I sometimes need complete silence to write. Scene-setting? Difficult verbal interactions? Quiet, please.
When tackling certain sections, however (well-flowing dialogue and physical interactions like fights and, um, sexytimes), my ability to craft those scenes can be enhanced by listening to particular songs. In one case, an emotionally powerful song (Holcombe Waller's Hardliners) was even (with the artist's permission) incorporated into the story itself (Easy - chapter 24).
While I wrote Between the Lines, I amassed a playlist on iTunes that grew longer along with the novel. Any song that spoke to or about my characters - whether the lyrics touched what they were going through or the music reflected their emotional states - ended up in that list. I found myself frequently just hitting the replay button any time I sat down to write. Those songs became a soundtrack for the story.
As I began writing the next book (a sequel to the first), I moved a few of those tracks to a new playlist and started the process over.
When readers and interviewers began asking questions concerning musical inspiration, I realized that some might like to hear those soundtracks for themselves. Going one step further, I thought it would be cool to assign tracks to chapters. Individual playlists are now posted on my YouTube channel.
Breakable's playlist was over ninety tracks long before I pared it down. Even though it's my longest book, it has the least amount of chapters. So, I ended up keeping a few extra this time. Enjoy!