“One of my front teeth is half fake from a knife-throwing incident when I was a kid.” – Micah Dean Hicks
If readers were listening to music as they enjoyed your book, what song would be playing with the opening scene? Why?
Tricky, “Hell Is Round the Corner”
This is the perfect song to open the book. Eerie, cautious, a warning. Martina Topley-Bird’s ethereal voice and Tricky’s prophetic chant. “Hell is round the corner where I shelter,” and it is for Jane and her brother Henry, living amongst the ghosts of Swine Hill. The spirits are swallowing the town, growing restless, drawing closer. Bad things are coming.
What song do you think best illustrates your protagonist’s emotional state during the first part of your book? Why?
St. Vincent, “Fast Slow Disco”
This is a great song for Jane. Possessed by a ghost that allows her to read people’s minds, Jane is always “thinking what everybody’s thinking,” even when she doesn’t want to. She’s stuck in a town she desperately wants to leave, her ghost her only friend. Still, the spirit is better than nothing. And maybe there’s reason to be hopeful. She just met someone new.
There are often significant turning points in a story that advance the plot. This can coincide with an emotional shift for a character. Do you feel like there’s a song that illustrates a defining turning point for your character? If so, which one and why?
Portishead, “Mourning Air”
After Jane loses everything and with nowhere else to go, she drives to her ex-boyfriend Trigger’s house. The two of them were only together a short time, “a moment … in a half lit world.” She’s almost completely alone, “reaching out in this mourning air.” Jane knows they weren’t great for each other, but Trigger is someone she can depend on. He’ll be there for her, won’t he?
Are there other songs that you imagine would be really fitting for specific scenes in your book? If so, feel free to share the songs and a little about why these songs would be fitting for your soundtrack. (For example, they can illustrate the emotions of your protagonist, antagonist, or another character, or fit thematically with an event in the story or the plot.)
The Noisettes, “Scratch Your Name”
This song is for Bethany, the unbeatable girl trailing thousands of ghosts in her wake. The dead won’t let her leave the dying town of Swine Hill, though, so Bethany’s stuck. She can fight and claw and rage, but nothing she does, no matter how big, seems enough to save her.
Maddie Medley, “Coming of Age”
This might the theme song for Jane’s boyfriend Trigger. Jane wants to know everything about him, but Trigger has secrets. No one visits his house. Something bad happened to his family, and they don’t talk about it. Still, even if he feels like he can’t tell Jane everything, he loves how she puzzles over him.
This is Henry’s anthem. A boy possessed by a ghost that helps him build impossible machines. Henry is all unbridled confidence, thrilling in what his hands can make. He doesn’t ask should I, only can I, and the answer is always yes.
What song would be suitable for the conclusion of your novel?
She Keeps Bees, “Radiance”
This song is an ending. Triumphant and sweet, but so sorrowful too. How much did Jane lose to get here? What was she able to keep in the end? Read and find out.
Do you have any special events coming up? Where can people catch up with you in person or on a podcast?
On February 7th at 7pm, I’ll have a release party in Orlando, Florida, at Writers Block Bookstore. And on March 20th at 7pm, I’ll be doing an event at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati, Ohio. I’ll have a bunch of other events all through the spring. I should have an updated event schedule up on my website soon
Micah Dean Hicks is a Calvino Prize-winning author of fantasy, fabulism, and fairy tale retellings. His writing has appeared in The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, The New York Times, Lightspeed, and Nightmare, among others. His story collection Electricity and Other Dreams is available from New American Press. Hicks teaches creative writing at the University of Central Florida. His novel Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones is coming February 2019 from John Joseph Adams Books.