Don’t Stop Me Now: The music behind Magic Sometimes Happens …

Margaret James

It’s paperback release day for Magic Sometimes Happens! Today, we have Margaret James on the blog chatting about the music that inspires her writing …

As the mother of two music-mad daughters who were once teenagers (gosh, were they really, it doesn’t seem five minutes since they were fifteen and seventeen respectively), my house used to vibrate to the racket of competing stereo systems and CD players. I sometimes wonder why, like the walls of Jericho when Joshua blew his trumpet, it didn’t come tumbling down.

But I must admit I’m addicted to music, too. While I’m writing, there’s usually music playing somewhere in the house – Classic FM on the radio in the kitchen, more recent stuff on Spotify via my iPad, classic rock or other modern music on my CD player. I’m Freddie Mercury’s greatest fan and Queen does it for me any time. When I’m on a roll with a novel, it’s always a case of Don’t Stop Me Now!

Or, conversely, if I’m having trouble with a book, this rousing stuff from Gladiator helps to wake me and my characters up:

While I’m planning a novel, I need to bring my characters to life in my head, and thinking about what kind of music they like helps me to do that. My most recent novel, Magic Sometimes Happens, features a hero who loves the American classics and a heroine who has never heard of George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern or any of those guys. But it turns out my heroine Rosie was listening when my hero Patrick was telling her about his favourites, and later in the story she uses a piece of Gershwin to send him a special message:

Rosie’s tastes are more modern, but none the worse for that. I suspect she and Patrick are closer in their appreciation of great music than either of them might think. I’m sure they’d both love this from Amy Winehouse:

By the way, if you’re wondering about that reference to Joshua and his trumpet – here’s the final song:

Mahalia Jackson, Queen of Gospel and just about everything else, you rocked back then and you always will!

MSH_hirespackshot revised

Magic Sometimes Happens is available as a paperback now from all good online book retailers and book-shops. Click here to buy it today.

14 thoughts on “Don’t Stop Me Now: The music behind Magic Sometimes Happens …

  1. Fabulous post – I love your wide ranging choice of music. Don’t stop me now is absolutely one of my all time favourite songs! Sadly when I write I need quiet – or I end up trying to sing the lyrics. I wish you every success with Magic Sometimes Happens. I loved The Wedding Diary so I’m looking forward to this 🙂

  2. I love this post, but I’m afraid I’d never listen to Queen! I rarely listen to music when I’m actually writing but I do like to make a Spotify list when I’m planning a novel, to help create and set the mood. On a personal level, I like a good old misery fest, musically; the deeper and darker, the better!

  3. Sometimes a music track will just hit me as being relevant to a particular part of a novel. So much so that for both BAIS and AIP, I made up a ‘soundtrack’.

    Music is so evocative. Great tracks there, Margaret.


  4. Thank you, ladies. You must like Amy then, Chris? As for my tastes in music – I’m a total tart. I love just about everything. The examples above are just a very small and random selection. Spotify was invented for me…

  5. Great post, Margaret – and I love the diverse music tracks. I’m just an ageing rock chick I’m afraid, and my husband used to be a rock drummer. Luckily for me, he chose advertising instead of a music career, otherwise I’m sure we wouldn’t be together now. But I do like Gershwin – in fact the ballet school I used to go to did a ballet to Rhapsody in Blue, which I loved.

    Magic Sometimes Happens is a fabulous read, I loved it 🙂

  6. Great choices, Margaret – and I am putting my hand up as another Queen fan! We saw Brian May unexpectedly in London recently, and the entire family got excited. And I loved Magic Sometimes Happens – couldn’t put it down! 🙂

  7. Ah, Margaret. Great choices. ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ is very dear to me, and I used to sing Amy Winehouse songs in competitions. And I love a rousing classic. Fab post. Happy publication day 🙂 xx

  8. Great post, Margaret. I never listen to music when writing, needing silence to sort out my thoughts! But an image of you with such a catholic taste in music is an illuminating one. I’m afraid my own tastes differ, with the exception of Gershwin, Cole, and Kern, etc. I just love the dreamy romantic music of that era, so will definitely enjoy ‘Magic Sometimes Happens’. But Amy Winehouse – I’ll pass!

  9. As my mother used to say: it wouldn’t do for us all to like the same things! I’m a fan of Brian May, too – an all-round good guy. The badgers should survive with him on their side.

  10. Who can read the words ‘don’t stop me now’ without hearing Freddie Mercury instantly! Music is such a fabulous evocative way to help readers relate to your characters. Queen, Gershwin and Amy Winehouse, eh? They do it for me… Can’t wait to read ‘Magic Sometimes Happens’. Best of luck, hope you’re having a great week. x

  11. What a really enjoyable post, Margaret – and what a clever idea. I love your music selection. But unlike you, I like to work in complete silence. Music gets the emotions moving too much, and I like inner calm, even if there is an outpouring of emotion on the page.

    Happy Publication Day! I can’t wait to read the book.

  12. It’s great that you have such varied taste in music, I do too! The only things I don’t like are big-band jazz and reggae I think 🙂 Queen are brilliant, can see why you love them!

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