Playlist for Blank Spaces
Confession time: the only consistent thing I like in my music is a delicious melody. I go for swoony ballads, heavy metal, shitty pop, classical pieces, whatever—as long as it’s a gorgeous tune, I’ll listen. As far as taste goes, I don’t have any. Really.
With that caveat in place, I’m going to share the playlist happening in the background of my life as I wrote Blank Spaces. I don’t listen to music while I write, but I do listen during the Day Job and the tunes will linger with me for hours. At the time of writing Blank Spaces, I was emerging out of a months-long obsession with Years and Years, a British band whose breakout hit, King, is still one of my favourite songs ever. I played that song so often I’m pretty sure I have the lyrics imprinted on my brain. This list is mostly Years and Years plus a mix of contemporary or related music I found on Youtube at the time.
None of this was consciously chosen, the list just grew as I discovered new songs. Nonetheless, some of the music on this list seems to be about deep complicated feelings and unlikely love, which is crazy appropriate for Blank Spaces. Did the music influence the writing, or did the writing influence the music choice? I’m not sure I’ll ever know!
For those who don’t have time to listen to 41 songs, these are my personal favourites:
King, Years and Years
Soaring vocals, catchy melody, synth, and lyrics about recovering yourself. Be still my cynical, cracked, possibly hipster heart.
Memo, Years and Years
This song gives me Feelings. It’s very sad and lilting, and about unrequited love. I’m not sure the object of affection here is a good match for the singer, given how he knows the singer’s feelings but is reluctant to “answer” him. I particularly love the deliberate use of a gendered pronoun here – queer musicians have historically been forced to drop their preference of pronoun in favour of the more neutral (and normatively-acceptable) “you”, so this is great to hear on a representation level.
If I Go, Ella Eyre
Eyre has an amazing voice and deserves more attention. I love this song because it’s so honest about what she needs, and because asking for a break from someone you love isn’t an experience people talk much about. It’s such a tangle of emotions: I need to be by myself, but not for long, and I will come back, but will you still want me? Still love me? Do you understand me?
I Found, Amber Run
I have VERY MIXED FEELINGS about the official video, so I’ve linked a lyric video here. The song itself is gorgeous and powerful. I think it’s about realising that what and who you need was right in front of you, and has been for a long time. I’m not sure if this person is still around for the singer, or if they went away and haven’t come back, but I love the connection and impact of the realisation. This is the “Oh, it’s you” moment.
Take Me To Church, Hozier
You should know that I primarily listened to these songs, rather than watched the videos, so my first impression of this song wasn’t affected by the video. However, it’s THIS song, and THIS video, so I will try to justify why this is included when the video is so heartbreaking. I’ve linked the audio version here, as I appreciate that some readers may not want to watch it – I usually don’t, as I find the video unbearably sad, especially in contrast to the defiant delight of the song.
So. The song. It’s a glorious revelling in sex, unlimited by orientation or gender, a kind of fuck you to anyone who cares to comment. I imagine Jonah relating a great deal to this one. I adore the religious imagery and language, the rhythm, and wordplay. The song is clever, fun, angry, sexy, and blasphemous. Amen.
About Blank Spaces
Absence is as crucial as presence.
The decision to stop dating has made Vaughn Hargrave’s life infinitely simpler: he has friends, an excellent wardrobe, and a job in the industry he loves. That’s all he really needs, especially since sex isn’t his forte anyway and no one else seems interested in a purely romantic connection. But when a piece is stolen from his art gallery and insurance investigator Jonah Sondern shows up, Vaughn finds himself struggling with that decision.
Jonah wants his men like his coffee: hot, intense, and daily. But Vaughn seems to be the one gay guy in Toronto who doesn’t do hookups, which is all Jonah can offer. No way can Jonah give Vaughn what he really wants, not when Jonah barely understands what love is.
When another painting goes missing, tension ramps up both on and off the clock. Vaughn and Jonah find themselves grappling not just with stolen art, but with their own differences. Because a guy who wants nothing but romance and a guy who wants nothing but sex will never work—right? Not unless they find a way to fill in the spaces between them.
Now available from Riptide Publishing. http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/blank-spaces
About Cass Lennox
Cass Lennox is a permanent expat who has lived in more countries than she cares to admit to and suffers from a chronic case of wanderlust as a result. She started writing stories at the tender age of eleven, but would be the first to say that the early years are best left forgotten and unread. A great believer in happy endings, she arrived at queer romance via fantasy, science fiction, literary fiction, and manga, and she can’t believe it took her that long. Her specialties are diverse characters, gooey happy ever afters, and brownies. She’s currently sequestered in a valley in southeast England.
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To celebrate the release of Blank Spaces, one lucky winner will receive a $15 gift certificate to All Romance Ebooks! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 19, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info.