Music of THE SCOURGE (+ Winners)

Posted by on Jun 27, 2016 in Uncategorized | 71 comments

Congratulations to the Week 3 Winners of the Massive Summer Giveaway! Emails have been sent to you. If you didn’t win, don’t worry – your previous entries are still part of the contest, and this week’s contest is listed below!

Hailey V *** Ava  *** Vitoria *** Brayley


Scourge_LGThis week, I want to tell you about the two songs that were a big part of writing THE SCOURGE. Whatever their original meanings, they folded nicely into the story hatching in my imagination.

First is “Breaking the Habit” by Linkin Park. SCOURGE’s central heroine, Ani Mells, is constantly trying to stay out of trouble, and failing. I think a main point of the song: “I don’t know why I instigate and say what I don’t mean. I don’t know how I got this way, I’ll never be all right” is something Ani would constantly be thinking.

For example, in this scene below (I can’t tell you what Ani was about to dare to do. Gossel is a warden of the quarantine island.):


“Don’t you dare,” Gossel warned me, raising his pistol.

I backed farther from him and shouted, “Resist them! They have to break you first! But they will never break me!”

Or maybe they would. A warden grabbed my waist and clubbed me across the back with his fist. Weevil yelled and reached for me, but a warden had him too.

I struggled as best as I could, but the warden was stronger than me. They were dragging us toward the yard, and I had a feeling that this time, my punishment wouldn’t be as easy as being stuck in a cage.


The other song is “I’m Gonna Be” (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers. This is the song for Weevil, the main hero of the story and Ani’s best friend. He is one of my all-time favorite characters, simply for his absolute devotion to her as a friend.

I can’t tell you why Ani is so tired, but you’ll see this scene is a direct reference to the Proclaimers’ song.


Weevil drummed his fingers against the cave walls to think. He said, “We’ll find a way off this island, I promise. Once we leave the caves, I’ll look for a boat while you continue resting.”

I didn’t even argue. “A rest sounds nice. I climbed a mountain for you today, Weevil. A thousand-mile mountain.”

He brushed a hand over mine. “And if it takes walking this island a thousand times, I will find us a way home. Now sleep.”

For the first time, possibly ever, I obeyed him without argument. If I were not so tired, I would have argued, and probably won. Yet as I fell asleep, I decided that he deserved to win, maybe just this once.



To enter this week’s contest, can you tell me in the comments below about a song that has inspired a story in your imagination? Or one that tells a story you love?

Remember that THE SCOURGE will be released on August 30th! You can pre-order your copy today or ask your favorite librarian to order in a copy with your name at the top of the waiting list!



  1. One song that inspires me about a story of love would be Let Her Go by Passenger. It kind of warns you about what would happen if chose the wrong pass in something. And I absolutely love it. This song always reminds me of one story I came up with a while ago, and has made me think it’s time to put it on paper.

  2. Our family often talks about soundtracks to our favorite books. This is a shared one, with my now nine year old daughter. A little over a year ago we read and shared a love of Kate DiCamillo’s, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. While listening to Dotan’s song, Home, we both had a strong reaction to it. On his long journey, Edward has many homes and finds love along the way. Many of the people he meets along the way are looking for home – that place where you can rest your heart. Dotan’s song fits the journey well, with lyrics like,

    “The sound of the wind is whispering in your ear.
    Can you feel it coming back?
    Through the warmth, through the cold, keep running ’til we’re there.
    We’re coming home now, we’re coming home now.”

    I can’t listen to that song without being reminded of that amazing story of love.

    Jennifer, I love hearing about the influence that music has on your writing. Thank you for sharing those connections with us.

  3. When I heard the song “Wanna Hear Your Voice” by Taps on a Criminal Minds episode I immediately loved it. It’s so heart breaking, that combined with the visuals of the episode had me in tears T_T

  4. One song that has inspired my inspiration or told a great story is called ‘Sinking Ships (Rescue Has Come)’ by Lincoln Brewster. It talks about how God has come by His grace to save me, a sinking ship with one hope. God is my one hope.
    If we’re referring to songs that have inspired my writing, then that would be My Lighthouse by Rend Collective. Although still a Christian song, it still draws me to bring my characters closer to the Lord.
    However, definitely my favorite song ever is Man of Sorrows by Shane & Shane or Hillsong Worship. It tells the whole story of the gospel and it is beautiful. Each time I here it I am reminded of God’s glory and mercy and grace, and how He went to the cross for me willingly. Even if this did not spark my imagination, it does spark a story of truth and remembrance.

  5. The song Say Something by Great Big World goes really well with a scene that I’ve been picturing.

  6. I really like “Beautiful Times” by Owl City. It tells a story about going through hardships and how painful they can be but how much stronger you get fighting one, then how amazing it feels to finally get through it. And I can relate to it easily (as well as everyone else in the entire world) because there isn’t a person on Earth who doesn’t have their fair share of hard times.

  7. Oh my heavens!! That is not a popular song. (The Proclaimers.) I love it. I’m so glad someone was able to use it as inspiration for a book! (Makes me want to read this all the more. 😉 )

    Another favorite: Chicken Fry by ZBB. It reminds me of home and the south and (definitely NOT healthy 😉 ) food and safety. We moved from there, but it was a period in time when the kids were little, play dates were plentiful and time stood still. (Maybe that doesn’t count as a story? But they are memories and plenty of them come out during dinner as stories.)

    New favorite: Try Everything (from Zootopia, haha! You knew I had kiddos.) The kids are growing up and trying new things and writing their own stories. It’s a great reminder for them (and ME!) that it’s ok to fail. We’re not alone; this happens to everyone. It’s most important to TRY. There are so many cool things out there to try. This song offers so much hope and happiness. I love hearing this song on ipods and in the car. It’s like a boost of positive energy. (And you can’t go wrong with undulating, dancing tigers, right??? hahaha!!)

  8. I would have to say (Didn’t know if HTML code worked here so I just left it be). “Flow Like Water” by James Newton Howard mainly because it’s calm throughout but shows signs of struggle in what I am going to call a “Trial” within certain areas in the song. As the song progresses it becomes more serious as if something great were to happen. Which shows the ending to that song.

    Speaking of music, don’t forget The False Prince Soundtrack for the possible movie. 😀 Oh I am so excited for it!

  9. Send in the Clowns by Frank Sinatra. This song meant a lot to me throughout my twenties and now my thirties. I always imagine a clown coming into the main tent rings after the circus is over. He looks around at all the trash and abandoned seats and wonders how his life came to be this way. Just one step behind after being two steps ahead all this time. He’s been left behind. Forgotten. He’s unimportant to those who once heralded him as a hero. After losing my son I felt this way. I was behind the line…watching everyone else move on with life while I was stuck. Unable to move. “Isn’t it rich? Are we a pair?
    Me here at last on the ground and you in mid-air
    Send in the clowns

    Isn’t it bliss? Don’t you approve?
    One who keeps tearing around and one who can’t move
    But where are the clowns? Send in the clowns”.

    Congrats to all who won!

  10. I love Christina Perri. Her new rendition of Forever Young is spot on. Disneyland was brilliant to pick it up and use it on their show. If you haven’t been recently to see it, you need to. It definitely takes you back to childhood.

  11. I love 500 Miles so much! Now I have it playing in another tab, and am really excited that it ties into The Scourge.

    As for me, I always attach a song to my stories. The first time I ever did was years ago, when I was writing a book all about this princess who was a fugitive, hiding out at a boarding school and trying to formulate a plan to overthrow the evil dictator who stole the throne from and then killed her mother. The song is Taylor Swift’s “White Horse,” which is really about a failed romantic relationship – I always read it another way, though, pulling the sad emotions and wrapping them around my story. I especially always resonated with the defeat in the phrase “I’m not a princess / This ain’t a fairytale.” It felt like the sort of cold hard statement my MC would make on her darkest days.

  12. I love love love the 500 miles song. Probably one of my favorites. But I also love the song I Lived by One Republic. I just love the stories that it brings to my mind.

  13. A song that I strongly relate to in my life is ‘A sky full of star’s by Coldplay and also ‘Not about Angels’ by Birdy… there both very strong and emotional songs that remind me of different times of my life, both happy and sad memories. I think I really like them because they seem so ethereal, there about skies, stars, futures, angels … life in its raw perfect form. A life we can hardly recognise under all our earthly scars. Everyone seems to have far more ‘sad’ playlists than happy ones nowadays;as we get older we should be appreciating life more. But music has become a popular means of escape! For me it was difficult to choose one song because I turn to music soo often!For a moment it grounds you and you realise who you are and what you can be! Where words fail music speaks, music described a person better than anything else… (Sorry for the rant!)

  14. There is a multitude of songs that inspire stories in my mind; some recent ones I’ve discovered are “I Get Wicked” by Thousand Foot Krutch and “Unstoppable” by E.S. Posthumous; both are about the same character, but the first is more about her actual character and the second is about a situation she finds herself in…a situation I highly doubt would have existed if I had never heard this song and connected it with her in the first place. 🙂

  15. A song that inspires me is Bulletproof by La Roux. I’ve had some tough times in my life but this song reminds me that just because I’ve been hit once doesn’t mean I have to stay down. I can fight back and succeed the next time, no matter what happened before! Sometimes all I need is a moment of inspiration or encouragement brought to me by this song or another.

  16. What I Never Knew I Always Wanted by Carry Underwood was written about her baby. I think the song tells a great story.

  17. Here I am to Worship by Michael W. Smith is … for me a very raw song. I have loved this song since 2nd grade, at least. It tells the story of Jesus coming down to earth to save us from our sins. It hits on things like how we will never know the pain and sorrow he suffered on the cross. From singing this song as a little girl in Sunday School, to hearing it on the radio, I always feel the immensity for what Christ has done for us all.

  18. Plenty of Beatles songs inspire me: Blackbird and While My Guitar Hently Sleeps. Both songs have a soothing rhythm that I like. The book Blackbird Fly by Erin Kelly has a Beatles song as a title for each chapter. Great experience listening to all of those Beatles songs before reading each chapter.

  19. Songs that have inspired me are Owl City’s “Shooting Star” and “The Real World”.
    And the HTTYD soundtrack, especially “Forbidden Friendship”.
    Oh, and the movie Tron’s soundtrack as well.

    Other songs I like listening to are the Pianoguys, Wicked soundtrack, and other movie soundtracks.


  20. Congrats to all who won!!

    Its kind of odd but “Once Upon a December” from Anastasia always brings ideas to the surface!! ^_^ Its a beautiful melody.~

  21. There are many songs from which to select, but I will go with “Where I Come From,” and “Storm,” (both from Lifehouse) because I like how the lyrics remind you that you are not alone despite rough times and someone is there for you.


  22. A song that I love is Long Live by Taylor Swift. When I listen to it, it makes me imagine a story of how two kids have always been friends and did they want together as children. But as they grow up, social groups are starting to pull them apart and it’s hard to stay friends because they have to grow up and maybe grow apart. But in the end whether or not they stay together, they will never forget that they had the time of their lives fighting dragons together and all the walls they crashed through in their childhood. Even though the person might not be there anymore, the memories will always be with you.

  23. I have a whole Youtube playlist full of songs that inspire me for my writing.
    One of my more recent story ideas involves a group of about 5 kid. I want a girl to have an obsession with music and she just has a very appropriate song for every occasion. One scene., the group has rented a car, as they’re getting gas a 6th person asks to come with, after some questioning they let him and the girl plays this song and through out the story it becomes more and more relevent.
    “Alone Together” by Fall out Boy.

    Then later on, that girl falls in love with the one they picked up and he betrays them I found the feeling in this song. It may have started out as “Can’t Sleep love” by Pentatonix,but after teh betrayal if has the after taste of this.
    “Let it Go” by James Bay. (Fangirling a little bit, this song.)
    So excited for this book! I love using music for inspiration!

  24. One of my favorite songs is ” When I Ruled the World ” by ColdPlay. I feel like that tells a story of it’s own. A story of a king who made a mistake and lost it all.

    Thank you!

  25. This song is so beautiful.I could listen to it a thousand times.

  26. please at least consider using the sound track.

  27. oh and one last thing.This is the same song but orchestra version. i like it much better

  28. I think a favorite song of mine that tells a story is Love Story by Taylor Swift. I love romance so I really like that song! One of my favorites.

  29. The song Long Hard Road by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band perfectly depicts my character’s childhood growing up in the 1850s. I like to listen to it, and other old folk music (I made a spotify playlist), to get in the mood when I sit down to write.

    Thanks 🙂

  30. I would say that one song that inspired a story in my mind would be Chasing the Sun by Sara Bareilles, but usually I come up with my own stories, and then create playlists for them. By the way, I love the song 500 Miles, and totally discovered it by accident.

  31. Funny you mention Linkin Park because their song “Somewhere I Belong” was one I listened to when thinking of characters. Most recently, I like listening to violinist Taylor Davis, her original piece “Reflections” is one of my favorites, actually, so is “Awakening”; she has truly inspirational music <3

    Congratulations to past winners. Great being able to read which songs have inspired others!

  32. Congrats to the winners!

    Wow, song that inspire me. Lately I’ve been having an Epica moment, so I’ve been hearing to a lot of their songs and they have one called “Tides of Time” which I find completely beautiful.
    Another song I love and that I think has a beautiful message is by Timo Tolkki called “Key to the Universe”. The lyrics are totally inspiring!
    Queen’s “Who Wants to Live Forever”

    There’s so many great songs out there!!

  33. A song that tells a story I love (and I’ve found to be inspirational in a few of my short stories) is “Piece By Piece” by Kelly Clarkson. I love how this song tells a story of a girl that loses faith in a parental figure but comes to rediscover that faith in someone else and also in herself.

  34. A few years ago when I was writing a time traveling based story, Taylor Swift’s song “I Almost Do” struck me as a perfect fit for my story. In the story, The main character is attempting to return to her normal life after traveling back in time to the Medival Age. She is torn between staying away from the war raging back in time and returning to her friend who she is falling in love with. The song “I Almost Do” captures her feelings perfectly in the lyrics “And I just wanna tell you.
    It takes everything in me not to call you.
    And I wish I could run to you.
    And I hope you know that every time I don’t
    I almost do…”
    I was so excited when I heard this song whole writing. I can’t hear it now without remembering this story.

  35. I really like the story told by the Artemis Fowl books, particularly the first book, and a song that I strongly connect with that book is Necessary Evil by Nikki Yanofsky. Even the title sounds exactly like the main character Artemis, because he kidnaps someone for ransom, but has a good reason for it (though there is not really any good reason to kidnap someone) Some lyrics that really connect the book and the song are…
    There might be —- to pay, but right now I got it made.
    Baby, I am in control.
    Don’t get emotional.
    (I also really like the song)

  36. I like Veins by Dan Smith. For some reason, I love reading to that song, it just makes me feel so happy, and mysterious.

  37. What’s Up by 4 Non Blondes

  38. I love Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven, I feel like it is bursting with a story to tell!

  39. Even when it hurts by hillsong.

  40. I really like Defying Gravity from Wicked (the play) I’ve never actually seen Wicked but, I love how she finds what she really wants, it reminds me of so many times in my life and, many character’s in some of my favorite books.

  41. There have been multiple songs that triggered my imagination, but when asked, I can only remember one right now and it’s not a very good one, but Runaway by Galantis. Title says all, it just makes me think of one of my many made up book characters that would runaway from home. I don’t think I will ever actually put any book characters on paper…whatever.

    Ani sounds like she has a bit of the same personality as Nic and Jaron, except it seems that Nic and Jaron try to get into trouble. Maybe Ani is more like Greta.

    “A warden grabbed my waist and clubbed me across the back with his fist.”

    Is ‘clubbed’ the best word to use? ‘Club’ means to strike a person or animal with a club (thick wooden stick). Wouldn’t struck, punched, beat or smacked be more appropriate?

  42. For inspiration, any song from Yiruma’s ‘First Love’ album helps. They’re piano pieces (I find listening to instrumental music works better for me when I write or need inspiration) and I think they’re all strongly definitive, atmospheric and varying in mood, which is great.
    As for songs that tell stories I love, I think ‘Gay Pirates’ by Cosmo Jarvis and ‘The Mariner’s Revenge Song’ by the Decemberists are both songs that tell memorable tales.

  43. A song that inspired my imagination is Rachel Platten’s ‘fight song’. It triggered my imagination because of the chourus mainly, it goes like: Like a small boat on the ocean sending big waves into motion like how a single word can make a heart open I mgiht only have one match but I can make an explosion. And all those things I didn’t say wreking balls inside my brain I will scream it loud tonight can you hear my voice this time this is my fight song take back my life song proove I’m alright song and I don’t realy care if nobody else believes cause i still got a lot of fight left in me. That was just Really inspiring to me because it basicly tells you never to give up, and to keep going and you’ll prove everyone wrong. That trtiggered my inagination because in a book or something there are a million possiblities.

  44. A song that inspired a story in my imagination would be “Warrior” by Imagine Dragons.

  45. What Does It Take by DaveDays inspired a very specific part of my current WIP, plus it’s a fantastic song!

  46. I really like the song See You Again (not sure who it’s by). It makes me think of a funeral scene.


  48. “It’s Time’ by Imagine Dragons in this music video: tells a meaningful story to me. I’m never changing who I am, no matter who, what, or how you think I should be. It’s been a powerful song to remind me to be me.

  49. The song I would have to choose is “Bird Set Free ” by Sia. Not only is it a very impowering song, but it is also one that has inspired some stories in my mind. A recent one, as based off of this part of the lyrics: “But there’s a scream inside that we all try to hide; we hold on so tight we cannot deny; eats us alive, oh it eats us alive,” was about a girl who is always told she can’t do it, that the goal she wants to reach, she will never be able to reach it. This girl has trouble expressing things and she has this ‘scream’ that she wants to let out, but has trouble and always keeps it in, and it kills her. Not literally, but it really brings her down, knowing that no one believes in her.

  50. One song that tells a story I love is Centuries by Fall Out Boy. The lyrics always remind me of Mark of the Thief 😉

    The lyrics that really stood out to me relating to Mark of the Thief were primarily in the main chorus of the song:

    “Some legends are told” (Legend of Caesar’s Bulla)
    “Some turn to dust or to gold” (Caesar’s Cave)
    “But you will remember me” (Nic)
    “Remember me for centuries”
    “And just one mistake is all it will take” (Stealing the Bulla)
    “We’ll go down in history”
    “Remember me for centuries”

    Other lyrics that relate:

    “And I can’t stop ’til the whole world knows my name” (Nic in the Amphitheater)
    “Cause I was only born inside my dreams” (Nic’s dreams of freedom)

    Thank you so much for this opportunity! I can’t wait for the Scourge! 😀

    • This was a big song for me with Mark of the Thief, Kayla – very cool you recognized it!

  51. “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been” by Relient K. I wrote a story with an extremely dynamic character. I literally detested writing her scenes at the beginning, but that’s how I wanted it because she grew and changed and I loved playing with her character development. And another song by the same band, “Be My Escape,” also sums her up pretty well (though I actually heard both the songs after I’d been working with the character for a pretty long time and they more just fit her rather than inspired her).

    • (Sorry, the first time I submitted that comment it came up with an error sign and I thought it didn’t publish, so I did it again and now there are two.)

  52. “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been” by Relient K. I have this particular dynamic character that fits part of the song very well. I literally detested writing her scenes at the beginning because she was such a jerk, but it was great to play with her character arc and see her change and grow as the story continued. “Be My Escape” by the same band also sums up her inner conflicts really well. (Though actually I didn’t have these songs in mind when I originally starting forming this character – I heard them later and they fit her personality and struggles perfectly)

  53. A song that kind of impersonates a character in a story I’m writing is “Lead With Your Heat” by The Tenors. It says that even when you’re lost or lonely, if you lead with your heart, you will be okay.
    Thanks for the giveaway! Thanks for your songs too. I can’t wait to read The Scourge and listen to the songs at the same time.

  54. One song that, to me, really tells a story is American Pie by Don McLean. The storyline was just interesting to me. I also like broadway musicals. Right now I like Hamilton, The Book of Mormon, and Wicked. They each tell a different story about self discovery that I enjoy.

  55. A song that inspired me and told me a story is originally in Japanese but was translated into English. It is called Glass doll by Aikatsu. (link)
    The story that I got from this song was heart breaking about someone who has
    no freedom and when she finally found the key to becoming free, it gets taken away from her. “look the key has gone to pieces I’m locked inside this bird cage, all alone. Forever.” This statement was very deep to me.

    Thank you for the chance for free give away. I’ve red all your books and your my favorite author ever since your first book. I’m looking forward to this book.

  56. Whenever I listen to “Imagine Dragons” songs like “Radioactive” or “Ready, Aim, Fire”, it inspires me to write a post-apocalyptic or dystopian story!

  57. I love writing and am currently working on several books, mostly for fun. A song that I thought related a lot to one of my main characters is “Redeemed” by big daddy weave. I think it conveys the feeling of good freedom really well.
    I really like fun songs too, like Fireflies by Owl City. I don’t know if it has directly influenced my writing but I listen to it a lot and love the whimsical magic of it.

    • But what I really like listening to while i’m writing are adventurous wordless soundtracks like Pirates of the Caribbean, treasure planet and the theme song of Fairy Tail.

  58. Great question. I love several songs but “Favola” by Eros Ramazzotti always talk to me. It’s a fantasy story, inspired by a book so I loved it so much. Another song I do love right now is “She don’t want the world” by 3 Doors Down, I keep the feeling of freedom and hope every time this song ends and I do want to write a story about it.

  59. I would say that Anybody’s You, by Christina Grimmie, inspires me to continue walking through life with hope and happiness. Christina Grimmie was shot to death at a concert in Orlando barely a week ago, but her music is so touching and heartfelt that it really feels like she’s still here with us. Grimmie lived her life to the fullest, and I hope to come close to the passion and inspiration that she showed in her life and passed on to the other people surrounding her.

  60. Music is the best! Just its ability to bring to mind a story, with a few words and a rhythm, that takes talent. I saw someone already put I Lived by OneRepublic, which I absolutely adore, but there’s another of OneRepublic’s songs, Life in Color, that has provided inspiration for me before. It’s just one of those songs about that little bit of light that can always break through, the hope others don’t see, and a character willing to push forward until the clouds break

  61. Anytime I hear the song, “Rocket,” by the Smashing Pumpkins I think of a play I had to analyze in college called “High Tide.” In the play, two teens are dealing with the loss of their friend who just committed suicide. The song by the Pumpkins conveys an emotion of someone who is struggling with the tragic loss of someone close.

  62. I personally really enjoy listening to Emperors New Clothes by Panic at the Disco. It creates and has an interesting story that is entirely original.

  63. Congrats to the winners!

    The song “Bird with a Broken Wing” by Owl City inspired a short story I wrote not too long ago. I love all of the imagery in the song’s lyrics.

  64. I like to listen to the artists Mattia Cupelli and Michael Logozar. Not technically songs, but orchestral and piano music. I find if I’m listening to music with words while writing I just get distracted 😔 But btw I like the proclaimers too! 😀

  65. The song “Refugee” by Omran Al-Boqaai inspired me to write a book about refugees traveling from place to place.

  66. A song that really inspires me is the mix between “Let Her Go” by Passenger and “Let it Go” from Frozen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *