Photo credit: Bailey Taylor
Music is a deep source of creative inspiration for me and a major way that I process the world. I use music to get into a specific emotional headspace when I’m developing a character for film or television, and it became a powerful tool while I was writing my first novel, Bonfire
. This playlist, for me, evokes a feeling, a sense of place, and an emotional through line for Abby, my main character.
"When the Levee Breaks" by Led Zeppelin
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It’s like barreling toward a storm. I think of this song playing in the background, softly, whenever Abby is driving. But especially as she pulls up to the town and sees the old wooden welcome sign for the first time in 10 years. It’s like, brace for impact.
"Burn It Down" by Daughter
This is a new song that I love and that evokes Abby’s strength. The song feels powerful and fearless, yet intimate and haunting at the same time. For me it feels like Abby facing her fears and letting them wash over her.
"Thousand Eyes" by Of Monsters and Men
There’s a specific line in this song that is simply: “I am the storm.” I think this beautifully summarizes what I love in all the complex female characters I embrace as a reader, writer, and actor.
"Intro" by The xx
I love the mood of this song. It’s the perfect walking or even driving song. It takes you on a journey. It lets you project anything you want onto it, whether it’s a heavy sadness or an empowering march forward. This was on repeat a lot when I was writing.
"Untitled" by Interpol
I listened to this song so much when I was younger and it’s been bouncing around in my mind for a while. It’s just one of those songs that transports me to another time in my life. A lot of writing Bonfire
and getting into Abby’s head was about going back into the past and this song does that for me.
"22 (OVER S∞∞N)" by Bon Iver
This is the sort of song that lets you wipe the slate clean, and I know that’s something Abby desperately needs. I hope this song would let her feel some sort of release from all her personal demons. Even the line “it might be over soon” feels like a sense of impending nostalgia, yet it’s immediately reassuring. (This entire record hits me in a deep way and I think it’s a total masterpiece from beginning to end.)
"Pain" by The War on Drugs
There’s a line in this song that says: “Pain is on it’s way out, now." My hope for Abby is that she can trust that pain is on it’s way out. I hope tomorrow is better for her. She dealt with the dust under the rug, and for that I know she will be rewarded in being truly able to move on.
"Bitter Sweet Symphony" by The Verve
It may be a cliché to pick this song, but I love the idea of her driving off into the sunset victorious with this song blasting as Barrens becomes smaller and smaller in her rearview mirror.
÷ ÷ ÷
is well-known for her starring roles in the award-winning Netflix original series, Marvel’s Jessica Jones
, and cult favorite, Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23
, as well as her pivotal role on AMC’s Breaking Bad
. Krysten’s work on film includes Big Eyes, Listen Up Philip, Life Happens, Confessions of a Shopaholic
and She’s Out of My League
. She is the founder of Silent Machine, a production company which aims to highlight complex female protagonists. Ritter and her dog Mikey split their time between New York and Los Angeles. Bonfire
is her first novel.