Music & Me: Ciara King
What are your earliest musical memories?
Sitting in the back seat of the car when I was a little girl and Van Morrison and The Chieftain’s “Irish Heartbeat” playing in the tape deck. I learned all the words to “I’ll Tell Me Ma” and “Star of the County Down”, much to my parent’s annoyance. I used to make Dad put on his Mary Black tape too – it must have been “By The Time It Gets Dark” as I remember loving the song “Katie”. Other than that, it was listening to Buddy Holly albums in my aunts house. Also, my cousin had a tape with a Kylie Minogue’s “Locomotion” that I used to play non stop! I luckily got to finally hear the song live when I went to see Kylie in the 3 Arena December just gone!
Who or what were your musical influences growing up and why?
I was so lucky in that my parents had a really eclectic taste in music, and an incredible record collection, so I grew up listening to everything from Adam and the Ants, Sting and the Police, Blondie, Patsy Cline, The Horslips, Muddy Waters, The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac. I’m from Connemara, so sean-nos singer Joe Heaney featured in our house too. And Queen, which stemmed my life long love of Freddie Mercury and their music. Mum and Dad lived in London in the 70’s, so they’d tell me all about the different gigs that they went to like Status Quo, and Smokey Robinson. Sting also lived in my village in Connemara for a while in the 70’s too, so I had an extra interest in listening to his work. I went to see Sting and the Police awhile back and in the middle of the concert he told everyone that he wrote “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” in Roundstone, so I thought that was pretty cool!
Does music influence your writing?
Music highly influenced “Ciara’s Diary” which was the book I wrote based on a segment we used to do on night time radio show. The diaries were written from the perspective of a teenage girl from the years 1999 to 2001, so music played a huge part. There’s a diary entry about going to Slane for the first time and seeing Robbie Williams perform; an entry about the death of Lisa Left Eye Lopez from the band TLC; lusting after Ricky Martin after “Livin’ La Vida Loca” first came out; sitting in a car listening to that one single that Kate Winslet released “What if”; loving the bad boys of East 17; dressing up as The Spice Girls for Halloween; and the book actually ends with a “Ciara’s Diary” version of Baz Luhrman’s “The Sunscreen Song, I think. It’s been a while since I’ve read it ?
Do you listen to music while writing, editing, etc.?
I need complete silence to write. I’m so easily distracted and partial to a lot of day dreaming, so I can’t listen to the radio or music at all. I do Morning Pages, where I sit down each morning and write three full pages, hand written, of whatever’s on my mind, and I’ll sometimes listen to classical music while doing that or some sort of meditative music.
Is there one particular novel or piece of writing you wrote that was directly influenced by a piece of music?
There’s a character that I’m writing at the minute called Gloria. I named her Gloria after listening to Laura Branigan’s track “Gloria” from 1982. I based a complete scene around Dexy’s Midnight Runners song “Come on Eileen”, and another of the characters that I’m working on has a love for Maria Callas. Another scene I wrote involves two characters and the words to Bill Withers “Lovely Day”, and I’ve even managed to write a chapter around Dana Lyons “Cows with Guns”! So yes, music, and lots of it influence the characters and the scenes that I write immensely.
What music are you listening to at the moment?
I’m going through a phase of listening to The Beatles again, Turtles, Roy Orbison, Guns and Roses, Abba, Simon and Garfunkel, Mungo Jerry, The Temptations and Stevie Wonder!
Musically, what’s your guilty pleasure (or is there such a thing)?
I don’t believe in guilty pleasures – if a piece of music resonates with you on any level for whatever reason, then that’s reason enough for me. That’s the thing about music, its so subjective, everyone feels something different in their head and in their heart and that’s okay. I have no time for music snobbery either. Each to their own.
Ciara is the author of “Ciara’s Diary” which you can buy here
Derek Flynn runs Writing.ie's SongBook blog, and is an Irish writer and musician. He has a Masters in Creative Writing from Trinity College, Dublin. He’s been published in a number of publications, including The Irish Times, and his fiction was featured in 'Surge', an anthology of new Irish writing published by O’ Brien Press with the aim of showcasing “the very best of the next generation of Irish authors”. Online he can be found at his writing/music blog – ‘Rant, with Occasional Music’ – and on Twitter as @derekf03