Please welcome author Katherine Catmull! Her new novel, The Radiant Road, will be released next week on January 19, 2016 from Dutton Books for Young Readers/Penguin. Katherine is here today to discuss the inspirational soundtrack behind The Radiant Road. Check out Kaitlin’s rave review HERE.
I’m a writer and actor in Austin, TX. My next book, a YA fantasy called The Radiant Road (Dutton Young Readers/Penguin), comes out in January 2016.
My first book, Summer and Bird (also Dutton Young Readers), was named one of Booklist’s 2012 Top Ten First Novels for Youth and was both an IndieBound New Voices Pick and an Amazon Editors’ Pick for fall 2012. It’s out in paperback as well.
I am also one of four spooky-storymakers at the Cabinet of Curiosities website. Last year Greenwillow/HarperCollins published a collection of those stories, which was named one of the New York Public Library’s Best Books of 2014.
I often act on stage in various Austin venues, especially Hyde Park Theatre. And I do voice work for games like DC Universe Online (Oracle) and Wizard 101 (Myrella Windspar).
I have written several short plays (you can read one in New Monologues for Women by Women, Vol II), nine of which have been produced either in ScriptWork’s Out of Ink festival or HPT’s FronteraFest. I’ve also collaborated on a couple of longer ones.
I was born in Salt Lake City and lived in Atlanta, Tampa, and Houston as a kid. I have a BA in English Literature from Reed College in Portland, OR, and an MA in lit from The University of Texas at Austin.
You can visit Katherine around the web here:
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All these are songs I listened to while I was writing The Radiant Road, though there were many different reasons behind the listenings.
While I was writing The Radiant Road I had a playlist called “The Isle is Full of Noises.” That’s a line from Shakespeare describing a magical island much like one that appears in the book. The playlist had four whole albums on it, and I used to listen to it on shuffle to find the weird magic I needed for some parts of the book. In quite different ways, all those albums have a similarly eerie quality. So these first four are one song from each of those four albums:
1. “Mysterious Island,” from the album Planet Drum
The drumming on this makes me float.
2. “O Maria, Stella Maris,” Trio Medieval from the album Stella Maris.
The way one of them holds the tonic! They sound like exquisitely beautiful aliens.
3. “Howl,” Jónsi & Alex from the album Riceboy Sleeps.
What are those animals at the end??
4. Allemande from Partita for 8 Voices by Caroline Shaw, performed by Roomful of Teeth.
Listen for at least 30 or 40 seconds, and get ready to have the top of your head blown off.
These next eight, #5 – #12, just put me in the right place to feel out Clare, my main character, and what she was going through.
5. “Sari,” Nelli McKay: Great girl-power —or lack of power—song. Her sly mockery of women’s tendency to apologize is useful for both Clare and me.
6. “Black Horse & the Cherry Tree,” KT Tunstall. Finding her beast is a critical—and terrifying—part of Clare’s journey, and I think the black horse must be KT Tunstall’s beast. When your beast reaches out a hand to you, you can go to it or not—but watch out, because your heart may go without you.
7. “Ditch Effort,” Tom Catmull. My brother’s a singer/songwriter in Missoula. This is one my favorites of his, and it puts me back in that shaky, thrilling, uncertain place of new love, like Clare’s feelings for Finn. “I’m ready to leave, if you want me to!”
8. “Passionate Kisses,” Lucinda Williams. A great song about wanting the art and the love, both, no compromise—and why should there be?
9. “Suzanne,” Leonard Cohen: This song brings my own teenage years back to me vividly, which helped while I was writing Clare.
10. “Sugar Mountain,” Neil Young. A song about teetering between childhood and adulthood, as all teenagers are. When you get as old as I am, it’s easy to forget the poignant, painful, distant-but-close relationship teenagers have with childhood. This song reminds me.
11. “The King of Carrot Flowers, Pt 1,” Neutral Milk Hotel. Marvelous song that grabs me by the neck and drags me back to high school.
12. “2000 Miles,” The Pretenders: Innocence and aching and joy. This song reminds me of the making Finn finally shows Clare, near the end of the book.
Finally three songs that are just generally good for writing, for me:
13. “Earth People,” Dr. Octagon. If you knew me you would be puzzled to hear this is on all my writing playlists, but somehow I find this song weirdly comforting when I am losing my mind. It confirms it! Yes!! Let’s all gloriously lose our minds! EARTH PEOPLE! NEW YORK AND CALIFORNIA! I WAS BORN ON JUPITER!
14. “Spiegel im Spiegel” by Arvo Pärt—it means mirror in mirror. The simplicity of the mirrored parts of the tune meeting and separating and weaving around each other calms me. Pärt’s music really helps me find stillness when I come to writing out of frantic work mode.
15. Ocean, rain, and other nature sounds. So calming when I’m overwired, and listening to the rain helped put me back in Ireland.
Available January 19, 2016 from Dutton/Penguin
About this Book:
A gorgeously written tale of magic, friendship, and self-discovery set in a dream-like landscape filled with fairies.
After years of living in America, Clare Macleod and her father are returning to Ireland, where they’ll inhabit the house Clare was born in—a house built into a green hillside with a tree for a wall. For Clare, the house is not only full of memories of her mother, but also of a mysterious boy with raven-dark hair and dreamlike nights filled with stars and magic. Clare soon discovers that the boy is as real as the fairy-making magic, and that they’re both in great danger from an ancient foe.
Fast-paced adventure and spellbinding prose combine to weave a tale of love and loyalty in this young adult fantasy.
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