Tuesday, 21 February 2012

An Oliver Twisted Playlist by JD Sharpe

It is only when you know someone, really know someone, that you have a fighting chance of guessing what is on their iPod or Spotify playlist. 

Well, writing a character is like getting to know someone inside out and one of the ways I get beneath the skin of my characters is to think about what their favourite songs they might be.


Fagin is a really anarchic character, a villain that literally sucks you in. When it came to choosing a song for him I wanted something that was full of wild, crazy energy and a driving beat because he is relentless.

And I realize you’re mine
Indeed a fool of mine
And I realize you’re mine
Indeed a fool and mine



All the way through Oliver Twisted, Oliver is drawn to the darkness and the light.
 He has the ability to use his power for good or for evil and the tension in the book is what side he will choose. 

I have picked two songs for Oliver. 

Cause maybe whether you're high or low
Whether you're high or low
You gotta tip on the tightrope
(Tip, tip on it)
T-t-t-tip on the tightrope
(Tip, tip on it)

The second song is Mad World by Gary Jules

I think Oliver would have a deep affinity with this song, especially in the early stages of the book when he is trapped in the Bloodfarm and then the workhouse and then the undertakers. Beyond, that the world of Oliver Twisted is one without hope for Hell’s Door has been opened and agents of evil rule the land.

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow



Nancy is a fascinating character.
 She is feisty and brave yet remains with Sikes who is abusive. 
She has a conscience but is also party to the kidnap of Oliver.

I have a million songs for Nancy but my top five are below. 
A lot of them have a haunting, longing quality which I think fits Nancy’s narrative very well. 

Good times for a change
See, the luck I've had
Can make a good man
Turn bad

So please please, please
Let me, let me, let me
Let me get what I want
This time

Haven't had a dream in a long time
See, the life I've had
Can make a good man bad

So for once in my life
Let me get what I want
Lord knows, it would be the first time
Lord knows, it would be the first time



I loved writing Dodge. The backstory I created for him is really dark and emotional. He and his grandmother we captured when he was very small by traders from across the sea. Dodge’s people have certain magical abilities that are precious to others. His grandmother used all of her powers to help free him and Dodge ran away even though it meant having to leave his grandmother behind. This is a guilt that Dodge has always lived with. This has left him angry and seemingly uncaring but beneath it all we see so much more. 
Dodge above all is a survivor.

Now, now how come your talk turn cold?
Gain the whole world for the price of your soul
Tryin to grab hold of what you can't control
Now you all floss, what a sight to behold
Wisdom is better than silver and gold
I was hopeless, now I'm more hopeful
Every man wanna act like he's exempt
Need to get down on his knees and repent
Can't slick talk on the day of judgment
Your movement's similar to a serpent
Tried to play straight, how your whole style bent?
Consequence is no coincidence
Hypocrites always wanna play innocent
Always want to take it to the full out extent
Always want to make it seem like good intent
Never want to face it when it time for punishment
I know you don't wanna hear my opinion
But there come many paths and you must choose one
And if you don't change then the rain soon come
See you might win some, but you just lost one



"Flesh," the woe-begotten moaned at Oliver, baring teeth which were ragged and black.
"Flesh" came another moan, and he turned to see two more behind. 
They began to shuffle towards him, barefoot. 

The world according to Oliver Twisted is simple. Vampyres feed on the defenceless, orphans are sacrificed to hungry gods and if a woe-begotten catches your scent it will hunt you forever. 

On the advice of a corpse, Oliver flees his ghastly orphan life to seek his destiny in the dark streets of old London Town, despite the perils of the woe-begotten zombie-infested journey. 
There he meets the shadowy Dodger, the evil old soul-stealer Fagin, and the menacing Bill Sikes, who is more beast than man. 
But will Oliver Twisted be the world's salvation, or its downfall?


JD Sharpe is the alter-ego of author Jasmine Richards. You can find out more about Jasmine in two interviews, here on tall tales & short stories...

Interview with a Debut Author: JASMINE RICHARDS




Jackie Marchant said...

Wow. I'm REALLY looking forward to reading Oliver Twisted now!

agman said...

I love the whole idea of this story and the music great, congratulations on a fine blog

Sue said...

What a brilliant idea! Clever title - it had to be written, really...

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