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Playlist | The Haunting of Velkwood by Gwendolyn Kiste

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Ode to my Family by the Cranberries

This song has the most direct connection to the book since it’s a favorite of the character Brett. It’s mentioned several times throughout the novel, and not only do I think that it’s a truly beautiful song, but it’s also perfect in terms of the themes of THE HAUNTING OF VELKWOOD. This is a novel all about family: our connections to the people and places we come from and also the painful mark those people can leave on us (and we can leave on them). This particular tune carries all those themes so well. Sadly, it’s also a haunting tune of its own now since the loss of lead singer Dolores O’Riordan. I still miss her, and I’m still so sad that she left us far too soon. At least we all have her legacy of such gorgeous music and such a gorgeous voice to cherish.

 

The Other Side by Sirenia

My husband introduced me to this song, specifically because it reminded him of the relationship between the main character Talitha who escaped her ghostly neighborhood and her little sister Sophie who’s still trapped there. It’s such an evocative tune, and although I’m not as much of a metal fan as my husband is, this one is just too good not to include. The video also is really wonderful, and I love the interaction between the singer and the little girl representing her sister; everything about it certainly mirrors the dynamic between Talitha and Sophie in THE HAUNTING OF VELKWOOD.

 

If I Could Turn Back Time by Cher

Time is such a central theme of THE HAUNTING OF VELKWOOD, and this was a song on my original playlist for the book while I was writing it. It would have been a song the girls from Velkwood Street would have heard growing up—it was always on the radio, and the video was in heavy rotation on MTV at one point, so they would absolutely recognize this one. Plus, it’s Cher, and honestly, her reinvention has always been so inspiring to me. Since this is a book about learning to find yourself by venturing into your past, I don’t think there’s a better role model for how to keep going in this world than Cher who has survived a lot of setbacks and always come out stronger on the other side.

 

Never Let You Go by Third Eye Blind

Third Eye Blind is mentioned in the book as a band that supporting character Grace really enjoys, so I figured I could give a shout-out to her in this list. Also, I remember the video for this song being on VH1 a lot when I was a teenager, and I always thought it was so much fun. Beyond that, though, the idea of not being able to let someone from you past go absolutely resonates with the themes of the novel. Plus, the fact that this song is so upbeat is wonderfully discordant with the darkness waiting for the characters on Velkwood Street, the same way that their brightly lit suburban neighborhood seems happier from the outside than it is on the inside.

 

Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper

So I wanted to go with one final song about time, and there’s really not a better one than this. I’ve been a Cyndi Lauper fan since basically birth—my dad has always talked about how the first album he ever bought for me when I was a baby was Lauper’s She’s So Unusual. Not a bad way to begin your musical journey in life. This song, which appears on that album, is all about thinking of someone you’ve lost, and that’s a recurrent theme in THE HAUNTING OF VELKWOOD, especially for Talitha, who mourns the loss of her sister, her best friends, and her home. There’s even a line in the song about watching out windows, wondering if someone is okay, and both Talitha and her little sister Sophie do this at different points in the book while thinking about each other. There’s also the refrain about always being there to catch someone’s fall and being there waiting for someone, and that’s how the character Brett is with Talitha: always right there the moment Talitha needs anything. So this feels like the perfect end to this Velkwood playlist: a song all about how love endures, even if time and circumstance means you can’t always be together with the people you love.

THE HAUNTING OF VELKWOOD by Gwendolyn Kiste

The Haunting of Velkwood

From Bram Stoker Award­–winning author Gwendolyn Kiste comes a chilling novel about three childhood friends who miraculously survive the night everyone in their suburban hometown turned into ghosts—perfect for fans of Yellowjackets.

The Velkwood Vicinity was the topic of occult theorists, tabloid one-hour documentaries, and even some pseudo-scientific investigations as the block of homes disappeared behind a near-impenetrable veil that only three survivors could enter—and only one has in the past twenty years, until now.

Talitha Velkwood has avoided anything to do with the tragedy that took her mother and eight-year-old sister, drifting from one job to another, never settling anywhere or with anyone, feeling as trapped by her past as if she was still there in the small town she so desperately wanted to escape from. When a new researcher tracks her down and offers to pay her to come back to enter the vicinity, Talitha claims she’s just doing it for the money. Of all the crackpot theories over the years, no one has discovered what happened the night Talitha, her estranged, former best friend Brett, and Grace, escaped their homes twenty years ago. Will she finally get the answers she’s been looking for all these years, or is this just another dead end?

Award-winning author Gwendolyn Kiste has created a suburban ghost story about a small town that trapped three young women who must confront the past if they’re going to have a future.

 

Fantasy Magical Realism | Horror [S&S/Saga Press, On Sale: March 5, 2024, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9781982172374 / eISBN: 9781982172381]

Buy THE HAUNTING OF VELKWOODAmazon.com | Kindle | BN.com | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Powell's Books | Books-A-Million | Indie BookShops | Ripped Bodice | Walmart.com | Target.com | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Gwendolyn Kiste

Gwendolyn Kiste

Gwendolyn Kiste is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Rust Maidens, from Trepidatio Publishing; And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe, from JournalStone; and the dark fantasy novella, Pretty Marys All in a Row, from Broken Eye Books. Her short fiction has appeared in Nightmare Magazine, Shimmer, Black Static, Daily Science Fiction, Interzone, LampLight, and Three-Lobed Burning Eye, among others. Originally from Ohio, she now resides on an abandoned horse farm outside of Pittsburgh with her husband, two cats, and not nearly enough ghosts

WEBSITE | AMAZON

 

 

 

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