Music Month: Stefan Bachmann, Brandon Sanderson, and Karen Bao

All this month, we’re celebrating the influence that music has on writers. The festivities were launched with Christopher’s interview with Rachel Hartman, in which the two discussed the practice of overtone singing and its profound effect on Rachel’s latest novel, Shadow Scale. Christopher recently shared some of the songs he listened to repeatedly while writing the Inheritance Cycle. Today we are happy to share Stefan Bachmann, Brandon Sanderson, and Karen Bao‘s playlists or thoughts on music in continuation of Music Month.

Stefan Bachman:

“This playlist is a bit of a strange mixture, but so is the book it goes with, so I felt it worked. My next book is called A Drop of Night, and it’s basically a YA thriller, but it takes place in both 18th century France and the modern day, and has various genres mixed into it, and two different writing styles, and I wanted music that set the tone and the mood for both of them. I wanted cold, sharp music, with a few sad and introspective cues, that gets slightly warmer as the book progresses. For the contemporary scenes I listened to a lot of driving action music, but also some pop/alternative because the main character is a bit of a punk. And of course most of the playlist is film music, because honestly, what’s better than film music?

Each of the songs below are for a specific scene in the book, and they’re roughly in chronological order. So, until I’m done working on a scene I’ll listen to one song endlessly on repeat to the point where everyone in the house is thoroughly annoyed with me. (Sorry, family!)”

Brandon Sanderson

When Brandon first promised to send us a playlist, I was really curious about what kind of music he listens to while writing. I imagined it would be an eclectic mix of instrumental and ambient pieces, especially after reading Words of Radiance and some of his other works. Well, is his playlist eclectic? Yes! Is it at all what I thought it would be? No! Is that part of why Music Month is awesome? Absolutely!

Karen Bao

Back in February we featured Christopher’s interview with debut author Karen Bao, and today we’re releasing bonus footage in which they discuss music’s influence on Karen’s writing style and what humans might listen to on the Moon. Check it out!

Here’s “Derezzed” for Karen’s lunar fans:


We have more neat content and playlists to share over the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

* Want more inspiration? Check out our collection of guest articles and interviews here!

Immanuela Meijer

Immanuela is the Paolinis' webmaster, archivist, and all around "make-things-go" Renaissance woman.