Monday 17 February 2020

Books, Music, and Romance

By Kristine Charles

Today is 17 February and it’s Ed Sheeran’s birthday.

Now, I can’t confirm or deny whether Ed is actually into romance or not but it seems a reasonable bet given:
  • the man has written a heap of stellar love songs; and
  • he recently married the woman he met at high school when they were both 11; and
  • his song Perfect was inspired by his now wife <swoon>. 

Photo from Milkos via (Image: 321559668)

So, I thought, what better day to explore the connection between music and romance than Ed Sheeran’s birthday.

Many of the authors I know, and read, in #Romancelandia listen to music while they write.

Some have to listen to instrumentals because lyrics are distracting, especially if you like to sing along (like me!). If you’re as addicted to Life Hacks as me, you’ll know that listening to Hans Zimmer music while studying is recommended because it has no lyrics, and the music is intended to motivate.

Others listen to the same song, over and over, to stay in the mood, or the headspace of their characters. I’m pretty sure I heard Lauren, of Christina Lauren, once say that she listened to Xxplosive by Dr Dre to get in the mood for writing Finn of Dirty Rowdy Thing. I <heart> Finn, and that song is hot.

Photo from fxquadro via (Image: 250373478)

Others create entire playlists to feed their output. For example, Penny Reid and J. F. Lowe both have heaps of playlists on Spotify which, they say, are the songs that inspire the writing of the book.

And then others, again, can’t listen to anything and need silence to feed their creative muse.

Then there are authors who use music to inspire their stories. For example, Renee Conoulty’s Got that Swing series all have song-based titles and the song is central to the story. M. L. Tompsett, Renee Dahlia and Joanne Tracey also use songs to inspire their stories – Shakespeare’s Sister, Lorde and (of course!) Ed Sheeran, respectively.

And then there’s how one particular song can make or break a moment. If anyone went and listened Thomas Tallis after reading Fifty Shades of Grey, you’ll know what I mean… Spem in Alium is haunting and hot in equal measure.

Photo from Vadymvdrobot via (Image: 336781326)
So, what’s your favourite 'books, music and romance' moment…? 

Love to love: music. It never fails to make me feel better.

Love to laugh: Did you hear about the bed bugs who fell in love? They’re getting married in the spring!

Love to learn: About writing sex and love! Spent three hours with Leisa Rayven this morning and it was fabulous! Leisa is a Queensland based author, has written the Starcrossed Series (Bad Romeo, Broken Juliet and Wicked Heart), and is currently working on the Masters of Love Series. Check her out at

And you can check me out at :-)


  1. There's nothing like music to put you in a particular mood, is there? I've been listening to medieval music while writing my medieval/contemporary timeslip series, and it really helps me to get started and focus on the story. (PS: happy birthday to Ed - love his songs!)

    1. Absolutely Marilyn. Some days when the words are not coming at all, a little music helps grease the wheels!

  2. Listening to music is such an emotional experience. I think it may assist romance writers and other authors who focus on the emotional experience of their characters.

    1. Definitely. I think that's why - for example - Finn Dirty Rowdy Thing. The authors have really held the characterisation and I think the sticking to a representative song would have really helped with that!

  3. I usually make a playlist whilst i'm writing a book, and there's always one song in particular that I associate with each. It's interesting the different ways that people work :) Great blog Kristine :)

    1. Thanks Jayne. I dabble in playlists... but haven't quite got a whole one yet!

  4. I will admit to overly loving rock music and sappy love songs. And when I listen to a song, often the lyrics bring my imagination to life and I'm visualising characters, scenes, plots, while the song plays. I love it when I heR a new song and it unexpectedly takes me to the story I'm writing. But when I'm writing, songs are too much of a distraction.

    1. Rock and sappy songs are both excellent ends of the spectrum Enisa!

  5. Interesting article, Kristine! I need quiet conditions to write. I enjoy the sounds of nature from my home and can equally write in a hotel/on an aeroplane provided it's relatively quiet. I love music when I'm doing the housework but never writing!!

  6. Hi Kristine. I am definitely a listen to music type of writer. Funily enough it is the silence that is distracting for me, a car driving past, a conversation next door, a phone ringing, dogs barking. All these things distract me so music is my go to. I listen to a mix of music depending on my mood or the scene. I like Two Steps from Hell who are not heavy metal as one might think but write dramatic and uplifting movie, game and instrumental music.

  7. Kristine, I am a music tragic, but I don't really know the names of much of the music, just hum along happily. I love watching a rom-com when the music is fabulous as well. I'm always Shazam-ing songs I hear and am always surprised when it turns out to be someone I know...but didn't know *that* was their song! IMHO Music and romance absolutely go together. Win win.


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