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‘Monster’ author CJ Skuse reveals her fave tracks for writing: 5SOS, Linkin Park, Paramore & MORE


Here at MP! we know just how important music and books are, and even more so when they come together in a beautiful pairing that rivals the perfection of beans and toast.

CJ Skuse, being bombastic in more ways than one, agrees with us on this, and is a big fan of getting the tunes going for when she’s writing.

Find out her fave tracks for writing below, and why they’re a perfect fit with her novels:

Music is my best friend when I’m writing. Always there when I need it, drowning out all the noise of daily life and ready to unpick a plot knot at a moment’s notice. Here are ten songs which helped me write or which I think perfectly sum up my five YA novels – Pretty Bad Things, Rockoholic, Dead Romantic, Monster The Deviants (releasing 2016).

  1. THE BANGLES – Hazy Shade of Winter (Monster)

There’s Christmas bells, then it plunges into this sick guitar/drum mash, then there’s this glorious chorus of female voices and an underbelly of chaos and real-assed peril. This basically is my book Monster in song form.

  1. 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER – Heartbreak Girl (Rockoholic)

This band weren’t even around when I wrote Rockoholic but OMG does this song fit perfectly into the themes of the book. Every time I hear it, I imagine Mac singing it to himself, just waiting for Jody to get over her rock star infatuation and notice him.

  1. LITTLE MIX – D.N.A (Dead Romantic)

Again, Little Mix were foetuses when I wrote Dead Romantic but this song beautifully encapsulates Dead Romantic, my book about two girls who create the perfect boyfriend using dead body parts. Made from the best, he passes all the tests, got my heart beating fast, it’s cardiac arrest. He’s from a different strain, the science can’t explain, I guess that’s how he’s made, it’s in his DNA. Brill.

  1. IMAGINE DRAGONS – Demons (The Deviants)

No other song so flawlessly represents my 2016 novel The Deviants as well as this. The Deviants is a story of a girl who’s hiding her sexual abuse to save those around her from being hurt by it- but it’s really hurting her. I just love the lyrics: When you feel my heat, look into my eyes, It’s where my demons hide , It’s where my demons hide. Stunningly powerful.

5. PARAMORE – Monster (Monster)

Basically any song featuring the word ‘monster’ made it onto my playlist in the early days of writing Monster and this is one of the earliest ones. This song’s all about my main character really – I’ll stop the whole world from turning into a monster and eating us alive. And she kinda does. Kinda.

  1. FOO FIGHTERS – My Hero (Pretty Bad Things)

For a book which is basically about two little kids who just want to find their dad, this song seemed to mirror the twins’ feelings about finding him – for Paisley, he is her hero. For Beau –he’s not the same man he remembers from childhood, he’s just ordinary.

  1. LINKIN PARK – Faint (The Deviants)

If you ever need to write a violent scene where you’re punching someone repeatedly in the face, I highly recommend listening to some Linkin Park. Works every time for me.

  1. BLIND MELON – Soul One (Dead Romantic)

Similarly, if you ever have to write a scene where to people are falling headlong into love for the first time, I highly recommend listening to this song by Blind Melon. Worked well for me while writing Dead Romantic.

  1. GREEN DAY – Restless Heart Syndrome (Rockoholic)

This was the song I imagined kidnapped rock star Jackson singing to his number one fan Jody in her garage when he’s stopped being a douche bag (momentarily) and has explained to her his reasons for wanting to quit show business.

  1. MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE – Welcome to the Black Parade (Pretty Bad Things)

I listened to this song so much when I was writing PBT that all I see in my head when I hear it now is a playback of my book, like a music video. I can see my twins running amok through Las Vegas, stealing stuff, pointing their gun, explosions, fireworks, rollercoasters. It’s all there. This one’s helped me more than any other song.

Get your copy of ‘Monster’ on Amazon for £7.99.

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Written by Laura Fulton

Book Channel Editor at MaxPop! Have a thing for the sea and pretty paperbacks. Saved by amazing grace.

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