Next up on my series of posts featuring music that authors write their books to I have Susan Moody. I’ll be reviewing Susan’s book, Penny Black, shortly. The entire list of music chosen by authors can be found on the YouTube channel here.
Susan was born and brought up in Oxford. She’s published 34 crime and suspense novels, including the Penny Wanawake and the Cassandra Swann bridge series. She has also written many stand-alone novels, among them Losing Nicola and, most recently, A Final Reckoning. The Colour of Hope was an international best-seller and translated into many languages.
Her novelization of the Gold Blend coffee ads, Love Over Gold, reached the Sunday Times best-seller lists. Sadly, it was written under a pseudonym! She is a past Chairman of the Crime Writers’ Association, a member of the Detection Club, a past Writer-in-Residence at the Universities of Tasmania and Copenhagen, and a past President of the International Association of Crime Writers. She and her husband divide their time between south-west France and south-east Kent.
The complete Penny Wanawake series has been re-issued by publisher Williams and Whiting.
Susan, do you have particular pieces of music you write to?
Had I not turned to crime, I would love to have been a C&W singer, belting out those songs about wicked women and faithless love. When I lived in Tennessee, that’s all you could get on the radio. And Tennessee is where I got the inspiration for Penny Wanawake, my tall, black, beautiful photographer protagonist (all 7 now reissued by Williams & Whiting)
Has a particular piece of music ever inspired you to write something?
Not consciously, but music itself, be it classical, folk, pop, etc, does help to settle down and face that screen. The only thing I don’t listen to when writing is jazz. Too unsoothing.
Could you recommend any particular pieces of music for a specific mood?
If I want to write about love, particularly love gone wrong, unrequited love, broken love and broken dreams, nothing beats The Carnival Is Over, closely followed by I’ll Never Find Another You, both sung by the Seekers. They work every time. It’s hard to see the keyboard through a veil of tears, but I manage.
Are there any longer pieces you can recommend. If you need to write for an hour, for example, is there a particular composer/artist you’d chose?
Mozart, and more Mozart. Symphonies in particular. But I listen to all of his stuff. Purists despise compilations of the Best Bits, It’s the mathematical purity of Mozart that I love, the sheer and absolute pleasure of his delicate precision, as fragile as a snowflake. And of course you can sing along as loudly as you like.
What are you working on at the moment?
The third book in my new series (published by Severn House), featuring feisty Alex Quick, ex-copper, art lover and general nosy-parker.