I love listening to music when I write and even more so when I read. So it made sense to put together a playlist of songs to go with my new book, The Sham. These are songs that I listened to as I was writing but they also go with major events in the book. More to the point, they’re just tip top tunes!
About the Sham: Eighteen-year-old Emily Heath would love to leave her dead-end town, known locally as “The Sham”, with her boyfriend, Jack, but he’s very, very sick; his body is failing and his brain is shutting down. He’s also in hiding, under suspicion of murder. Six months’ ago, strange signs were painted across town in a dialect no one has spoken for decades and one of Emily’s classmates washed up in the local floods.
Emily has never trusted her instincts and now they’re pulling her towards Jack, who the police think is a sham himself, someone else entirely. As the town wakes to discover new signs plastered across its walls, Emily must decide who and what she trusts, and fast: local vigilantes are hunting Jack; the floods, the police, and her parents are blocking her path; and the town doesn’t need another dead body.
Listen on YouTube:
1. Thomston, Burning out
Emily is forced to watch as four of her classmates bully a small boy in the local playground. She meets Jack and, together, they are able to save him. Everyone is traumatized but Jack helps her to feel better: “I’m coming up, I’m too young to worry ‘bout burning out”.
2. Girls in Hawaii, Where do your tears come from?
This is a very moody and atmospheric song for when Emily finds out that her classmate – one of the playground bullies – is dead.
3. Snakehips (ft. Sinead Harnett), Days with you
After tourists claim Jack is their long lost nephew, someone called Matthew, Jack disappears and Emily convinces herself that she really is “better off without you”. It has a great vibe and it’s very upbeat, even though it’s a sad point in the book.
4. Ed Sheeran, Thinking out loud
This is the music playing for Emily and Jack’s first kiss; “Take me into your loving arms. Place your head on my beating heart.” Aaaah.
5. Ella Eyre, Deeper
Jack doesn’t give away his emotions easily and this song perfectly encapsulates what Emily thinks Jack is feeling – that he doesn’t want to commit – and how he should “dig a little deeper”.
6. Lennie Kravitz, The Chamber
The police are trying to convince Emily that Jack is actually Matthew and that he’s a killer. She’s angry, hurt, upset and feels betrayed: “You killed the love that was once so strong. With no regret to what you did wrong”.
7. Jessie Ware, Wildest moments
This song is playing over the speakers of the supermarket café when Emily finally finds everything out – about who Jack really is and who killed the girls. It manages to perfectly encapsulate the complexity of Jack and Emily’s relationship and the situation she has to deal with at the end of the book; “we could be the greatest, we could be the worst of all”.
8. Clean Bandit (featuring Jess Glynne), Rather Be
This song conveys the end of the book brilliantly and leaves us on a really upbeat tone. It’s a tip top tune!
**This book is unsuitable for younger readers; it contains discussions about murder scenes, conversations about sex and profanity. To find out more about The Sham, click here.
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