From the San Francisco Chronicle (website) 28th May 2009

By Michelle Richmond – Author / Booklover / Observer of Neighborhoods

Songs to Write By

… When I’m first piecing together the bones of a book, one of the most important things for me is to find the right rhythm. In the early stages of No One You Know I had a CD in the car, which contained a mix of a number of my favorite instrumental pieces: the soundtrack to The Endless Summer, Lesley Spencer’s Russian Waltz, Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Railroad Man–quiet, contemplative pieces, some piano, some guitar.

Then, as I began to get more deeply into the story, more songs drifted into my head. Some on this list are mentioned in the novel, others capture the spirit of the book and its San Francisco setting. I included a few obscure tunes as well as more popular ones–the latter, because a catchy song that’s part of the national musical lexicon can take you right back to the first time you heard it–who you were with, what you were doing, how you felt. (I came of age in the eighties, which means that certain songs always remind me of that homemade pantsuit I had, the camouflage one with the serious shoulder pads.) …

9. Lloyd Cole, “Rattlesnakes,” from the album of the same title. My husband and I saw several Lloyd Cole shows when we were living in New York City, and we see him every time he comes out to San Francisco. Lloyd Cole has appeared in every one of my novels.

About the writer:

Michelle Richmond’s most recent novels, No One You Know and The Year Of Fog, are set in San Francisco. The New York Times bestseller The Year of Fog has been published in ten languages and is being adapted for the big screen by Newmarket Films.

A native of Mobile, Alabama, Michelle moved to San Francisco ten years ago. She lives with her husband and son in the Outer Richmond, where she devours scones from Nibs, coffee from Simple Pleasures, and double features at the Balboa. Her website is

Link to original article online

Publication: Songs to Write By

Publication date: 28/05/09