Blog Tour – Guest Post
Good morning and welcome to my stop on Kate Vane’s blog tour for Brand New Friend. I have a very interesting guest post to share with everyone today. Kate Vane has created a musical playlist to compliment her novel which I think is a superb idea. Kate’s guest post tells us the idea behind the list and what inspired her decision to put it together. It is a great guest post so please enjoy. Make sure to visit all the other bloggers who are supporting Kate on the tour, the details are on the poster below.
05.06.2018 / Self-Published / Crime-Thriller / Paperback / 331pp / 978-1981037346
About Brand New Friend
Friend. Liar. Killer?
BBC foreign correspondent Paolo Bennett is exiled to a London desk – and the Breakfast sofa – when he gets a call from Mark, a friend from university in eighties Leeds. Paolo knew Mark as a dedicated animal rights activist but now a news blog has exposed him as an undercover police officer. Then Mark’s former police handler is murdered.
Paolo was never a committed campaigner. He was more interested in women, bands and dreaming of a life abroad. Now he wonders if Mark’s exposure and his handler’s death might be linked to an unexplained death on campus back when they were friends. What did he miss?
Paolo wants the truth – and the story. He chases up new leads and old friends. From benefit gigs and peace protests, to Whatsapp groups and mocktail bars, the world has changed, but Mark still seems the same.
Is Mark the spy who never went back – who liked his undercover life better than his own? Or is he lying now? Is Paolo’s friend a murderer?
Guest Post – Playlist for Brand New Friend
In my new crime novel Brand New Friend, journalist Paolo Bennett learns that his friend Mark from student days, who he believed was an animal rights activist, was actually an undercover police officer. Then Mark’s former police handler is murdered. Paolo is trying to understand both Mark’s role in the present and the events that took place in their shared past in eighties Leeds.
I drew on my own student days to write the flashbacks and choose the soundtrack for Paolo’s story. Music was central to our identity. We listened to it all the time (often home tapes of other people’s albums), we went to a lot of gigs, our taste in music influenced the clubs we went to, the clothes we wore, and even our choice of friends.
The musical references in the book don’t only give a sense of the period but add insight into the characters and their subculture. Of course, this works both ways – if you don’t like the music maybe it puts you off them (I’ve had this experience reading novels before!) but I thought I’d take the chance.
I also wanted the songs to fit with the mood or theme of the scene where they are playing, to form part of the narrative. This means that some of my favourites did not make the cut so I created a playlist which includes more of the tracks I loved at that time.
Here are a few of them:
Brand New Friend by Lloyd Cole and the Commotions
I chose Brand New Friend as the title of the book partly because of the literal meaning of the words. More than that, though, the song has a beautiful melancholic mood, a sense that something has been lost and a search for new meaning, which fit the feeling I wanted to evoke.
Add It Up by Violent Femmes
Violent Femmes were already one of my favourite bands when I saw them at the Warehouse in Leeds, with their exuberance, angst and ink-black humour. It was the best gig I ever went to.
A Lover Sings by Billy Bragg
Billy Bragg is of course strongly identified with politics in the 1980s through his support for the Miners’ Strike and campaigning for Labour via Red Wedge. He has also written some beautiful love songs, and for plot reasons this is the one that made it in!
Longing for Next Year by the Sinister Cleaners
I’ve name-checked a few Leeds bands in the book but the Sinister Cleaners my favourite. When I lived in a shared house in Leeds, my housemate bought one of their records and it had their address on it, so she persuaded me to go round there with her and get them to sign it. I was embarrassed but they were very nice about it (with hindsight they were probably more flattered than annoyed).
Carey by Joni Mitchell
We used to listen to a lot of music from the sixties, particularly the singer-songwriters – Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen. I loved the poetry of their lyrics – possibly because it was the only time in my life where I didn’t read for pleasure.
You can see the list on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/user/k8vane/playlist/0nsbCbocTC6hIq2U7I8VPb?si=TDmcIoAtSvKlLKwCY0rifA
About Kate Vane
I have written for BBC drama Doctors and have had short stories and articles published in various publications and anthologies, including Mslexia and Scotland on Sunday.
My blog is a mix of reviews and features covering writing, publishing and all things bookish. I also sneak in the occasional podcast review.
I mainly read crime and literary fiction with some non-fiction and am a recent convert to audiobooks. I list all the books I’ve read on my Goodreads page.