1. Wake Up – Arcade Fire

The initial song plays as Meghan wakes up strapped into a parachute and flying high above the clouds. She slowly descends into the clouds before seeing she is headed towards the Island. The song is slow until it changes beat where Meghan’s feet make touchdown onto the bullseye. Once the beat changes, she is surrounded by the children and taken to David.

2. We’re Going To Be Friends – Jack Johnson

This song is meant to be the main theme for Meghan and Ham’s friendship. While it is mainly about Ham, it is also reflective of the friendship between Meghan and the others.

3: Good Time – Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen

I used this song to get in the right mood for Meghan’s real first day on the Island. She enjoys breakfast with the others and though she is disappointed with the thought of SherWanda’s wish for a bubble machine, she soon realizes the extent of her wish and that wonderful things can happen on the Island.

4. Alright – Supergrass

This song was used for day two of life on the Island. This time, it has been Eshaal’s wish and she wished for puppies. Meghan and the others have breakfast, and then enjoy their time with the puppies.

5. King Of Anything – Sara Bareilles

I used this song as Kevin’s theme. Though I could’ve used it when Meghan first meets Kevin, I felt it best to set the mood when Kevin becomes moody again and avoids everyone, except for Meghan, whom he sees as a kindred spirit due to how similar their arrival to the Island is. Though I felt there could’ve been a romantic angle to be had between Meghan and Kevin, I felt it best to avoid romance altogether.

6. Fireflies – Owl City

This is one of the songs that I included in the soundtrack with no specific scene in mind. As I wrote listening to the soundtrack, my mind wandered, as it usually does, and it just filled the blanks on its own. Eventually, it led to the imagery of children flying around, carried by tons of fireflies. This led to Ham’s wish being fulfilled of being flown by fireflies. It was a great image and one that tied into the symbolic representation of the firefly.

7. Upside Down – Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson has some songs that are great for kids, and besides “You And I Are Going To Be Friends”, “Upside Down” was one song I felt would be great to include for the soundtrack. I envisioned a montage of David and Meghan having long chats as well as playing with Ham and the others. It’s also the start of when Meghan begins to seriously consider her feelings of guilt while David contemplates the thought of having children with Ellie while he has one of the children fall asleep in his lap as the song reflects, “Is this how it’s supposed to be?”

8. Lead Me To The Cross – Hillsong United

If you’ve read the afterword in Parachute Island, then I’m sure you know that I was initially inspired to write it by hearing two songs being covered at my nieces’ recital. One of these songs, Leas Me To The Cross, was sung by a young teenage girl. Now, she didn’t inspire me to come up with the concept of Meghan, but certainly the beauty of that song being sung by a child did help. I initially pictured Meghan sitting in some tall grass with Ham as the sun set, casting long shadows with its orange brilliance, thinking deep thoughts. This was before I knew the story would include children living in the afterlife. Once the story had evolved, the song was used to evoke feelings about Meghan’s feelings towards the Island and herself, her interaction with David, and the transition of the storyline from Meghan’s perspective to David’s.

9. Sleepyhead – Passion Pit

This is a major turning point in the novel where the point-of-view has totally shifted to David’s. David has just woken from a coma, and I felt like “Sleepyhead” was both ironic and also the type of song kids really loved. It also led to the first line spoken by Ellie, “Wake up, sleepyhead.” This is the part where David has to face some harsh truths.

10. New Soul – Yael Naim

This was another song I hadn’t intended on including in the soundtrack, but as I was listening to some music on Pandora, it struck a chord with me. It seemed to fit in with David’s new life, albeit not one he could’ve imagined. David has become a “new soul” as he works hard through his therapy, attempting to live every single moment of his new life, no matter how painful it is.

11. The House You’re Building – Audrey Assad

Initially, when I listened to this song, I had envisioned David opening an orphanage for children no one else wanted. But as I did research on orphanages, I saw that orphanages are pretty much a thing of the past. Upon doing more research, I developed the idea of David creating a charity fund with his newfound wealth. The usage of this song then evolved into David moving into his new home, meeting his new employees, and establishing the charity fund.

12. Tongue Tied – Grouplove

This was initially a song I had included earlier in the soundtrack showing the kids having fun on the Island. Then, I moved the song later in the soundtrack expanding on the kids in the orphanage having fun as David looked on. I scrapped the idea of an orphanage and instead, I came up with the idea of creating the charity fund, I thought I would expand on the concept of David helping parents come to terms with their children living happily in the afterlife.

13. Teardrop – Massive Attack

This is the song that leads to the climax and denouement of the novel. I hadn’t really considered the idea of the school shooting at first, but as the storyline grew, the tragedy of Tommy and how he’d become more of a victim more than some sort of evil person developed on its own. Because of that, I went back and expanded on the storyline of Stevie and his cryptic message to David. In addition, I also used it to expand the storyline of the Petersens, as I only had envisioned David meeting Jerry, but being shunned by Grace. It was interesting how the two switched places. Because of that, Jerry became bitter and unwilling to come to terms with Meghan’s death.

14. Harvest Moon – Neil Young

Originally, I was going to use a different song for the dream where David and Ellie meet (I can’t remember which), but one night I watched A Quiet Place and saw the scene where John Krasinski and Emily Blunt’s characters slow dance, and it struck a chord with me. After seeing that, I went back and rewrote that scene to expand it and have David and Ellie slow dance to Harvest Moon. The part where they remember dancing in David’s cramped dorm room was also partially inspired by my room in my freshman year in college when you literally had to crawl over my bed to get into the rest of the room. Yeah, it was just a little bigger than a broom closet.

15. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan

Originally, I had pictured Grace meeting David outside of his brownstone house to finally come to terms with Meghan’s death to this song. Then, I switched it to David meeting Grace and/or Jerry outside their apartment, then rolling away to die in some alley. Finally, I changed it to David meeting Grace and Nana outside in their garage to deliver Meghan’s message. In all of the ideas, I wanted to include two things: David being in the rain and him succumbing to pneumonia. I did research on pneumonia and made sure to include all the symptoms. Sadly, his suffering grew as the storyline of him wandering around downtown San Antonio and sleeping under an overpass did as well. No one can say a fictional character doesn’t suffer for their art.

16. Imagine – John Lennon

This is the other song that first gave me the initial idea to write Parachute Island. Again, I was at my nieces’ recital when this young boy, probably around ten, played this song on a piano. Within thirty minutes after the recital, I already had a rough concept for the novel. As the song played in my head, I drew strong parallels to how Meghan first flew onto the Island and how David also returned to the Island. I originally wanted to include a portion of the lyrics in the novel to also show the strength of children and Lennon’s concepts of peace and harmony, but unfortunately, I would’ve had to pay a large amount to use them, and I couldn’t afford it. So instead, here’s the link to the YouTube video with the lyrics. 😃 When I finally wrote this scene, I couldn’t help but cry a bit every time I went over it.


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