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Music & Me – Hazel Gaynor

Writing.ie | Guest Bloggers | Songbook

Derek Flynn

What are your earliest musical memories?

ABBA! I grew up listening to, and loving, everything they did. My sister is a few years older than me and was a member of the fan club. My parents drove us all the way from ‘Up North’ to that London to see them at Wembley Arena in 1978. It was absolutely amazing. I still can’t believe that actually happened! I went to a Depeche Mode gig in Sheffield when I was ten, which was also ridiculously exciting.

Who or what were your musical influences growing up and why?

From Abba, I progressed to the New Romantics – Visage and Yazoo being early favourites. I also loved Toyah and Adam and the Ants before falling under the teenage spell of Spandau and Duran Duran, Wham and Madonna. Me and my sister regularly taped the Top 40 off the radio. It was an absolute religion on a Sunday evening. Pressing Pause and Record at the right time on the cassette player was a fine art and it was SO ANNOYING if the DJ talked over the end of a song. Music was a huge part of our lives, and still is.

I briefly flirted with Goth music in the late ‘80s, loving The Cure, The Damned and The Cult. When I went to university in Manchester aged 18, my musical eyes were opened to a whole new world. These were the Madchester years of the Hacienda and Affleck’s Palace, The Stone Roses, The Happy Mondays and New Order. Then Take That happened and I lost all my street cred until the BritPop years of Blur and Oasis. I love live gigs. A gang of us always went to the V Festivals in Chelmsford in the ‘90s. I’ve got back into gigs in the last few years. This years’ highlights were Guns n Roses at Slane, Aerosmith and, yes, Take That!

Does music influence your writing?

I would say that writing influences the music I listen to, rather than the other way around.

Do you listen to music while writing, editing, etc.?

No. I prefer silence to write, but I did listen to a lot of Lyric FM while writing The Cottingley Secret because my character also listens to classical music and it really suited the magical nature of the book. I also listened to a lot of 1920s jazz when I was writing The Girl from The Savoy.

Is there one particular novel or piece of writing you wrote that was directly influenced by a piece of music?

Not yet, but never say never! I have a few ideas bubbling away …

What music are you listening to at the moment?

My musical tastes are really varied. Just a few artists you’d find on my Spotify list are Foo Fighters, Muse, Jungle, Killers, London Grammar, Elbow, Lorde and S Club 7 because there ain’t no party like an S Club party! I love introducing my kids to classic albums. They recently discovered Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, and also love The Police, Bowie, Prince and Elvis.

Musically, what’s your guilty pleasure (or is there such a thing)?

Definitely not a thing. All music is a pleasure and I have no more time for musical snobbery than I do for literary snobbery. That said, you can’t beat a bit of Manilow’s Copacabana or Aha’s Take On Me to get a party started!


Hazel Gaynor is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME, A MEMORY OF VIOLETS, and THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY which was shortlisted for the 2016 Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. Her latest novel, THE COTTINGLEY SECRET, is on sale now. You can read more about the fascinating true events that inspired it here: http://time.com/4876824/cottingley-fairies-book/


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