Writing The Summer Sacrifice was a joyful experience and I can’t wait to get stuck into writing the next book in the Master Game series. I loved the days when my brain was receptive, relaxed and focused, and I was capable of creating with ease. Those were the days that not only did thousands of words get written, but some good ones at that.

Unfortunately, not all days are created the same…

I began writing The Summer Sacrifice after a disturbing image popped into my head. Out of that image came a story that wouldn’t let go, one I wanted to share and put out into the world. And then fear took hold. At certain times as I wrote I felt pulled in two directions at once, and sometimes in many directions, because as well as my passion for telling my story I felt both fear and guilt.

Medusa, by Caravaggio, 1597.
Medusa, by Caravaggio, 1597.

Fear, and its ability to paralyse a person, runs through The Summer Sacrifice as it ran through its creation. I spent minutes, hours, and sometimes weeks feeling that I wasn’t doing the book justice, or myself, people around me, and indeed life itself. I would stare into the computer screen worrying about what I wasn’t doing, which stopped me from doing anything.

After a while I stopped seeing the energy and time I put into writing as selfish and got the hell on with it. That’s not to say I didn’t still have my moments. On one or two occasions I felt like hurling my laptop through the window. But I didn’t. And this is going to sound odd, but as well as being surrounded by wonderful humans, I believe Hopelandic helped pick me up.


Sigur Ros at Madison Square Garden.  2013. By Kenny Sun.  Released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Sigur Ros at Madison Square Garden. 2013. By Kenny Sun. Released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Sigur Rós was my soundtrack to The Summer Sacrifice. Hopelandic is their lyrical constructed language. I had their albums on repeat for the entire writing process except the final revision. Their music is sweeping and epic, and unlike the ghastly music produced by the Pity Me Perfects’ school orchestra, for me it really is “music… of the earth.” It has the ability to transport and buoy up the spirit. If music could help a person take flight like a Halfhawk, I believe Sigur Rós’s music would be it. It lifted my spirits and let my imagination fly.

If anyone had heard me listening to the same tracks, over and over, day in and day out, they’d have thought I’d gone mental. (Earphones are wonderful things.) But something in the music, and in Hopelandic, breaks boundaries. And Jamie Tuff and her friends are all about breaking boundaries. Fear may run through The Summer Sacrifice, but hope runs stronger.

I would love to hear if anyone else uses music to inspire their work or lift their mood.  What music do you recommend?

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