New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries stopped by XOXOAD to dish a little bit about what gets her in the mood…for writing that is! If you’re like Sabrina, (or most of us here at XOXOAD) you enjoy listening to music while you read/write. Check out Sabrina’s awesome playlist for her latest title in the Duke’s Men series, How The Scoundrel Seduces!


Some writers use collages to gather their disparate thoughts about a work. I’m not visual, so I use music. Every time I begin writing a new book, I compile a playlist of songs tailored for that specific story. It’s usually a strange mix of pop, Celtic, rock, and folk selections that I pull from, well, everywhere. The songs don’t mirror the book exactly. They just give a flavor of the story or the characters or the mood.

For example, for How the Scoundrel Seduces, which has a thread involving the Romany, I chose songs or instrumental pieces about gypsies, traveling people, tinkermen, or wanderers in general. Like these:

Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves” by Cher
Every version of “The Tinkerman’s Daughter” I had on my computer (there were three—I do like my folk and Celtic)
For Loving Me” by Peter, Paul & Mary
Freeborn Man Of the Traveling People” by Cherish The Ladies
Gypsies” from the soundtrack to the movie Emma
Gypsy” by Suzanne Vega
Hopeless Wanderer” by Mumford & Sons
Raggle Taggle Gypsy” by Christy Moore

Notice that they range all over in genre, from pop to rock to folk to soundtracks to Celtic.

Then I added songs about bad boys (I have quite a collection, and I do different ones for different heroes, depending on who they are). For Tristan, it was all about his charm and seductive ability and criminal past, so I chose lots of pieces involving those three:

Bad To The Bone” by George Thorogood & The Destroyers
Lay Ye Doon Love” by Old Blind Dogs
Madam I’m a Darling” by Karan Casey & John Doyle
Turn Me On” by Norah Jones
You’re No Good” by Linda Ronstadt
Settle Down” by Peter, Paul, and Mary
Devil’s Son” and “Bury My Demons” by Enter the Haggis (With lines like “I’ll die alone” and “I’m gonna bury my demons in the cold, hard ground,” how could you not think of a bad boy who hides his torment behind his charm?)

Since Zoe is of a higher class than Tristan, I threw in some songs about class differences or disapproving parents:

The Silver Dagger” by Solas (disapproving mother)
Bold Jamie” by Vintage Wildflowers (poor suitor)
Rich Girl” by Hall and Oates
Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” by Paul Simon
Pretty Mary” by Peter, Paul, and Mary (poor suitor)

Then I added some songs about sexual attraction:

Temptation Eyes” by The Grass Roots
Queen of the Night” by Whitney Houston
Black is the Color” by Cara Dillon (and Karan Casey and Niamh Parsons)
Sleepy Maggie” (cover of “Hot! Hot! Hot!” by The Cure) by Bad Haggis

I think of these as “soundtracks” to the book, although I can’t really listen to them while I’m writing, because the lyrics interfere. I just listen to them to put me in the mood or root me in the feel of the story. But I know some people listen to music while reading.

Do you listen to music while reading? What do you think of writers’ playlists?