It’s that studio time of year.
For a decade, Scholastic Audio has been producing my novels as audiobooks, and for a decade, they’ve asked me to write the intro and outro music for them.
It’s been a long running joke at Stiefvaterland that the process of writing these songs — usually months and months after the novel itself is completed — always goes the same as the process of writing the novel itself. Swift first draft but protracted edits while writing the novel? Same for the music. Great central theme but disastrously complex subplots? Same for the music. Intense, single-minded drive toward a strangely polished first draft? Same for the music.
And so it goes with the Call Down the Hawk audiobook track as well. I had been so behind on deadlines for the past year, I decided to get ahead of the curve and I wrote the melody for it well before it was needed. When I came back to it weeks later, however, I discovered that it was tonally a mismatch with the novel. Pretty tune . . . for a different book. The goal of the track is always to promise the story that is to come, after all.
So I chucked it. My brother arrived in my studio and we talked it out and then we wrote a new thing. This was tonally much better, but at the end of the day I looked back on it and thought it felt . . . thin. Emotionally empty.
So I threw it out again. I wrote a new melody and recorded it, playing just about every instrument in the studio (Irish pipes! cello! whistle! keyboards! guitar! my voice!), but then, as I began to mix it, I kept adding in stuff that my brother and I had done, until eventually I had actually used just about everything we’d written and recorded, underneath everything I had just written and recorded. The end result was a dense genre-mixing track that felt, to me, like the book.
And that process was exactly like writing the novel. One truly never learns how to write novels. Just the novel one is currently writing.
Anyway, here is the track. You can hear it at full quality in the audiobook itself, coming out 11/5/19, read by the marvelous Will Patton. You can pre-order it wherever audiobooks are found.
I hope you like it.