Guest Blogs

Music & Me: Jo Spain

Article by Derek Flynn © 19 November 2018.
Posted in Guest Blogs ().

What are your earliest musical memories?

My dad playing LPs. His taste was eclectic, so anything from Boney M to the Beatles. He was a musician; he played guitar and sang and was my first singing teacher. I joined a classical choir when I was small but it was too far to keep attending, sadly.

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

My dad, but I also come from one of those families that was big into the sing-song at the end of family parties. I’m a huge fan of music from rock, pop and R&B to Irish folk and classical. I spent a lot of my teens listening to Led Zeppelin, Nick Drake, Jeff Buckley, Mozart, Chopin and Rachmaninov. Bit of a mix!

Does music influence your writing?  

Very much so. I feel the same emotions in my writing as I do when I’m listening to a particular piece. I’ll often write music into books.

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

On occasion. I usually work in silence but sometimes I’ll listen to a certain playlist, when I’m writing a particular sequence/scene, just to keep my head in the right place.

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

Music runs through all of them in parts, but my detective in the Tom Reynolds series is a big classical aficionado. Not long after we meet him in With Our Blessing, he’s listening to the Pearl Fisher’s Duet.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

I taught myself a Bach piece on the piano during the summer, so I am listening to a lot of ‘teach yourself to play piano’ pieces, the easier Saties, Debussys, that sort of thing.

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

No such thing. I listen to a lot of kids’ music and they are big Ariana Grande fans, so that’s the soundtrack of our house right now, pretty much.


Jo Spain’s first standalone thriller, The Confession, is on sale now. The crime drama, “Taken Down” – which she co-wrote – airs on Sundays on RTE One.

Follow Derek online, on Twitter and on Facebook.

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

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