An Emotive Playlist

I had a lot of fun making this playlist. It’s moody, anachronistic, angsty, epic, subjectively sexy, emotive, and fun. Every song on it reminds me of a character, a feeling, or a moment I tried to capture in Smoke, Steel, & Ivy. If you Spotify, feel free to chase the link below. If you have questions about why these songs made my list read on.

I do want to say that while I’ve been a fan of many of these songs for years, the curating of this playlist was a celebration of my book being complete. It was like playing a memory match game–songs to characters, songs to feelings, songs to themes. It’s not something I can do until my story is finished. If you’re curious about what influenced and inspired Smoke, Steel, & Ivy you can read about that here. Spoilers below, read at your peril.

Smoke, Steel, & Ivy Spotify Playlist

“War of Hearts” by Ruelle

Sounds like a fairy tale, and the chorus captures some feelings that Ivy has for Collin in certain parts of the book.


“Right on Time” by Brandi Carlile

Carlile’s voice is so emotive. Lyrics about being scared, about loss, struggling to carry on, and then the line in the chorus “It isn’t right, but…” This is all very Ivy, and I’m here for it.


“The Scientist” by Coldplay

Brooding, sincere, curious, hints of an analytical mind, and a very sexy voice that haunts the subconscious corners of my brain. Checks all the boxes for my hero, Collin.


“Game of Survival” by Ruelle

More atmosphere and fantasy world building. I like the instrumental interludes best on this one.


“Sophie” by Bear’s Den

Some impressive pining that turns into a self reflective detour of regret. Gorgeous. Heart breaking. Poor Collin, but also how yummy. I love it when heroes torture themselves with all the feels.


“Cardigan” by Taylor Swift

You can’t have a playlist for the fairy tale you wrote without some Taylor. I love that there are ideas in this one about being underestimated mixed in with a kind of love that is familiar, precious, comfortable… and a little forlorn.


“The Night We Met” by Lord Huron

Regret that’s as painful as it is beautiful. Gutting.


“Good Things Fall Apart” by ILLENIUM with Jon Bellion

An apology song and even better a bewildered apology song. It’s very Collin. One of the joys of fiction writing is breaking things for your characters and watching them tailspin.


“I Will Follow You Into The Dark” by Miya Folick

Am I the only one who finds the idea of devotion, especially blind devotion, to be a strange brew of irresistible sadness?


“The Story” by Brandi Carlile

This song guts me. “I crossed all the lines and I broke all the rules, But baby I broke them all for you.” I hear passion and anger, and I want to burn the patriarchy down. Because there’s something here about how vulnerable love makes a woman.


“Survivor” by 2WEI, Edda Hayes

This song matches a turning point for Ivy that happens in Part II. Betrayed by the man she loves and then her father and people, she decides she’s done playing by the rules. It’s the stuff “glass mountains” are made of. And yay for literary allusions.


“My tears ricochet” by Taylor Swift

A song of articulate heartbreak. We’re not the best people when we’re wounded, hurting. And oh, do I love this unnamed ‘you’ mentioned in this song. Do they get back together? I hope so.


“Don’t Watch Me Cry” by Jorja Smith

Her voice. Her voice! Gorgeous song about the grief of heartbreak. “Have I ever crossed your thoughts because your name’s all over mine. A moment in time, don’t watch me cry.” I love how this song explores a bit of the shame that’s tangled into the hurt and pain of a heartbreak. And also how detaching from the thoughts/feels is…thorny.


“Dancing with the Devil” by VYNYL

Jamming out, thinking about how Ivy drowns out her heartache. Also this line: “Do you want a mask to hide behind? It’s hard to see with the smoke in your eyes.”


“She Used To Be Mine” by Sara Bareilles

Poor Ivy. It’ll be okay in the end, just not now.


“Light” by¬† Sleeping At Last

Real talk: men are so very flawed. I’m not sure if there is anything more captivating/romantic/swoony than a man having the self-awareness to see his flaws and then saying, “I promise I’ll do better.”


“Waking up Slow – Piano Version” by Gabrielle Aplin

Collin breaks Ivy’s heart. Well… a lot of people break Ivy’s heart. But broken hearts can be rebuilt. That hopefulness is what I hear when I listen to this song.


“Saturn” by Sleeping at Last

It’s just pretty, and it puts me in mind of Collin. “You taught me the courage of stars before you left.” I love themes of identity/visibility. One of my definitions of love is, “I see you.” I had fun playing with it in this story. How Ivy and Collin see each other. How invisible they feel to everyone else. And there is something in here about that too.


Colourway” by Novo Amor

Ah, a resolution. Or the start of one.


“Meant to Stay Hid” by SYML

Love takes courage. I get emotional when I think about how that process starts because for me and my characters it starts by acknowledging the fear… And then comes the question: “And if I wasn’t so afraid,” what then?


“Feel Good (feat. Daya)” by Gryffin, ILLENIUM, Daya

A song that shows Ivy’s growth and the HEA she and Collin earned. Happiness. Throw confetti. Roll credits.

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