Leisl Leighton’s latest book Need You Tonight is a romantic thriller following the passionate romance between a reclusive music producer and a rock star… all while their lives are under threat.
It is a HOT, twist-filled story that readers are raving about. To celebrate it’s release we asked Leisl to give us the ultimate romantic suspense rock-filled playlist.
I’m a musical person. I studied piano and singing for years, have been a performer, actor and musical director, and have sung with bands and choirs. It’s part of the reason why I had to write a romance-thriller set in the music industry. Daemon and Lexi’s story became a tune in my head I couldn’t ignore – like an earworm except it was one I was happy to have on repeat.
Because music is a big part of my life, I always write with music playing in the background. And when writing a rockstar romance, this was even more essential – especially to help set the mood and get things humming along like they should. So this is the list of songs I most listened to when writing Need You Tonight:
Muse: their music spans the emotion scale from sweet and hopeful to thriller to dark and sinister to epic journey then to all-out-love fest using musical influences from classic rock, pop, jazz, blues and classical. I listened to ALL the Muse as I wrote NYT, but especially anything from Absolution, Simulation Theory, Black Holes and Revelations and Drones.
Pink: mostly because listening to some girls-kicking-ass songs while writing strong female characters is a really great way to enliven them, songs like ‘Bad Influence’, ‘So What’, ‘Whataya Want from Me’ and ‘F**kin’ Perfect’. But she’s also good for the heart-wrenching songs that help me write into those truly difficult moments, like ‘Who Knew’, ‘Sober’, ‘What About Us’ and ‘But We Lost It’.
Sia: ‘Alive’ (for being a grand-scale I’m-going-to-make-it-despite-you anthem), ‘Chandelier’ (for its joie de vivre), ‘ElasticHeart’ (for its heartbreak to survival theme), ‘Titanium’ (for its never-gonna-break-me motif) and ‘My Love’ (just because it’s such a beautiful, touching love song)
INXS: Anything from their kickin’ rock to their gorgeous ballads was good, but particularly‘Need You Tonight’, ‘Mystify’, ‘Never Tear us Apart’, ‘Burn for You’, ‘The Devil Inside’, ‘Black and White’, ‘Listen Like Thieves’, ‘Kick’ and ‘Johnson’s Aeroplane’for a bit more scene-setting.
Songs for the brighter moments
‘Bring me to Life’ by Evanescence: great pop-rock with a killer chorus and a great expression of that first flush of attraction and love.
‘Decode’ by Paramour: for the same reasons as above.
‘Do You Remember’ by Jarryd James: this feels like a song of remembrance and discovery. Not sure why as it’s more about a break-up than anything else, but there is something hopeful about it.
‘Evermore’ from the movie version of Beauty and the Beast: such a beautiful, wistful love song that’s a goodbye but also full of hope for redemption. Great for that moment when the hero/heroine realises he/she’s been an idiot and needs to do something because they can’t live without their love.
‘Everybody’s Got Their Something’ by Nikka Costa: such a great funky song that reminds me of the push and pull of the getting to know you phase.
‘Thunderclap’ by Eskimo Joe: a song of hope for love and the renewal it brings to a lost soul. Truly perfect representation for Daemon.
‘Small World’ by Idina Menzel: another heartbreaking but hopeful song about running away but also finding peace within yourself. Necessary for parts of both characters’ journeys.
‘I’m With You’ by Avril Lavigne: an unapologetic ‘I love you and I don’t care who knows or what they think’ song. Great for helping my characters towards acceptance of themselves and each other.
Songs for the darker moments
‘Apologize’ by OneRepublic: such a great break-up song and good to listen to when writing the black moment scene.
‘Heavy in Your Arms’by Florence and The Machine: a dark love song that taps into the digging-deep moments, when characters question what they truly want. Also, it’s a cool song and, while it’s sad, I also find it eternally beautiful.
‘You Ruin Me’by The Veronicas: a break-up song about emotional abuse, so while the direct message is not great, it also shows vulnerability, which helped me tap into the most difficult-to-face emotions and also helped a little while dealing with writing the evil dude.
‘Anyone’by Demi Lovato: this song breaks me every time I hear it. So epically vulnerable and full of dark, hopeless emotion that put me in the right frame of mind for how Lexi’s past affects her.
‘Gasoline’by Halsey: pretty much about self-sabotage, which is what both Lexi and Daemon specialised in before meeting each other and very much needed to get past.
‘It Doesn’t Matter’by Alison Krauss and Union Station: that guitar! And the vocals! Really, this song is ALL the feels. Beautiful and heart-wrenching, it’s a break-up song and is great for tapping into all the vulnerable emotions.
Songs for the fighting spirit
‘Sledgehammer’ by Rihanna: the spareness of the verse’s vocal is so simple and raw – along with the build to the chorus, it’s great for those moments where everything is lost but the character finds something inside that enables them to go on.
‘Holding out for a Hero’ by Bonnie Tyler: This one works for this novel because both my characters truly are holding out for the hero of their story.
‘My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark’ by Fall Out Boy:sexy, rockin’ goodness. It pumps me up every time I hear it and reminds me of the Hero’s Journey for some reason I can’t explain.
‘Until We Go Down’ by Ruelle: the spare loveliness of the bridge, the dirty bassline, the build to the crescendo are all perfect for the kick-arse fight they need to win the day.
‘Rise Up’ by Andra Day: another great one like ‘Until We Go Down’ for the fight both against the bad guy but also against their own internal conflicts.
‘Playing to Win’ by John Farnham: a driving beat and vocal that enlivens and helped me tap into the survival instinct so my characters never give up emotionally and physically.
‘The Show Must Go On’ by Queen: a song that speaks of the courage to rise above horrible things, but also the desperation of putting on a mask to protect yourself – something both my characters know a lot about.
Songs for scene-setting
‘Hazy Shade of Winter’ by the Bangles: this is the best version of this song for me with its dirty guitar, driving drums and spare vocals. It’s raw and thematically linked to my book and makes me think of the darkness of a storm over the mountains (a big motif in the novel).
‘Hearing Damage’ by Thom Yorke: for similar setting reasons to ‘Hazy Shade of Winter’.
‘Still Life’ by Patty Medina: another one that helps me with setting scene but also taps into emotions of alienation that Lexi has of not fitting into the life she has.
So, that’s it, the songs that helped me write Daemon and Lexi’s story in Need You Tonight. I hope you enjoy listening to them as you read the book.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Leisl Leighton
Leisl is a tall red head with an overly large imagination. As a child, she identified strongly with Anne of Green Gables. A voracious reader and a born performer, it came as no surprise to anyone when she did a double major in English Literature and Drama for her BA, then went on to a career as an actor, singer and dancer, as well as script writer, stage manager and musical director for cabaret and theatre restaurants (one of which she co-owned and ran for six years).
After starting a family, Leisl stopped performing and instead, began writing the stories that had been plaguing her dreams. Leisl’s stories have won and placed in many competitions in Australia and the US, including the STALI, Golden Opportunities, Heart of the West, Linda Howard Award of Excellence, Touch of Magic and many others.
Leisl lives in the leafy suburbs of Melbourne with her two beautiful boys, lovely hubby, overly spunky dogs, Buffy and Skye, and likes to spend time with family and friends. She is addicted to the Syfy channel, and her shelves are full of fantasy and paranormal books and scifi DVDs. She sometimes sings in a choir, has worked as a swim teacher, loves to ski, can talk the hind leg off a donkey and has been President of Romance Writers of Australia from 2014-2017.
To find out more, visit Leisl on her website.
Don’t miss Need You Tonight, the brand-new romantic thriller from Leisl Leighton
Not even fame will protect him from her violent past.
Reclusive music producer, Lexi Deningham, has worked hard to escape a violent past, building her reputation so world famous rock stars come to her at her isolated recording studio in the Victorian High Country. That includes the wildly talented Daemon Flagherty who has just arrived to discuss his band’s next album. After a messy divorce, all Daemon wants is to focus on his music, even if that means going to the end of the world to work with the best, albeit mysterious, music producer there is.
When Lexi gets a call from her twin sister’s secure mental health hospital telling her Cat has been attacked, Lexi has no choice but to bring her twin home. Lexi isn’t ready to deal with both Cat and Daemon at the same time but if she wants to work with Daemon – and she does, desperately – she has no choice.
Romance should be the last thing on their minds, but it seems that neither Lexi nor Daemon can ignore the passion between them. Until the threat from Lexi’s past comes crashing into the present, determined to make her pay and with no care for who might get in the way. Lexi is used to going it alone, but will she realise she needs help before it’s too late?