Music Inspiring Writing: Loren Rhoads

Welcome to my blog series all about how ♫ Music Inspires Writing ♫

Today my guest is Loren Rhoads, a writer and music lover.

How Music Inspires My Writing

by Loren Rhoads

lost-angels-frontWhen I start a new project, I usually search for an album that summarizes the feeling of the writing.  If I’m lucky, I find audio inspiration that can put my brain right back into the same channels time after time, something that primes my imagination whenever I sit down to work.

Some albums I’ve listened to so often that I can no longer stand to hear them when the work is done.  That can be helpful, if I ever need to go back and revise – or pick up the thread to write more work in that universe. Some albums, like Dead Can Dance’s Within the Realm of A Dying Sun, I’ve listened to so often that I’ve sucked all the juice out of them.  They’ve lost their power.

One album that never lost its magic for me is SPK’s Zamia Lehmanni (Songs for Byzantine Flowers).  SPK was an Australian industrial band from 1978-1988 formed by Graeme Revell.  Revell played keyboards and the percussion that propels their sound.  He eventually moved to Hollywood, where he’s written soundtracks for The Crow, The Craft (also great to write to), the Riddick movies, and much, much more.

Zamia Lehmanni’s music is a dense layering of anthropological tapes, industrial noise, keyboards, and percussion.  I like that each piece from the “Invocation” to “The Doctrine of Eternal Ice” has its own personality, although the tone throughout remains nice and dark.  In fact, the music dances over the border into ominous territory.  The underlying drone raises my hackles, which is exactly the mood I needed to work on the story I had published earlier this month, “Sakura Time.”

When my husband Mason and I went to Japan in 1999, we focused our trip on meeting Japanese doll-makers.  Sinister one-of-a-kind art dolls were pioneered by Katan Amano, who created dolls like a demonic blond with silver eyes and corpse-colored skin, who wore a kimono the color of spilled blood.  After Katan’s early death, Ryo Yoshida continued to teach her style of ball-jointed china dolls.

Two things stuck in my head after our trip. Yoshida told us that he had been investigated by the police years before, while a serial killer terrorized Japan.  Horrified and inspired, Yoshida had recreated one of the crime scenes with his dolls.  The resultant photograph was a little too realistic for the police.

Following that conversation, one of the china dolls we met in Japan was a hyper-realistic toddler-sized beauty who – her owner revealed – was anatomically correct.  The way the collector behaved when he undressed her for us creeped me right out.

I wanted to write a Japanese ghost story, like The Ring or Dark Water or the old Lafcadio Hearn tales.  I wanted the ghost to be perverse and dangerous, truly evil.  Murderous.  And I wanted to use what I’d learned about Japanese art dolls.

To get myself into the mood, I put on Zamia Lehmanni again.  I’ve used it as a soundtrack to several other stories about Alondra DeCourval, my young witch who is too angry to be afraid of much of anything.

I’m not sure I got more than a minute into “Invocation” before the words started to flow.


loren-rhoads-photoLoren’s website:

Fright Mare: Women Write Horror on Amazon:

Thank you Loren for sharing your thoughts!

So what music inspires you to write? Share yours in the comments below and tune in here next time when one of my friends shares their music inspirations.

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