“I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees.” Perhaps no other lyric has enthralled and sparked my imagination more than Robert Johnson’s mournful plea in his song “Cross Road Blues.” When my debut novel, The Carnivale of Curiosities, was in its nascent stage, the first thing that I did was start crafting a playlist. I am a big believer that art fuels art, and for me, music is and will always be fuel for imaginative fire. The right lyrics or instrumental composition can do so much to create a mood, a tone, pacing, and rhythm which evoke richer threads to weave the world being created. I cannot tell you how many times I turned to Wojciech Kilar’s score of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Trevor Jones’s score of Last of the Mohicans over the course of my writing. When it comes to a specific character, I often look for a theme song that fits either their personality or some aspect of their nature. The Cure’s “Burn” and “Charlotte Sometimes” perfectly complimented two of my leads, and it felt right having the same musical artist represent and define them in my mind.
I am not someone who is able to create in silence. Music drives me, soothes me, pumps me up, and opens thoughts and emotions that I can then put down on the page. As I start circling my next project, Loreena McKennitt, Nick Cave, and Hozier keep me company as the search for the perfect song begins again.
—Amiee Gibbs, author of The Carnivale of Curiosities (Grand Central Publishing, 2023)