Killer Playlist

“Who do you trust when you can’t trust yourself?”

I am so, so, so excited to be part of this blog tour! And, this is such a cool post, I am seriously fangirling over this!!!

Today I am stoked to have the author of this book, Emily Barr, as a guest on my blog! She’s talking about her writing process, and even more exciting, her PLAYLIST!!! I finished The Truth and Lies Of Ella Black last night, and have been swimming in this playlist all day today! It is my official mood for the week.


There are very few elements in my writing routine. There’s coffee, and there’s music. The rest of it varies: I write in different spots around my house, and at different times of day. Sometimes I’m writing at five in the morning, and at other times at midnight. Some days I write all day, and sometimes I do an hour and then go to the gym to think through a plot problem on the treadmill (the gym is a recent change: it seemed better than puzzling it out over cake). Generally I write at home, but sometimes I go out to coffee shops. However, almost all the time, I’m listening to music.  

I think I need the focus it gives me. My household is hectic, filled with teenagers and guinea pigs. I love to sit in the middle of it all, headphones on and music playing, ignoring them all and writing in my own little world while still feeling that things are going on around me. The one thing I can’t listen to while I’m writing is anything with words. 

Sometimes it’s classical music (I see from my Spotify account that Rachmaninoff and Schubert come out top here). While I was writing The Truth and Lies of Ella Black, I listened to a lot of Philip Glass. The calm of it felt like the right counterpoint to the drama that was unfolding on the page. 

So, when I’m writing, it’s all about the calm music without distracting words in it. However, when I’m thinking about a book, planning it, immersing myself in the story and working out the twists and turns of the plot, then I love to make a playlist that encapsulates the story. For this post, I’ve pulled it all together into a Spotify playlist, which is here: 

This playlist is a mix of the thoughts, feelings and emotions that I experienced while writing, and that Ella was experiencing through the story. The Rip by Portishead is a crystallisation of how Ella felt in two big scenes (no spoilers here). Let it Happen is a song about frightening moments of acceptance. Some songs remind me of the amazing music you hear everywhere in Rio. Alt Niss and Karol de Souza are wonderful artists. Som Brasil by Nego Alvaro whisks me straight back to the swerving, hurtling cabs and the samba dancing in the street in Lapa. Plus who wouldn’t want to hear Life on Mars sung acoustically in Portuguese? There Goes The Fear is cathartic: it goes from tension to release. The Latin-American ending (and great music video) is wonderful! 

I couldn’t not add Umbrella, originally by Rhianna. It’s one of the all-time great love pop songs (this is for you, Christian!). This Manic Street Preachers cover adds a British twist, and seriously ramps up that key chorus…


Be sure to pick up this awesome book, crank up your headphones, and fall into this dark story!

Thank you so much Emily, for sharing your process with us!!! Huge thanks to Penguin Teen for sending me a copy and including me on this blog tour!!!

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