October 9, 2014

Band Geek Thursday: OF SCARS AND STARDUST by Andrea Hannah

Happy Band Geek Thursday, Misfiteers! Today on the blog we've got a very special friend of the Misfits, Of Scars and Stardust author Andrea Hannah! She's here with a playlist for her brand-spankin'-new psychological thriller, about sisters and love and oh just read it because it's beautiful and chilling and it's the perfect read as the weather shifts to cold and creepiness is in the air.... And here's Andrea Hannah!

I’ll be completely honest: I don’t listen to music when I write. There’s something about sitting in the dark, in silence, that really helps me to let my thoughts unravel and I haven’t quite figured out how to do that with music humming along in the background. 

That being said, I do a lot of prep work before I sit down for a writing session. I’ll take down notes and snippets of description and dialogue that come to me throughout the day in Evernote. Then, before I sit down, I play a few songs on repeat while I’m busy making dinner or chasing my kids around to kind of train my brain that it’s almost time to write. But once I start, it’s dead silence.

Below is the playlist I put together when writing my debut novel, Of Scars and Stardust. This is not typically the kind of music I listen to (except for City and Colour), but the tone of this novel calls for low-key, thoughtful, kind of morose tunes. And Fever Ray? That artist is brilliant but her music also makes my stomach twist and my heart pound, which is exactly what I needed when I was envisioning the snapping, biting wolves hidden in brittle cornfields. Below is a short excerpt, when Claire and her sister Ella ride through the cornfields and are just starting to notice something strange about them:
     Our bike tires whirred as we cut through the dirt road and the cold air. The cornfields on either side of us blurred into a smear of brown and dripped over into the cement sky. The wind made my face sting and my eyes water, and a few tentative snowflakes shuddered free from the clouds. I dug my boots into the pedals.
    I glanced back. Our house was a little red speck in the middle of broken stalks. The cornfield snapped and rustled in front of me. Ella jerked her bike in between the stalks and pedaled furiously through the snow.
            “Ell—wait.” I shoved my bike forward. But the tires just sank.
            “Crap!” she yelled. Her tires kicked up patches of snow as she inched through the stalks. “Forget this.” She hopped off her bike and let it fall to the ground. I swung off my own bike and followed her.
            “This way,” she huffed. “Right over there.”
            We trudged through the field. I shivered under my coat as I stepped over the broken stalks that Rae and I had sat between just two days before. The spot smelled muddy and earthy like spring. No, the whole field smelled like spring. Like the promise of something about to bloom.
            “Ell, does it smell like spring to you?”
            She stopped and wrinkled her nose. “Nope. It smells like rotting dead things.”
            I touched the dried leaves and they snapped off in my glove. Maybe I just really wanted it to smell hopeful like spring, instead of dead like winter. 


"Werewolf" by Cat Power. This is the book in a nutshell (minus the werewolves part. No humans-turned-wolves in this story). It’s dark and soulful and makes me think of winter and scary things.

"We Found Each Other in the Dark" by City and Colour. Lots of dark happenings in this book, and Claire and childhood crush Grant still end up back in each other’s orbit.

"A Drop in the Ocean" by Ron Pope. Even though this is supposed to be a romantic song, the line “...praying that you and me might end up together” reminds me of Claire and her longing to finally be with her sister.

"Satellite Heart" by Anya Marina. “I’m a satellite heart, lost in the dark. I’m spun out so far...” Claire’s constant questioning of her own sanity. 

"Cosmic Love" by Florence + The Machine. Once again, relating to the kind of love that seems fateful between Claire and Grant.

"I Didn’t Mean It" by The Belle Brigade and "Keep the Streets Empty For Me" by Fever Ray.  Both of these songs have that eery, ominous vibe that the book carries when Claire becomes the town pariah and her frame of mind switches.

"Never Say Never" by Tristan Prettyman. When Claire first leaves Ohio, she thinks that she’ll never have the chance to go back and make amends, but she even though she said “never,” she finds herself back in her hometown.

"Winter" by Joshua Radin. The whole book is winter incarnated, and this song totally reflects that vibe.

Andrea Hannah lives in the Midwest, where there are plenty of dark nights and creepy cornfields as fodder for her next thriller. She graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in special education. When she’s not teaching or writing, she spends her time chasing her sweet children and ornery pug, running, and dreaming up her next adventure. You can find her at www.andreahannah.com and on Twitter @andeehannah.


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