Music I listened to while writing
My favourite writers


Music I listened to while writing
I commenced writing The Company of the Dead around the same time as I began specialty training in my field of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. I wrote when I found the time. That meant the narrow hiatus between finishing and starting shifts, and the rare quiet times when I was on-call — whenever I had a few hours and an available power point for my laptop. The music I wrote to is essentially the music I loaded on to my computer when I bought it, with the few odd exceptions I added later. I was surprised to discover that a number of authors I like seem to have similar habits. They create vast worlds on small canvases to a handful of songs. I wonder what that says about writing?

Kate Bush Ariel
Doves Lost Souls
David Dundas et al Withnail and I Soundtrack
Goldfrapp Felt Mountain
King Curtis Trouble in Mind
Shimizu L’Automne A Peking
Slowdive Pygmalion
Spain The Blue Moods of Spain
Sting The Soul Cages
Turin Brakes The Optimist
Stanley Turrentine Blue hour
Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis, The Wasps
Tom Waits Alice


My favourite writers
I’m taking a liberty here and begging your further indulgence. This is a list of the authors who have influenced the way I look at the world. If they have informed my writing I am only too pleased. As I am a compulsive list maker I’ll add a couple of things here.

The book I wish I had written is Charles G Finney’s The Circus of Doctor Lao. Penned by an American journalist, returned from a tour of duty from China in the early 1930s, it’s the book I keep returning to. You can read it in one sitting and I suggest you do so. Forced to pick a favourite author, I have to juggle between Joyce and Proust, but I’d hate to be either one of them. Both wrote about what it took to write, and they devoted their lives to it. It is said they once shared a carriage ride through Paris. What did these two juggernauts of literature discuss on that fateful night? Apparently they argued over whether or not to open a window. Go figure.

Peter Ackroyd _ Douglas Adams _ Dante Alighieri _ Martin Amis _ Simon Armitage _ Iain M. Banks _ Julian Barnes _ Jorge Luis Borges _ Mikhail Bulgakov _ Italo Calvino _ Jonathan Carroll _ Raymond Chandler _ Evan S Connell _ Joseph Conrad _ Russell T. Davies _ Umberto Eco _ T. S. Eliot _ Warren Ellis _ James Ellroy _ Percival Everett _ Charles G Finney _ Gustave Flaubert _ ‘Kinky’ Friedman _ Neil Gaiman _ Edward Gibbon _ Dashiel Hammett _ M. John Harrison _ Homer _ George V Higgins _ J. K. Huysmans _ Clive James _ James Joyce _ Milan Kundera _ Elmore Leonard _ Mikhail Lermontov _ Jonathan Lethem _ Phillip Larkin _ Christopher Logue _ Cormac McCarthy _ George Meredith _ China Mieville _ Michael Moorcock _ Alan Moore _ Ronald D. Moore _ Grant Morrison _ Kim Newman _ John O’Hara _ Richard Powers _ Marcel Proust _ Bertrand Russell _ William Shakespeare _ Isaac Bashevis Singer _ Laurence Sterne _ Leo Tolstoy _ Kurt Vonnegut _ Orson Welles

In closing, I just wanted to tell you that I had intended to include a bibliography of the books I researched while writing Company. Assembling that list, I realised I would be revealing major plot points to those who had not finished reading the novel. The list is available to anyone interested. Please feel free to contact me for a copy. Don’t be a stranger. And may your dance bring good cloud.

— David