I often can’t write if there is music in the background. I struggle to immerse myself in the scene and find the characters. But sometimes I love a soundtrack.

I have always written stories in my head. Hundreds of couples have fallen in love in my head over the years. If I had a long car or train trip, if I saw a new place and imagined the people who live there, if I can’t sleep at night, I write in my head. And if I’m too tired to write in my head, I listen to music and the stories come to me. I love music with drama – layered rock with classical elements – and a strong drum beat. It’s escapist for me. I’ve always been a people-pleaser, a good-girl, a ‘square’ as we used to say in school. But I love heavy rock, the heavier the better, to a point. It takes me out of myself. And it’s possibly because of Muse that I have ended up writing romantic suspense.

Muse has been the soundtrack to most of my writing for years. The manic guitar cranks up the tension alongside a catchy riff while Matt Bellamy croons in melodramatic falsetto and the drums rage at the back. Then the chords change and the whole thing crashes with emotion. The violins and piano swell through the middle eight before winding up for a few more goes of the catchy riff.

Like a good romance novel, it’s based on a solid format – rock chords, common time signature, verse-chorus form with the usual extra elements. But the execution is spot-on and each song has enough variations on the standard rock song to keep it interesting.

But the heroine of my main WIP, Sarah, is too cool even for Muse. She listens to Queens of the Stone Age.

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