The Soundtrack for My Writing Life

This week the Debs are talking about music and its impact on our writing and our life. 

Music is something that I have always connected with, very deeply, even as a young child. For a time in my life I worked in radio as a DJ, a radio music manager and eventually as an alternative promoter for Virgin Records. I really wanted to be in music, in a terribly desperate way. But I also wasn’t impractical. On the second day I went to work at Virgin, half of the staff was gone, laid off because Richard Branson had sold the company to EMI Thorn. I had my first taste for how tentative that something like a job could be. That job also showed me that as a woman ready to head to the workforce in the early 90s that maybe the record business wasn’t the right one for me. I’d have to move to L.A. or NYC and work for pennies and neither of those things sounded like what I wanted to do. But my love for music has never left me and I still regularly drag my husband out to concerts.

Of course this means that I have some soundtracks for my writing! Several of them, in fact.

I have a playlist of period music for both FEAST OF SORROW and for my novel in progress, THE SECRET CHEF.

First, here is a playlist that would be nice background music for Feast of Sorrow. Music from Ancient Rome and Greece:


And, I have a soundtrack of medieval and Renaissance music for THE SECRET CHEF.

I often find that when I’m working, however, that I love listening to movie soundtracks. I find them inspiring with their highs and lows and sweeping majesty. Here’s a crazy long one (nearly 1,000 songs!) that I mushed together from a few playlists of soundtracks I like.


And finally, sometimes I just like staying with something upbeat and fresh. I have a playlist that I update every Friday with new songs I want to check out from new albums and artists. I retire songs off the playlist after two months (and then move them to a year playlist of things I’ve listened to that year). Here’s the playlist if you want to subscribe and see what songs I’m always checking out!


Author: Crystal King

Crystal King is a writer, culinary enthusiast and social media expert. Her writing is fueled by a love of history and an obsession with the food, language and culture of Italy. She has taught writing, creativity and social media at Grub Street and several universities including Harvard Extension School and Boston University. Crystal received her masters in critical and creative thinking from University of Massachusetts Boston. She lives with her husband and their two cats in the Boston area.