Picture of two iPhones and headphones

The music behind The Magnificent Sons

As you may know, my second novel THE MAGNIFICENT SONS came out on hardback on 6 August. It tells the story of two brothers who don’t really get on but come out within a year of each other.

The younger, Trick, is first – announcing he’s gay at his 17th birthday party to the surprise of absolutely nobody. Inspired by this, the elder brother Jake, 29, begins to think more about his own repressed bisexuality and realises he wants to live as full a life as possible. The added complication here is that he’s already in a monogamous relationship with Amelia, and all their friends seem to be marrying off all around them.

Amelia, Jake, and Trick, as the main characters, each have their turn as the POV and to give you a sense of them, I’ve created separate playlists for the three of them. It’s not just the music that you might hear should you hack into their headphones,  these are the songs playing at pivotal moments, the background noise to life-changing scenes – as well as songs that help tell the story too.

Aside from a short prologue in 2005, THE MAGNIFICENT SONS takes place over about 18 months, from summer 2017, so there are no songs later than the end of 2018 and some of the tunes will have been played on the radio around that time. In London, where the book is set, 2018 was a scorching summer; the scenes set during that period are thick with humidity.

Hope you enjoy!


Amelia likes HITS. At the start of our story, she’s a fun, confident young woman who is more or less happy with Jake. He’s not like her previous boyfriends, which both delights and unsettles her. She has a close group of friends, who she met mainly at university, and she’s sat through umpteen hen weekends and weddings, so her playlist is dance floor-heavy and leans toward her younger days. Obviously, a big change is coming for her during the book and the music reflects that too. Aside from gym workouts, Amelia is not about hiding her music taste behind headphones. She is first to hijack the Spotify at a party and all of these songs will have been talked over, or bellowed out loud more than once, as they blurt out of her battered bluetooth speakers.


THE MAGNIFICENT SONS opens with Jake mesmerised as he watches schoolfriend Evan dance to Fleetwood Mac, and his playlist reflects the confused multiverse that is Jake’s personality. Outwardly, he’s shy and quiet, an ‘everyman’, if you like, who doesn’t quite understand his place in the world. He begins to come out of his shell once he acknowledges his sexuality and as anyone on the LGBTQIA spectrum can tell you, our trajectory is not always in the right direction. At first, Jake might listen to these songs through the safety of some very expensive headphones, that he spent months researching before actually buying because he likes to get everything… just so. Later, perhaps the dance floor comes calling.


Depending on perhaps your age and experience, you will either find Trick lovable or a pain in the arse – which, by the way, is probably what most people thought about you when you were 17. Trick is, according to all outward appearances, a switched-on, confident and clued-up content creator with a close coterie of fabulous friends. But, as with many teenagers, he’s still a child at heart, and he’s growing up so fast, sometimes his brain can’t catch up and perhaps his thought patterns aren’t as rational and sophisticated as they would be were he a little older. Trick is a reminder, much like his brother, that sometimes we are difficult and we are unlikable but we still deserve to be happy. His playlist is Trick’s heart on his sleeve, turned up to 11. Imagine it booming out from behind a closed door, punctuated with the piercing laughter and screams of carefree teenagers.

You can get THE MAGNIFICENT SONS wherever you love to get your books. Do support your local indies if you can. If you prefer the big guys, here are a few links:


For Twitter’s #ReadTheRainbow campaign, I did a live (!!) reading from The Magnificent Sons. Check it out below:

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