Tuesday Tunes with Michael Hoarty

Tuesday Tunes with Michael Hoarty


Tuesday Tunes is Kaylie Jones Books’ latest series and explores the connection between music and writing. Each month, we’ll invite one person from the Kaylie Jones Books collective to share their playlist, and their writing process, with us. This week, it’s Michael Hoarty.


MICHAEL HOARTY is a Chicago-based writer and editor who also happens to be Kaylie Jones Books’ Graduate Assistant (GA)! As an integral part of Oddities, he is currently buried under submissions.

Michael lives with his girlfriend, Kaitlin and their cat, Lemon. He is currently working on a novel that’s a mix of sci-fi and psychological thriller.

He obtained his BFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is currently going for his MFA at Wilkes University.


How would you describe your playlist?

It’s pretty eclectic, and I use different songs for different moods. I might listen to something like Prince or Talking Heads if the scene I’m writing is more energetic, while a lot of artists such as Grouper, Vangelis, and Ulver sets a certain dark mood that helps me give a sense of place to what I’m writing. I picture the scenes I’m writing as though they’re scenes from a movie, or a tv show, or whatever, and the music acts as a score for the sort of mood I want to achieve.

Does music play a role in your current writing project?

It does, although, since it’s a first novel, I’ve often needed silence to focus on what I’m doing. But the deeper I got in the project, the more music helped me bring a focus to what I was doing.

How much does music factor into your writing process?

That completely depends on my mood. Sometimes I need to just focus on what I’m doing, and silence is golden for times like that.

How did you come across these songs?

That’s a different story for each artist! The “related artists” tab in Spotify has done wonders, but I also am absurdly out of touch with music and usually use my friends as beacons to newer stuff.

Which song is your favorite and why?

That’s so tough. If we’re going for what works best with my writing, it has to be Ryuchi Sakamato. His music is just so calming.

Do you feel these songs correspond to a certain mood or character?

Yes to mood, not really to character. Stuff like Slippery People or Nightclubbing are songs I like to have on when I’m trying to evoke a sense of action or danger, while the slower stuff is when I’m trying to build the general mood.

A good portion of these songs are instrumental. Do you find it difficult to write against lyrics?

Oftentimes yes. I pay close attention to lyrics and sometimes I get lost in them, which isn’t quite conducive for good writing. However, with some songs, I know the lyrics well enough that they blend in with the rest of the music.


You can view Michael Hoarty’s playlist below. Please follow Kaylie Jones Books on Spotify, and subscribe to our blog for more Tuesday Tunes.


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