Guest Post - Kate Hawkings, author of The Sphinx Project

When I first began writing, I couldn't listen to music at the same time. I had to be somewhere completely quiet, with no speaking or television noises. I even resorted to wearing earplugs when my boyfriend was watching television in the next room. I'd often find myself so immersed in my writing that I wouldn't really notice the words, and I'd start typing out what I was hearing instead of the story in my head.

Eventually though, I started listening to music to drown out the world around me. I'd be writing on the bus, in cafes, outside work... all places with lots of people and lots of chatter, and earplugs make my ears hurt.

I began with movie scores, my favourites being pretty much anything from Danny Elfman and The Lord of the Rings. There were no words, just beautiful sounds. I soon moved on, and discovered I could listen to songs in foreign languages. Because I couldn't understand the words, they didn't worm their way into my mind. One such song is Alegria, the soundtrack to the show of the same name by Cirque du Soliel which is (I think) sung in Italian, Spanish, and English.

That's right, some of it was in English. This is what marked a huge turning point, because it made me realize something: there were some songs I had listened to so much that I could just zone out the words, while the feelings and emotion of the music still managed to get to me. My favourites included I'm Only Me When I'm With You by Taylor Swift, Movies by Alien Ant Farm, Love The Way You Lie Part 2 by Rihanna, featuring Eminem, Can You Feel The Love Tonight by Elton John, Dance With My Father by Luthor Van Dross, Airplanes by B.O.B and a whole lot of Aerosmith.

As I moved further into the editing stage, I slowly became used to listening to other songs, although by the time I had finished I knew them all back to front. To find out more about which songs played their part in the process you can check out the YouTube playlist here:

There is one song that is on the playlist that hasn't been out for very long. In fact, it was only released in early February. I may not have listened to it while I was writing the story, but during the final lead-up to release it was on repeat for a good deal of the time. This version of Safe and Sound  is a cover of the soundtrack to The Hunger Games originally recorded by Taylor Swift. The song just feels so right for The Sphinx Project, the relationship between the girls and what they're up against in the real world.


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