I’m ridiculously excited because today it’s my stop on The Deck of Omens blog tour! A huge thank you to Sarah Mather and Titan books for not only providing me with a copy of the book for review, but for inviting me to take part in the blog tour by hosting a guest post from the author herself, Christine Lynn Herman! I was so ready to return to Four Paths to find out how the story ends and honestly it did not disappoint, the conclusion was everything I hoped it would be. My guest post today is talking about the music that helped bring those pages to life – so if you want to know what The Deck of Omens playlist is, read on!
The Deck of Omens Playlist by Christine Lynn Herman
I’m the kind of writer who is heavily inspired by music. So needless to say, playlists are an integral part of my drafting and revising process. As I gear up for THE DECK OF OMENS’ release, I’m excited to share five of the songs that helped me write it with you all…plus a little non-spoilery insight into what exactly they inspired.
1. Did It To Myself by Orla Gartland
One of the most prevailing themes throughout this duology is responsibility and blame, especially in relationships (platonic and/or romantic). Did It To Myself perfectly encapsulates the way some of the characters (….one in particular) feel during THE DECK OF OMENS, and their worries about self-sabotage.
Isaac Sullivan’s POVs are an important part of this book, and this song helped out a lot when I needed to channel his mindset–he feels a lot of guilt for everything that’s happened to him in his past, and trying to sort out what is and isn’t his fault is always simmering in the back of his head.
The audio engineering of the song also got these emotions across to me: the percussion, the guitar, the resignation in the vocals, the perfect understanding of when to strip the sound down and when to build it up. Highly recommend a listen if you want to feel angsty :).
2. Dynasty by MIIA
May Hawthorne is another new POV character in THE DECK OF OMENS, and the perspective she provides on her family was both challenging and exciting to write. May is a closed-off, quiet person–for reasons that are thoroughly explored in this book. Her arc talks a lot about what happens when the things you’ve always believed in turn out to be flawed–shaken faith in a family, in a destiny, in your own power and purpose.
I put Dynasty on this playlist the moment I heard it because I could see how perfectly it tackled all of that, and how much it felt like May’s journey to me–things falling down and crumbling. But there’s a whole lot more to May’s story than despair, and I’m so excited for readers to watch her grow.
3. Bad Decisions by Bastille
Supernatural powers might seem fun at first, but when you stack up the consequences–malevolent forces in the woods, big responsibilities, ill-advised pacts with said malevolent forces–it’s easy to see how quickly they become overwhelming. And with overwhelming stakes come…well, Bad Decisions.
All of the main characters in THE DECK OF OMENS have to handle a lot, and they don’t always handle it well. To me, Bad Decisions encapsulates a part of this book where everyone is struggling, whether internally or externally. It all culminates in a very dramatic series of scenes where big secrets come to light and big decisions get made, some positive, some very self-destructive. And I had Bad Decisions on repeat while I brainstormed all of it.
4. Organs by Of Monsters and Men
Sometimes, when I was a teenager, I would feel things so strongly that it felt as if pieces of myself were being destroyed. The lines between emotional and physical pain blur often in adolescence, or at least they did in mine, and so I tend to write characters who are handling similarly big feelings.
Organs is a song about being so overcome by things that you want to take yourself apart piece by piece, and it’s also a little gruesome in its imagery. So obviously it was pretty on-brand for a book about supernatural manifestations of trauma, and it also affected me deeply as I wrote said book. There are moments where every single one of the five main characters in THE DECK OF OMENS feels this way. They’ve been given more responsibility than anyone should have to bear, but they need to find a way to shoulder it. And they can’t do it alone. Some things are too big. Some things, you shouldn’t have to handle by yourself.
5. Shoulder to Shoulder Around the Fire by Rogue Valley
Which brings us here, I guess. I like writing books about darker topics and themes, but I also like emphasizing the way community and support can help lift the burdens life places upon you. This song has always emphasized the importance of those bonds to me: that while we can’t control what life throws at us, with good friends, we can make it a lot easier to deal with.
In Four Paths, my main characters have to handle a dangerous corruption coming from the Gray, worsening tensions between their families and the rest of the town, and even more dark and deadly secrets that just might be the death of them all. It’s the kind of problem that was never meant for just one person to solve. Writing a duology where five very different teens learn how to trust one another despite all odds was incredibly rewarding, and I’m excited for readers to see just how they all deal with all these obstacles in THE DECK OF OMENS.
Thank you for reading and thank you to Christine Lynn Herman for this fantastic insight into her story and characters, I am a little in love with Isaac Sullivan – but don’t let my other book boyfriends know! The Deck of Omens is out now and available through Titan Books!