I always have music playing when I write, but there have been certain songs that really resonated with me as reflecting the characters and themes of Dagger and Coin.
Here’s the Spotify playlist where you can hear them all:
More info about how each song fits with the story:
- “Am I Wrong” by Love Spit Love: The restlessness and defiant self-reflection of this song capture Soraya’s mental state in Dagger and Coin so well that I would often begin my drafting sessions by listening to the song and typing up the lyrics to get into her point of view.
- “Sit Still, Look Pretty” by Daya: I consider this Soraya’s anthem. The line “this queen don’t need a king” is kind of self-explanatory.
- “Ladyboss” by Rachel Bloom (warning: explicit but oh-so-right-on): Soraya navigates the specific pitfalls of being a woman in power, and this song describes them so well.
- “My Silver Lining” by First Aid Kit: Another song for Soraya: “Regret, remorse, hold on, oh no I’ve got to go/There’s no starting over, no new beginnings, time races on/And you’ve just gotta keep on keeping on…”
- “Wildest Dreams” by Taylor Swift: “Nothing lasts forever/But this is gonna take me down/He’s so tall, and handsome as hell/He’s so bad but he does it so well…” Soraya and Gelti and a steamy night in the house by the ocean…need I say more?
- “Music for Gymnastics” by Jordan de la Sierra: This is one of my favorite instrumentals to listen to – often on repeat – when writing. The tension and drama in this music was perfect inspiration for Dagger and Coin.
- “King of Anything” by Sara Bareilles: The best musical depiction of mansplaining ever. So many perfect lines in this song, especially: “You sound so innocent, all full of good intent/Swear you know best/But you expect me to jump up on board with you/And ride off into your delusional sunset.” And this line, when applied to Gelti, just makes me cackle: “Who died and made you king of anything?”
- “Let Go” by Frou Frou: This is for the moment when Soraya has to let go of everything she once valued to make a new life for herself. “It’s all right/’Cause there’s beauty in the breakdown/So let go…”
- “White Horse” by Taylor Swift: This may be the most honest depiction of betrayal and heartbreak I have ever heard, and it’s perfect for Soraya in those moments in the upper room. “I’m not a princess, this ain’t a fairy tale…”
- “Edge of the Ocean” by Ivy: This one is for Kirol going to the Nath Tarin, and Soraya’s brief dreams of doing the same. “At the edge of the ocean/We can start over again.”
- “Send Me a Song” by Celtic Woman: This is for Loris and Soraya and an unexpectedly difficult parting.
- “Elysium” by Klaus Badelt and Lisa Gerrard: To me, this song represents the feeling of the farewell to the Melarim and the reunion of the Ruling Council.
- “Shine All Your Light” by Kimmie Rhodes: This song represents the themes of Dagger and Coin so well that I had actually hoped to have the chorus printed in the book as an epigraph, but couldn’t get the permissions in time. “Like sand on a mountain/Rain on a fountain/Shade on a shadow/A breeze in this tornado/Just do what you can/Clap with one hand/And shine all your light in the sun.”Or, as Soraya says:Now that I’d had my own otherworldly encounters, did I believe that Sotia fought for peace through us, as Raisa insisted? I couldn’t say. I only knew that I couldn’t regret the choices I had made, and that whether I was an agent of the goddess, or just her bloody knife, I wasn’t giving up anytime soon.
Thank you to my amazing betareader Manuela Bernardi for helping develop this list!