about her sequel MIRAGE and developing the perfect playlist. Take it away Kristi... 

Like so many writers, I have my little “routines”—I make myself a cuppa tea with plenty of milk and sugar, settle into my comfy office chair, open up iTunes, find *just* the right song to fit whatever scene I’m about to write, and off I go….

I didn’t used to be able to write with music playing—at least, not music with lyrics, because I found it too distracting.  But now I’ve found that if I put the song on loop, playing over and over again, the lyrics sort of become “invisible” to me.  After about the second time through, I stop singing along and get caught up in the song’s atmosphere, instead.  And an atmospheric song really does help my writing process.

So, when it’s time to compile a playlist for one of my books, I start with some of the songs I’ve listened to while writing the book, even if the lyrics don’t really fit the story.  In those cases, the song’s atmosphere or flavor *does* match—at least in my head—and that’s just as important.

For the rest of the playlist, I generally find myself scouting out songs that fit the story as I’m writing it.  When I listen to the radio, I pay closer attention to lyrics.  When I hear something that fits, I Shazam it and then add it to my list.  Sometimes my kids suggest songs (that’s how “Bodies” by Drowning Pool ended up on the HAVEN playlist!). 

 In the same way that a really good movie “companion” soundtrack creates a mood that makes you think of the movie whenever you hear it, I think a good book playlist does the same.  I mean, I cannot hear the song “Safe & Sound” (Taylor Swift, featuring the Civil Wars) without thinking of The Hunger Games, even though the song was never played in the movie itself.  Still, it fits *perfectly* and I literally see Katniss and Peeta in my mind whenever I listen to it.  I hope that my playlists evoke an image of the Winterhaven School in readers’ minds—that they see Violet and Aidan and all their friends as they listen.  

Compiling the perfect playlist is hard.  I obsess over every song, constantly making changes as I swap out one song for another until I get what feels like the perfect mix.  I’m still working on the MIRAGE playlist, but I’ll leave you with a little sampler of what I’ve got so far:  

This is one of those songs that I heard on the radio while driving somewhere, and immediately grabbed my phone and jotted down the title/artist (thank you iPhone and Siri!  I did it hands-free!).  This song is perfect for the book.  If there was a movie made of MIRAGE and I was in charge of the soundtrack, this song would be playing  at the very end of the last scene, and then as credits began to roll.  For me, this is a Violet song.  

This song is crazily popular right now, but I vividly remember the first time I heard it (again, while driving!).  I had to Shazam it (because I was like, Gotye?  Who the heck is Gotye, and how do you spell it?!), but I knew right away that I had to include it.  This is Kate’s song.  

This one came from my oldest daughter (she’s 12), and she’s right, it’s a perfect fit for MIRAGE.  This is an Aidan song, for sure. 

Yet another song I heard on the radio and decided it was perfect—the lyrics somewhat, but definitely the song’s atmosphere.  Plus, I wanted to include a Linkin Park song, since they get a mention in the book itself. 

Fans of the WINTERHAVEN series can expect the complete MIRAGE playlist soon.
 Want to contact me?  E-mail me at
Would you like a signed HAVEN bookmark (or a stack of them?!). Just send a SASE to: Kristi Cook, c/o Enterprise Press, 1 West Forest Ave., Englewood, NJ 07631

Be sure and let me know how many you’d like!
Other ways to get in touch?  Follow me on Twitter @Kristi_Cook or “Like” my Facebook page HERE.

Thanks Kristi.  MIRAGE is now available and it is A-MA-ZING! #GoTeamAidan

Your Turn: What's on the playlist for your favorite book?


CareyCorp said...

Goodmorning Kristi.

Thanks for being our guest. I really *loved* HAVEN and MIRAGE and I love to hear what authors for their inspiration.

My fav book is Les Miserable and I'm dorky because I love to read and listen to the musical to enhance the experience.

Melissa Landers said...

Yay! Kristi's in the hiz-ouse!!! Thanks for visiting, Kristi. I can't wait to tear through MIRAGE. I'm getting tingly just thinking about it. Must be the Aidan effect. ;)

Kristi Cook said...

LOL, Melissa!! Thanks for having me, guys!

Lorie Langdon said...

Hey Kristi!
It's so fun having you on Honestly YA today! I *loved* HAVEN and can not wait for MIRAGE!!! Whoohoo!

A Thousand Years is one of those perfectly romantic songs that inspires me too. I have it on the DOON playlist, along with several other Christina Perri songs - ARMS is one of my favorites. :o)

Thanks for sharing with us!

Kimberly said...

Hi, Kristi!
I love your playlist for your characters. Those are all awesome songs that help teens identify with what they hear and read.
I'm so scared my playlist would have Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow and Elton John. Although all super duper swell artists, they don't really go with teens today. LOL.
My daughters know who they are though. I've trained them right.
But, they are teaching me every day to "get with the times." :-) Now we listen to half and half. Half my lame music and half theirs. :-)
Thanks for a great interview. Good luck with Mirage. It sounds great!

Unknown said...


Love the playlist, can’t wait to the rest of it and dig into Mirage. I myself am like you were in the beginning. I find music distracting, but funny enough some of my best ideas come to me when I'm sitting with my note pad and pen on the couch while a movie is playing in the background. Hmmm. Could it be the accompanying background music? Maybe, not sure, but great post. I’ll be sure o follow this tip next time I'm blocked.