Saturday, 16 January 2016

Guest Post: Liz de Jager's Music Playlist

JUDGED has been released into the wild!!!

To honour this very merry occasion and to celebrate the release of Liz de Jager's concluding novel to the infamous Blackhart Legacy trilogy - Liz has stopped by to tell us about her special music playlists for writing! That's right folks. You get an insight into the magical world that is Liz's mind and discover what types of music inspires her writing - and the musical inspiration behind the Banished, Vowed and Judged!

So here we go!

Music is very much part of my writing process.  I can’t not write with music on in the background or on my iPod when I’m writing outside of home.  In fact, I bought myself a ridiculous pair of earphones that cover most of my head for when I write in caf├ęs.  The music keeps me focused, puts my mind at ease and it becomes background noise to a certain extent. It allows me to focus on the page and the words and the characters. 

I have a lot of playlists that I listen to.  If you’re on Spotify, do find me.  My taste is pretty eclectic.  I have a huge playlist called CURRENT FAVES and this is the playlist I tend to write to most often.  It has a little bit of everything – from dance, to pop, to rock to a bit of rap and some folk and yes, even some country.  No judging please. 

I find a lot of new music by tracking down playlists for some of my favourite TV shows.  I got a lot of music from the Teen Wolf TV show which I’ve pulled across into Current Faves.  Reign has its own playlist which I’m subscribed to.  When I watch TV or movies and I hear a song I like, I’ll do my utmost to find it and add to my lists. 

I also have private playlists for characters.  I went, when I started writing Book 3, which is what we’re celebrating (hello, Judged, you pretty thing) I knew that Kit, my main character would start the book by not being in a good place.  I worked out an exercise playlist for it and I mashed it up with a playlist I found somewhere called Walk Like A Badass and I loved it.  It was the perfect playlist for what she was going through and it helped me a lot writing some of the initial scenes.  

For writing big fight sequences I would listen to a lot of instrumental stuff, mostly from movies, like the music from say Avatar or Inception.  There’s a group called Two Steps From Hell and they do music for trailers and ‘position music’ that you’d hear in adverts etc. and a lot of their music is just perfect to listen to.  Also, for fight scenes: listen to the Gladiator and 13th Warrior soundtracks.  You’d want to run off and punch someone in the face for sure.  Similarly, one of my favourite music composers is Ramin Djawadi. His music has been used in so many movies and tv shows, most recently probably Game of Thrones.  One of my favourite soundtracks at the moment is the Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston movie: Only Lovers Left Alive.  It is the most beautiful movie of an everlasting love between two vampires and the music is just gorgeous and eerie and surreal.  I wrote all the scenes between Kit and Thorn listening to this soundtrack. 

Theme songs for characters? Oh definitely. 

For Thorn we’ve got Run Boy Run by Woodkid.  The lyrics are 100% about my lost boy trying to make sense of himself in a world he doesn’t understand. 

For Aiden  I’m thinking  Little Monster by Royal Blood.  There’s this growliness about this song that suits him so well. 

For Dante, it’s definitely Short Change Hero by The Heavy.  The way this song starts, all slow and a little quiet is just perfect for him as he starts the same way. A little charming, a little smarmy, but then he completely becomes his own person which I really like. 

For Ms. Kit Blackhart…it has to be Bjork’s Army of Me, no doubt. 

Like I said, feel free to find me on Spotify and snoop through far too much music.  My name on there is Liz de Jager and I should be easy enough to find. 


Moved to the UK in 2000 with my husband. We now live in Kent with our dog Sparrow. I ran My Favourite Books Blog - a book review site - until the end of 2012 when we decided to shut it for our own sanity. 

My book deal was announced in March 2013 and the first book THE BLACKHART LEGACY: BOOK 1: BANISHED is due out in Spring 2014 from Tor UK, an imprint of Pan Macmillan.



Wednesday, 13 January 2016

#NeverEvers Blog Tour: Top Tips For School Trips!

Guess what?

It's my stop for the #NeverEvers blog tour! I am honoured to be here today and bring you guys a fun fantabulous post by our beloved writing duo - Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison!

Having loved their novel, Lobsters, I was eager to jump on the #NeverEvers bandwagon and host a guest post to celebrate the release of the new snow-filled adventure that is sure to win every reader's hearts and have us laugh until we burst.

So get your woolly knits on, hats and scarves, the whole hog, and prepare for 5 Top Tips for School Trips brought to you by Tom and Lucy!


1. Keep all illicit materials well hidden. When I was about 13, I went on a school trip to France, and the main goal for most of us was to buy as many fireworks, ninja stars and general illegal objects as possible. This makes its way into Never Evers, as the boys are obsessed with buying bangers and other dodgy stuff from French newsagents. On my real-life school trip, our method for 'smuggling' our illicit material back into England was (we thought) quite ingenious: instead of putting it in our rucksacks (which were liable to be searched by teachers), we hid it in crisp packets. So, as we got on the coach, and walked past the teachers, we appeared to be chomping through packs of Salt 'n' Vinegar Walker's. But, really, each of our packets was stuffed with mini-fireworks and ninja stars. It worked - but I am certainly not advocating other people try it...

2. Get in with the teachers. This is one for the OLDER teen school trips. When Lucy and I were 17, we went on a school trip to La Rochelle in France. As sixth formers, we were supposed to be there to help supervise the 12 and 13-year-olds, but actually our main goal to was to get as drunk as possible. We managed to obtain some bottles of cheap French liquor, and made a very potent punch, which we enjoyed with our other sixth form friends once all the younger kids were safely in bed. However, one of the teachers heard us from across the hall, and came to see what was going on. Luckily, though, this was a teacher we had already established a good relationship with during the trip; talking and joking around with him, that kind of thing. He caught us with the booze, but since we were on good terms with him, he didn't confiscate it - just chuckled, told us to keep it down, and let us get on with it. Irrelevant yet interesting fact: that teacher was also the uncle of pop singer George Michael.


3. Sit in the middle of the coach. This is another tip we managed to work into Never Evers. Sitting at the front of the coach means you're way too near the teachers to have any actual fun; sitting at the back of the coach means the teachers will suspect you're up to no good, and therefore keep checking on you. However, sitting in the middle of the coach means you're able to basically get away with what you want. Although, the only drawback is that you're probably right next to that horrible, tiny little toilet. So, it's swings and roundabouts, really.

4. Get Real. Just because foreign boys are all exotic like, doesn’t mean they aren’t teenage boys. All that stuff about them speaking the language of lurve…I mean maybe it’s true but I haven’t seen any evidence of it.

5. Remove 80% of what you have packed. You aren’t going to wear those gold bejewelled flip flops walking round the Alps, and it isn’t possible to wear eighteen sets of pyjamas over three nights…

And there you have it! Hope you guys enjoyed that as much as I did! Thanks so much Lucy and Tom for stopping by and sharing your tips with us! Hope this helps those of you who are still in school! Easy on the mischief guys...

Check out this awesome video as Tom and Lucy introduce Never Evers to readers!


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