Aris Haan gave up everything to join the Atalantan Military: her family, her boyfriend, even her identity. In the end, though, it didn’t matter that she was a war hero. When the all-male Military discovered that she was actually a woman, she was sent home and erased from history.
Now she has a chance to go back to the battlefield—as herself. But as hard as it was to be a soldier in disguise, it’s even more difficult now. The men in her unit undermine her at every turn. The Safaran army has spies everywhere, perhaps even on Aris’s stationpoint. And she’s falling for her mysterious superior officer, Milek. But their relationship is forbidden, just stolen moments between training sessions and missions. There’s no room for love in war.
Then Aris discovers that Safara’s leaders have set their sights on her, Atalanta’s hero. And she must find them before they find her . .
by Tracy Banghart
Normally, I use the same approach to music with every book I write. I begin the process with a long playlist that includes whole albums, and as I’m writing, the songs that stick out and resonate with me get copied into another, shorter playlist, which I then listen to over and over again as I revise.
With STORM FALL, I wrote the manuscript very quickly, so I skipped right to the shorter playlist. The songs on this list aren’t all thematically connected to the book, though some are (the songs from Mulan definitely connect with the themes of the Rebel Wing series). A lot of times, music clicks for me based on its general vibe, rather than lyrics.
Here’s the list of the songs I listened to the most while writing STORM FALL, with a little breakdown on what appealed to me about each one. I hope you enjoy!
1. Breath of Life – Florence + The Machine
I write to Florence a LOT. Her music makes it onto almost every writing playlist I have because it’s so dramatic. It really gets the creative juices flowing! Breath of Life began every STORM FALL writing session because it was ominous, cinematic, and driving. Perhaps that gives a hint to the type of story STORM FALL is?
“To get a dream of life again / A little vision of the sun in the end”
2. I’ll Make a Man Out of You – Mulan Soundtrack
The Rebel Wing series is about a girl who infiltrates her country’s all-male military, so this song fits pretty much perfectly. Also, it’s super fun to sing along to. It pumps me up!
“Did they send me daughters when I asked for sons?
You're the saddest bunch I ever met
But you can bet before we're through
Mister, I'll make a man out of you”
3. Radioactive – Imagine Dragons
This song resonated with a lot of the early, ominous scenes.
“I raise my flags, don my clothes / It's a revolution, I suppose”
4. Devil’s Backbone – The Civil Wars
The eerie, gritty vibe of this song worked well with the darker sections of STORM FALL, though the lyrics don’t really fit with what happens in the story.
“Give me the burden, give me the blame / I’ll shoulder the load, and I’ll swallow the shame”
5. Best of You – Anastacia
This is from Anastacia’s “It’s A Man’s World” album, where she covers iconic songs by male singers. It’s a badass album, and this song works for all the badass women kicking butt in STORM FALL.
“My head is giving me life or death
But I can't choose
I swear I'll never give in
6. Demons – Imagine Dragons
This song makes me think of Dysis and her relationship with Lieutenant Daakon. They both have a lot of demons.
“Your eyes, they shine so bright
I wanna save that light
I can't escape this now
Unless you show me how”
7. From This Valley – The Civil Wars
This song calls to mind scenes later in the book. That’s all I’ll say. ;-)
“Oh won't you take me from this valley
To that mountain high above
Oh I will pray, pray, pray till I see your smiling face”
8. Use Somebody – Anastacia
Another one that fits the girls-kicking-butt vibe.
“Off in the night, while you live it up, I'm off to sleep / Waging wars to shape the poet and the beat”
9. Wrecking Ball – Miley Cyrus
This is Dysis’s jam. Sadly.
“I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was wreck me”
10. Reflection - Mulan Soundtrack
So much of the entire series comes down to identity. How does Aris fit within her world – how do women in general fit within her world?
“Must there be a secret me I'm forced to hide?
Must I pretend that I am someone else for all time?
When will my reflection show, who I am inside?”
Take a listen to the soundtrack below! I hope you enjoy!