Undercover Soundtrack

The Undercover Soundtrack – Keira Michelle Telford

‘Perfectly dark, tortured and ever so slightly angry’

Once a week I host a writer who uses music as part of their creative process – perhaps to open a secret channel to understand a character, populate a mysterious place, or explore the depths in a pivotal moment. This week’s post is by Keira Michelle Telford @mylostanddamned

Soundtrack by Emilie Autumn, Lyriel, Two Steps From Hell

I listen to a lot of music, so it’s no wonder that all of my characters have their own theme song. Each book has its own theme song, too, and I listen to music constantly while I write.


For Silver: Acheron, I was mostly listening to Victoriandustrial musician Emilie Autumn. Her Opheliac album is so perfectly dark, tortured, and ever so slightly angry. (Okay, quite a bit angry.) At this point in the timeline, Ella ‘Silver’ Cross has just been banished for treason. She’s caught up in an emotional whirlwind, and Autumn’s Opheliac encapsulates this turmoil perfectly.

The title itself (also the title of a track on the album), is named after Shakespeare’s Ophelia in the play Hamlet, and is most well-known for her inability to cope with her emotional distress and broken heart, and for her suicide as a result of this. In this vein, the Emilie Autumn song Opheliac is filled with despair, and almost perfectly expresses Silver’s growing depression and a battle against her own sorrow.

If I had to pick just one other song that inspired me the most from this album, I would choose I Want My Innocence Back. Every time I listen to it, I can imagine exactly what Silver’s feeling in the book. I seem to recall putting this track on repeat, and listening to it for eight hours straight.

Another band that inspired me during the creation of Silver: Acheron was Lyriel. I love all of Lyriel’s albums, and especially their style of mixing folk rock with gothic rock. One song on their recent album, Leverage (the title track), inspired me because it represents Silver’s transition from her former life to her new life – that of a banished prisoner.

Which came first?

I often wonder what comes first: the music or the scene I’m writing. I tend to think that I’m attracted to songs/musicians whose work reflects the emotions I’m writing about, but every now and then, I hear a song and am immediately able to visualise a scene from a book I haven’t even begun to write yet. Just the other day, I was listening to Two Steps From Hell—an instrumental group who do a lot of scoring for movies and trailers—and stumbled upon a track called Setting Sail. In an instant, I knew how the last book of my second series, The Legacy Trilogy, ends.

Keira Michelle Telford is a British ex-pat, now living in British Columbia, Canada. She is the author of a 10-book series of post-apocalyptic, dystopian science fiction books,  centering on the character of Ella ‘Silver’ Cross. The first book (a novella), Acheron, was released in November 2011. The next, A New Age Dawns (the fourth book in the series), is due in September. Find Keira on Goodreads, Facebook (and also here on Facebook) and on Twitter as @mylostanddamned

15 thoughts on “The Undercover Soundtrack – Keira Michelle Telford

  1. Very interesting. I’ve never heard it called Victoriandustrial before. I find that listening to music is a central part of my writing as well. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I think (or at least the website tells me) the term was coined by Ms Autumn. If you liked this piece, dig around the archives and you’ll find a whole universe of authors who write using music. Hosting this series I’ve made some wonderful discoveries, both musical and literary. Thanks for sharing the link!

  2. Roz, I still love the series, and always check in even if I don’t find time to comment. I am fascinated by hearing the music other writers attach to their process and work.

    I discovered Emilie Autumn through the song Across the Sky, which is on several of my writing playlists, and has a lot of meaning for two of my characters. Cheers, and good luck to Keira! Keep up the good work, Roz!

    1. Hi Vaughn – always appreciate getting a comment from you! (And is that a new avatar you’re wearing?) It’s great when a blogger on this series hits on a favourite artiste of another writer (and I have to say I rather approve of Ms Autumn’s hair and pallor…)

  3. I completely sympathize with Keira’s use of song in formulating unplanned scenes. When the right rhythm thumps against my gut, inspiration floods my mind, and I feel courageous. A particular song may awaken a particular emotion, or a particular plot objective that wasn’t there before the song came into my ear drums, and I feel free. Often to preserve that feeling for as long as the adrenaline and creativity can last, I place the song on repeat and revel in its beauty. Most recently, I felt such an inspirational spark while listening to Yoav’s “Angel and the Animal”, a sexy, minimal, alternative rock marvel.

    1. You just said that better than I ever could. I bow before you.

      *performs awkward bowing maneuver before collapsing into an uncoordinated bundle on the floor, hair flopping all over the place*

      Now, away I go to Google ‘Yoav’… 🙂

  4. Really enjoyed being introduced to some new music, and will be checking out the Acheron books, too. What a fun way to combine the arts, Roz. This is a great series.

    Great “meeting” you, Keira!

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