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Sarah’s Vignettes ~ Guest Post from James Swallow (@jmswallow): A Writer’s Soundtrack ~ #Shadow #BlogTour ~ @ZaffreBooks ~ @Tr4cyF3nt0n

Welcome to Sarah’s Vignettes stop on the blog tour for Shadow by James Swallow. Thank you to Tracy Fenton for inviting me to be part of the tour.

I’m delighted to welcome James Swallow as a guest on the blog today. I noticed that James tweets a lot about the music he listens to when he is writing so I asked him if he would write a piece about his soundtrack for Shadow.

Before James tells us about about the Shadow soundtrack, here is what Shadow is about.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

Things are about to go viral in Marc Dane’s most dangerous adventure yet . . .

Marc and his partner – former US Delta Force sniper Lucy Keyes – are pitted against their most terrifying challenge yet, when a genius bio-researcher with the ability to create a deadly biological weapon is kidnapped by a ruthless terrorist.

Their desperate search for the missing scientist takes them across the world, from the desolate wilderness of Iceland to the slums of the Near East and the dark underbelly of a fracturing Europe, where they will discover a shocking atrocity in the making.

Backed by shadowy interests, a cadre of hardline ultra-right-wing extremists plan to unleash a lethal virus among the population of a major European city.

Only Marc Dane can prevent this devastating attack from taking place – before a whole continent is plunged into terror…

~ A Writer’s Soundtrack by James Swallow ~

Sometimes, it has to be pin-drop quiet for me to get any writing done – and other times it can be noise all around, but I’m lost in the midst of my story. When my attention isn’t where it should to be, I need quiet in order to zero in on what I want to get down on the page – but when I’ve got my outline ready and all my narrative ducks in a row, a bit of musical accompaniment is exactly what I need to get me off the blocks.

Follow me on Twitter (at @jmswallow) and you’ll see I regularly post up my musical choices under the hashtag #writersoundtrack. My picks are usually something orchestral when I’m actually writing scenes, but when I’m out and about and thinking of characters and ideas, I’ll listen to songs that give me a sense of theme.

When I’m in my office in front of the keyboard, I go to my huge collection of classical music and film score albums, often queuing up a bunch of them into six hour playlists. Writing my Marc Dane action thrillers, it’s no surprise I gravitate to movie soundtracks in the same wheelhouse.

Here are some of my go-to composers (with my top picks for their scores):

  • James Newton Howard (Salt, The Bourne Legacy);
  • Christophe Beck (Edge of Tomorrow);
  • Hans Zimmer (Inception, Man of Steel, The Dark Knight Rises);
  • Steve Jablonsky (Deepwater Horizon, Skyscraper);
  • Daft Punk (Tron Legacy);
  • Reinhold Heil (Berlin Station, The International);
  • Lorne Balfe (The Sweeney, Mission Impossible: Fallout, The Hurricane Heist);
  • Etienne Forget (Missions);
  • Sarah Schachner (Anthem).

But as I noted above, writing a book isn’t just the putting down of words on the screen. There’s also the important effort spent nailing down plot ideas and working on characters. I find while on the train or on the runner at the gym is the best place for this, often with a driving playlist in my earbuds to propel me along – and with each book in the Marc Dane series, I went back to the same songs over and over, gradually creating a soundtrack for my characters, themes and locations.

Here’s my “virtual album” for Shadow, the latest of my thrillers now out in paperback, with a link to a YouTube playlist…

Open the video in Youtube to get the full playlist

Track 1 – “SHADOW Anthem”
The Drone Racing League – GUNSHIP
This hard-edged synthwave theme sets the tone for SHADOW’s hi-tech, hi-octane action narrative.

Track 2 – “Undercover / Rescue”
Dive For You – Boom Satellites
This dynamic number from a Japanese electronic rock duo cover the opening scenes where our undercover heroes turn the tables on their enemies.

Track 3 – “Club Skore”
Deep Impact – Dragon Ash (featuring Rappagariya)
Another track from the Far East, this time something loud and noisy from a rap-rock band to inspire the action taking place at a nightclub in Singapore.

Track 4 – “Basement Shoot-Out / Speedboat Chase”
Confusion (Pump Panel Reconstruction Mix) – New Order
A long and driving track here to back up an extended gun fight and chase sequence.

Track 5 – “The Lion’s Roar”
Calm Like A Bomb – Rage Against The Machine
A character-inspired, rage-fuelled track to characterize SHADOW’s main villain.

Track 6 – “Welcome to Iceland”
Reykjavík – SYKUR
Icelandic rap music singing the praises of their capital city, from a band that was introduced to me while hiking glaciers during a research trip for this novel…

Track 7 – “Survive the Night”
Immigrant Song – Karen O (with Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross)
A cover version of this Led Zeppelin classic to play over scenes where our heroes must fight through a freezing night on the ice.

Track 8 – “Chasing the Mule / Finding the Family”
Freya – The Sword
The hard rock track racks up the tension as Marc Dane chases down a man being forced to detonate a deadly bio-weapon, while his partner Lucy Keyes tries to rescue the man’s family in time to stop him.

Track 9 – “Endure”
Sledgehammer – Rihanna
This character theme underscores Lucy’s predicament when she is brought low by a lethal biological agent.

Track 10 – “Back From the Edge”
Your Hand In Mine – Explosions In The Sky
This track conjures a quieter moment, where our heroes are reunited after the villains have been defeated and all is well…for now.

Track 11 – “SHADOW End Credits”
Razors Out – Chino Moreno
Finally, finishing strong with an energetic end track, as the story of our heroes continues onward…

~ Where to find Shadow ~

~ About James Swallow ~

James Swallow

James Swallow is a New York Times, Sunday Times and Amazon #1 bestselling author and scriptwriter, a BAFTA nominee, a former journalist and the award-winning writer of over fifty books, along with scripts for video games, comics, radio and television.

His writing includes the Marc Dane action thrillers, the Sundowners steampunk Westerns and fiction from the worlds of Star Trek, Warhammer 40000, Doctor Who, 24, Deus Ex, Stargate, 2000AD and more.

SHADOW, the 4th Marc Dane novel, is out now from Bonnier, and the 2nd book in the series – EXILE – is published in the USA by Tor/Forge.

~ Follow the Shadow Blog Tour ~

Be sure to drop by the other stops on the tour!

Shadow by James Swallow

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