August 7, 2014

Band Geek Thursday: SERVANTS OF THE STORM by Delilah Dawson

Ladies, gents, and Misfiteers of all ages, please welcome Delilah S. Dawson, author of the newly released Southern Gothic Horror, SERVANTS OF THE STORM!
A long, long time ago, back in the 90s, my then-boyfriend and I dreamed up a sinister-sounding mix tape called "Music to Murder By." Whenever we heard a song that fit, we added it to the list. But of course, back then, to make a playlist, you had to go to a music store and buy the CD, then make the tape, so we never actually made it.

Now that boyfriend is my husband, and the SERVANTS OF THESTORM playlist ( is very real and available for free on Spotify. Ain't technology grand?

Here's the blurb for my YA Southern Gothic Horror, just so you'll know the world you're sinking into:

Dovey learns that demons lurk in places other than the dark corners of her mind in this southern gothic fantasy from the author of the Blud series.

A year ago, Hurricane Josephine swept through Savannah, Georgia, leaving behind nothing but death and destruction—and taking the life of Dovey’s best friend, Carly. Since that night, Dovey has been in a medicated haze, numb to everything around her.

But recently she’s started to believe she’s seeing things that can’t be real…including Carly at their favorite cafĂ©. Determined to learn the truth, Dovey stops taking her pills. And the world that opens up to her is unlike anything she could have imagined.

As Dovey slips deeper into the shadowy corners of Savannah—where the dark and horrifying secrets lurk—she learns that the storm that destroyed her city and stole her friend was much more than a force of nature. And now the sinister beings truly responsible are out to finish what they started.

And here's the playlist, presented in two parts:

Possum Kingdom – The Toadies
I can promise you
You'll stay as beautiful
With dark hair
And soft skin...forever
Yeah, this is a dark, swampy song about killing girls and turning them into dolls. Which is pertinent to what's really going down in Savannah in Servants of the Storm. This was the song that inspired Music to Murder By, all those years ago, so it gets first place, naturally.

No One Believes Me – Kid Cudi
Have you ever felt
Something evil
Lurking around the moon is full
The streets are empty
Shadows cover the town
When I heard this one on the soundtrack of the new Fright Night, it really stuck with me. All the lyrics basically describe Dovey's experience of being the only person in town aware of the evil lurking just around the corner, and whenever she mentions it, they call her crazy and tell her to take her pills.

The Killing Moon – Echo and the Bunnymen
In starlit nights I saw you
So cruelly you kissed me
Your lips a magic world
Your sky all hung with jewels
The killing moon
Will come too soon
An oldie but a goodie. This one reminds me of Isaac when Dovey first meets him in bowler and suspenders, his knowing smirk and bad boy side. And yet there's a ritual sadness to the song, the reminder that the killing moon is coming even if you wish it wouldn't.

Barton Hollow – The Civil Wars
Miles and miles in my bare feet
Still can't lay me down to sleep
If I die before I wake
I know the Lord my soul won't take
This song was the first one I ever heard by the Civil Wars, and it perfectly captures that Southern Gothic twang of Savannah. And of course, if you read Servants, you who *really* takes the souls...

The Letter – The Veils
All that I've lost
Is bound to pass
Dying to know
Too afraid to ask
Most Veils songs sound like starlight to me, shifting indigo pinpricked with white flickers. This one feels old and regretful and reminds me of Dovey streaking through the night in her grandmother's Skylark, driving too fast toward mysterious danger on the Truman Parkway. That's what I love about Dovey-- her loyalty to Carly means she'll run toward doom, foot on the gas, even though she knows it's going to go badly.

Overjoyed – Bastille
And I hear you calling in the dead of night...
This song is haunting wistfulness. All Dovey wants in the entire world is to have her best friend back, to hear her voice again. And all she has are nightmares...

But the real (cold, black) heart of the SERVANTS OF THE STORM playlist is Saturnalia by The Gutter Twins. When I hear this album, I'm immediately back in Dovey's Savannah, walking a little faster and feeling like I'm being stalked by something hidden and evil.

God's Children – The Gutter Twins
Strange the way you seem suicidal
You don't live at all, so why you cryin'?
Come and play with me and feel desire
It's all in the dark, a walk through the fire
If I had to choose one song the represented the entire book, this would be it. It calls to mind cities brought to ruin and smoldering, wind whipping over skeletons and ash as demons lurk in the corners, lynx ears twitching. I like the sinister lure of Kitty and Josephine, the fact that even though they're completely and irredeemably evil, there's just something... fascinating about them. Since my demons and cambions are based on the mythology around Lilith, Adam's first wife, I like the reminder that they're fallen from grace.

All Misery/Flowers – The Gutter Twins
Make me shake me deep black water
Gonna run through my veins
Gonna make it rain
Honestly? I don't like rain. It makes me feel chased and cornered and like I'm waiting for something to break or erode. Although this book is written a year after Hurricane Josephine nearly destroyed Savannah, there's an oppressive feeling that the storms are waiting to wash away what little they've left behind. This book was inspired by a photo set of Six Flags New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and this song feels like stalking through the abandoned amusement park in the dark, catching antlered shadows and growing green eyes, just out of view.

The Body – The Gutter Twins
Dream, close your eyes
I was done, you're alive
I love the dreamy galloping of this one, the sense of dappled sunshine. It reminds me of going for a carriage ride through downtown Savannah with my brother-in-law, the Dread Pirate Robert, and the way that the horse trots lightly through intersections, harness jingling. This song is a reminder that Dovey is alive, that she has little mercies despite the horror she's living.

I Was In Love With You – The Gutter Twins
I was in Love with you
It's Ladies Choice
Bring on the boys
Love triangles in YA... you love 'em or you hate 'em. Some people think they're cliché, but you know what? Every time I started dating someone in high school, some other dude would suddenly show up and make me start reconsidering my choice, whether because locking it down made other options more apparent or because they revealed their interest only after I was taken. Dovey isn't caught in a love triangle with Baker and Isaac because Dovey doesn't have to choose. Two boys are interested in her, and she's interested in helping her dead best friend. Just because your childhood friend finally says he loves you doesn't mean you have to act on it or that you're going to immediately swoon. I love Dovey's independence and dedication to Carly... and the way she lets herself feel passion in the moment.

Delilah S. Dawson writes the steampunk fantasy Blud series for Pocket, including Wicked as They Come, Wicked After Midnight, and Wicked as She Wants, which recently won the Steampunk Book of the Year award and the May Seal of Excellence from RT Book Reviews. Her first YA, Servants of the Storm, is a Southern Gothic Horror set in Savannah, Georgia. Spring 2015 brings her next YA, HIT, a pre-dystopian about teen assassins in a bank-owned America. Delilah loves sassy boots, eating weird animals, painting, having adventures, and cupcakes and lives in the North Georgia mountains with her husband, children, a Tennessee Walking Horse, and a floppy mutt named Merle.


Leandra Wallace said...

I've only heard of The Civil Wars in this list, but the lyrics make me super curious about the others. Going to check them out, especially The Gutter Twins. And I read the excerpt of SotS on B&N and it was super good! Plus, I love books set in the South!

tawney13 said...

I'm very intrigued by this list. I'm going to check the Gutter Twins out! And the book sounds amazing! I'm def going to listen to your music to murder by while reading the book.

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