Thanks to Claire Legrand for including us in her blog tour for The Year of Shadows! Check out her guest post and giveaway, then head over to the other stops on the tour. (cross-posted over at

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The Music of The Year of Shadows, Part II

Music always has been and always will be a huge part of my writing process, but probably never more so than when writing The Year of Shadows. This story takes place at a music hall and the main character’s father conducts their city’s orchestra. At the beginning of The Year of Shadows, main character Olivia is overcome with bitterness and resentment toward music. It’s an understandable sentiment; her father’s obsession with his orchestra drove Olivia’s mother out of the house and causes him to neglect Olivia in a time during which she desperately needs him. Will Olivia ever be able to work through her personal demons in order to love music and her father’s orchestra as she once did? Of course, you’ll have to read to find out. ;)

Below you’ll find a few clips from my “soundtrack” for The Year of Shadows. I listened to this music while brainstorming, drafting, and revising, which I do for every project. The music in my book playlists typically follows the plot of the story, scene by scene. The playlist for The Year of Shadows was special in that it is comprised of two parts: instrumental music that inspired me while writing, and the orchestral music Maestro Stellatella’s orchestra performs throughout the book. I hope you enjoy listening to this music! Be sure to check out the other “Music of The Year of Shadows” posts at The Book Cellar (August 21) and Novel Sounds (August 28).


This track, “Ikea” from the 500 Days of Summer score by Mychael Danna & Rob Simonsen, is my theme for one of Olivia’s friends from school—Joan Elizabeth Dawson, junior activist and self-proclaimed séance expert. Joan’s family is wealthy—her “Daddy” is a very important businessman in town—but that doesn’t stop Joan from attaching herself to misfit Olivia and her quest to help the Emerson Hall ghosts and save the City Philharmonic. Joan was so fun to write; she’s excitable, earnestly throws around SAT words, and doesn’t focus on her looks or her money. Olivia says “Joan would have probably been popular, if she’d cared about things like that.”

“Cliffs”, from the Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack by Karen O and the Kids, is one of my favorite tracks on the playlist. I think of it as my theme for Olivia. It’s sweet, lilting, innocent, and dreamy. I can imagine Olivia distractedly humming to herself much like the vocalist in this song—maybe lounging on the catwalk above the Emerson Hall stage, sketching monsters and kicking her heels together, while Igor rests on her back and scrutinizes her progress over her shoulder.

After Olivia’s mom left, she isolated herself from pretty much everyone in her life. Figuring she’d never have real friends again—and liking it that way (or so she thinks)—she’s reluctant to let Mr. Perfect Henry Page into her life. But Henry saw the ghosts too, and won’t rest until Olivia accepts that they’re real—and that he can help her find them. This track, “To Be, or Not To Be” from Christophe Beck’s exquisite score for Phoebe in Wonderland, highlights a sweet scene between Olivia and Henry later in the book, when Olivia realizes just how good a friend Henry is, and how well he knows her.

At one point while Olivia and Henry are exploring Emerson Hall, Olivia enters the Maestro’s room and roots through his possessions. What she finds there tells her more about how her parents met, and how things started to go wrong. It’s a heartbreaking moment for Olivia, a terrible reminder of how good things used to be. This track accompanies that scene: “Collecting Things” from Jon Brion’s score for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

This quirky, slightly eerie track is my theme for the four ghosts Olivia befriends—Frederick, Tillie, Jax, and Mr. Worthington. These ghosts look disturbing, and they have experienced some horrible things (though they can’t remember them), but there’s something comical about them, too—the way Tillie and Jax talk over each other, the sounds the reticent Mr. Worthington makes, and how Frederick literally comes apart in moments of stress.

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Claire Legrand used to be a musician until she realized she couldn't stop thinking about the stories in her head. Now a writer, Ms. Legrand can often be found typing with purpose at her keyboard, losing herself in the stacks at her local library, or embarking upon spontaneous adventures to lands unknown.

Her first novel is THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS, a New York Public Library Best Book for Children in 2012.

Her second novel, THE YEAR OF SHADOWS, releases August 27, 2013, with her third novel, WINTERSPELL, to follow in fall 2014.

She is one of the four authors behind THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES, an anthology of dark middle grade fiction due out in July 2014 from Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins.

Claire lives in New Jersey with a dragon and two cats. Visit her at and at

Monday, 8/19: The Book Smugglers

Tuesday, 8/20: Mundie Kids/Mundie Moms

Wednesday, 8/21: The Book Cellar

Thursday, 8/22: Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust

Friday, 8/23: Cuddlebuggery

Saturday, 8/24: Read Now Sleep Later

Sunday, 8/25: Unleashing Readers

Monday, 8/26: The Midnight Garden

Tuesday, 8/27: Release Day - From the Mixed-Up Files

Wednesday, 8/28: Novel Sounds

Thursday, 8/29: Teach Mentor Texts

Friday, 8/30: The Mod Podge Bookshelf

Tuesday, 9/3: Nerdy Book Club

Wednesday, 9/4: Heise Reads & Recommends

Thursday, 9/5: The Compulsive Reader

Friday, 9/6: Great Imaginations