Strap yourself in, this post is a biggie!  (Spread over two posts, so I’m trying to be gentle with you!)

As I’ve mentioned before in both my blogs (see BLOGPOST) and in the acknowledgments of Hunters (and soon Blood to Earth), I love to listen to music as I write. Often this is to put me into the right mindset for the ‘emotion’ of the chapter.

I also like to name my chapters. The reason for this particular quirk, is that I tend to write short chapters from different characters p.o.v. and they very quickly stack up. Hunters, for example, has 83 chapters (84 if you’re lucky enough to have won a copy of the Black Edition!). With that in mind, you can imagine how hard it is, when writing the manuscript, to remember which chapter was about what.

For example, I know that near the end of the book there’s a chapter where Gayle and her sisters are out on the town catching up…but I couldn’t for the life of me tell you what number chapter it is.

But I do know that it’s called ‘Ladies Night’.

Hence when I’m scanning down my chapter list, it’s easy to find.

Now, some of those chapter names are titled after the songs I was listening to when I was writing. So I thought a fun little post would be to dive a little into the songs and what they mean to the chapters in question.

Chapter 3 One Way Or Another

I mentioned this in the other blog post, but it’s worth revisiting.

Chapter 3 is an upbeat action part of the story, as Zarra chases her bounty through the deserted dawn streets of Havana. The chapter is meant to establish her credentials as a veteran and expert hunter who always gets her target. Blondie’s classic 1978 hit fits in both a lyrical and musical sense.

One way or another, Zarra’s gonna find ya…and she’s gonna getcha!

Chapter 25 New Sensation

Okay, so this one paraphrases a little.

Once again it’s an upbeat chapter with Kareena running headlong into the forest and reveling—kind of—in her new found abilities. She’s alive, she’s free and she’s reborn as something awesome.

I’ve loved INXS since I was a kid, and this tune just seemed to convey the ecstasy of Kareena in this moment. It’s something she’ll succumb to later in the book…

Got a hold on you
(A new sensation, a new sensation)
Right now
It’s gonna take you over
(A new sensation, a new sensation)

Chapter 28 Two Steps Behind

On the surface, this Def Leppard track doesn’t seem to fit the chapter…but to me it does on two levels.

Firstly, there’s the Zarra and Alex dynamic. He’s the spurned lover. He wanted Zarra, but she didn’t want him. The song is kind of a reminder that he’s there, always behind her, just waiting for her to turn around and recognize him as a partner.

However on another level, it’s kind of symbolic that throughout this hunt, Alex and Zarra are always kind of on the back foot. They are ultimately being manipulated into meeting their quarry of terms not of their own making…

Walk away, if you want to
It’s okay, if you need to
You can run but you can never hide
From the shadow that’s creepin’ up beside you

Hunters runs parallels between the two main sister characters, Gayle and Allyson. They don’t just look identical, but their lives are tracking in a similar direction. Both are wrestling with a huge upheaval in their lives that leads them down a dark path. For Gayle it’s the rather more overt death of her team at Bloody Valletta. For Allyson, it’s a shift to a new job and the break up of her relationship.

Both characters needed to feel joy in their lives. Gayle’s particular addiction gets dealt with more in book 2, and it’s much more out in the open. But if you read Allyson’s character carefully, you can see that she’s a mess. She doesn’t look after herself and she’s almost always drinking.

Chapter 38 Elegantly Wasted

Another INXS track.  Here’s the opening…

Baby look at all that shines
Baby’s down on the world and she knows it
If your spirit’s runnin’
Why don’t we make it rain like we used to

We run, we hide
We wait and want for the good life
Oh sure, you’re right
This ain’t, the good life

Hunters runs parallels between the two main sister characters, Gayle and Allyson. They don’t just look identical, but their lives are tracking in a similar direction. Both are wrestling with a huge upheaval in their lives that leads them down a dark path. For Gayle it’s the rather more overt death of her team at Bloody Valletta. For Allyson, it’s a shift to a new job and the break up of her relationship.

Both characters needed to feel joy in their lives. Gayle’s particular addiction gets dealt with more in book 2, and it’s much more out in the open. But if you read Allyson’s character carefully, you can see that she’s a mess. She doesn’t look after herself and she’s almost always drinking.

Chapter 38 is played for laughs, but it’s also got a serious side. Allyson gets ‘elegantly wasted’ to avoid the stress of her new job and to avoid the pain of her breakup. She’s also always searching for connection with someone, especially Gayle. She remembers a time before everything went sideways, and she wants to revisit that time.

Chapter 46 Sweet Escape

Vanessa has been kept in the captivity of her sisters gilded cage for decades. Perhaps longer. Due to her condition, she’s too dangerous to let loose on the outside world. Then Thynan comes along and frees her.

He’s not a good influence on her. I mean let’s face it, he’s a mass murderer! Vanessa doesn’t care. She’s naïve, of course, but above all she’s in love. This one person who took the time to get to know her, loves her for who she is, and lets her be free.

To dream…

If I could escape
And recreate a place as my own world
And I could be your favorite girl
Forever, perfectly together
And tell me, boy, now wouldn’t that be sweet?

This tune by Gwen Stefani and Akon, is the perfect pop song that encapsulates Vanessa’s headspace. All butterflies and rainbows and dreams of a future that she’ll never have, but is naïve enough not to realize it.

Chapter 49 – Falling for the First Time

Gayle thinks she’s been in love before, but as her sisters keep telling her…she hasn’t.

But now, she is. And she’s starting to slowly realize it.

Of course the readers have long since started watching Gayle and Michael fall in love slowly, dancing around each other as each tries to figure out these foreign emotions. But for Gayle, this is the tipping point where she starts to figure things out.

The Barenaked Ladies have long been my favorite band because their songs are deceptively clever. Their 2000 hit, Falling for the First Time is a typical example.

I’m so cool, too bad I’m a loser
I’m so smart, too bad I can’t get anything figured out
I’m so brave, too bad I’m a baby
I’m so fly, that’s probably why it feels just like I’m falling for the first time

Each line is contradictory. I’m cool, but a loser. I’m smart, but dumb… etc.

Love is like that. Love makes you doubt everything you thought you knew about yourself.

Yeah, I’m smart, cool, brave…so why shouldn’t Michael fall in love with me?

But what if he thinks I’m a dumb, loser? A baby for playing my tantrums?

The whole song kind of plays out like Gayle’s internal struggle for self-worth, knowing that she’s falling truly in love with a man for the first time and desperately trying to justify why he would love her back. It shows how riddled with insecurity she is in that moment.

On a Final Note (for this part at least)

There are 12 chapters in Hunters that have song titles as chapter headings. You’ve just seen the first six.

If I’d put all 12 in the same blog post, it would have been a loooong ass post!  So I split them.

I’ll post Part 2 of this blog next week after Blood to Earth has been published on the 5th November (Remember, remember!)

When I’ve done that, I’ll link it here for future posterity…. LINK TO PART 2

Love & Books

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6 Comments

  1. Athena

    Reply

    So, was the title of chapter 30 inspired by Alan Walker’s, Alone? I thought about that when I first read it. Kareena’s worried about losing her mind as she tries to hone her new powers. She’s feeling trapped and bereft after her family was murdered. But she knows she’s not really alone because she can vaguely feel that there’s another couple following her former captors, and this couple feels safe to her. There’s a message of hope in the song and within Kareena’s story as well. Am I onto something here?

    • Jon Ford

      Reply

      I could lie and say, yes! LOL
      But no, it wasn’t. I didn’t know that song – until now!
      You got the ‘feel’ of the chapter spot on though. Kareena is a young girl who is looking for something hopeful to grasp on to. Something to provide some light in this unfamiliar darkness.
      Not all the chapters played on song titles. Some were just simply named so that I knew what went on in that chapter.

  2. Jim Hall

    Reply

    I like what you did there with the music videos. It adds depth while explaining the depth of the chapters. You can copyright the book, but you can’t copyright that method. 🙂

    And for those of us who love music, we might find something new to add to our own playlists.

    Good stuff Jon.

    • Jon Ford

      Reply

      Thanks, Jim.
      I have a Spotify Playlist that has all the music on, that I sometimes listen to while I’m writing. 😀

  3. Karie

    Reply

    I love both ideas! I always have music playing (always). I love how you named some chapters after music you like (and it makes sense too). I’m a huge Def Leppard fan, been to many of their concerts. I will now have Two Steps Behind in my head. The idea of baking chapters instead of just numbering them makes a lot of sense too. I can imagine the time it would save!

    • Jon Ford

      Reply

      Oh, it was sooooo much easier for me.
      I also like the fact that if I’m talking to other people about the book, it’s EASY to refer to chapters by name.
      For instance, if I’m talking to a Beta reader about an issue somewhere, could you imagine if they just said… “Hey, there’s an issue with a bit of speech in chapter 72”
      I’d have to physically go and look it up to know what that chapter refers to.
      But if they said… “Hey, there’s an issue with a bit of speech in the ‘Blood to Earth’ chapter” then I instantly know it’s the Lyssa chapter.
      And it’s great to meet another Def Leppard fan. I’ve also been to a LOT of their concerts. Love them live!

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