Berrogüetto, Fonfría and The Camino Club – Theme Songs and Lies

Last night my MNM friend Jennifer asked if The Camino Club had a theme song like The Breakfast Club had the Simple Minds’ Don’t You Forget About Me…that powerful 80s anthem song that plays at the end of the movie when Judd Nelson comes walking across the football field (?) and raises a fist in victory.

At first, I was, like, hmmmm? Maybe. But because it’s not a yelling screaming anthem song, I sort of backed down a bit before responding. Besides, The Camino Club has an entire playlist on Spotify.

But it actually does have a theme song. In fact, it has two. Berrogüetto is an incredible folk band from the Galicia region of Spain, where most of the novel takes place. I’m obsessed with this band. Their imprint on my whole Camino experience is indelible. I choose two Berrogüetto songs as the theme songs for The Camino Club. It can’t be any other way.

Nadal de Luintra.


Those are the two songs. At gunpoint, I guess I would choose FUSCO as the ultimate The Camino Club theme song. Thanks for forcing my hand, Jennifer. 🙂

While on the subject, I wanted to mention Fonfría. It’s another one of those places I fudged a bit in my novel. The difference with this one, however, is perception rather than convenience. I wrote the novel after my first Camino (May, 2014), but before my second Camino (September, 2019). Even while researching, though, I realized that Fonfría was NOT the highest point in the journey for the kids in the novel. And yet, I kept that detail in the manuscript. You see, on the cold wintery rainy sleety spring day I arrived in Fonfría on my first Camino, I swear to God I climbed an endless despicable mountain to get there. We stayed in Fonfría that night, and it was probably the most magical night of my first Camino. Angela, the albergue owner there, did a Queimada ceremony. The next morning was so cold, it snowed…it actually accumulated on our shoulders and hair as we set out from the albergue and began our day’s walk.

Anyway, in my perception, getting to Fonfría that first Camino was a final hour of torture at the end of a long day. And, as I remember it, we climbed a tree filled mountain in the rain. We went up in a circular motion and every time we turned a corner we prayed it would give us a view to the top…but it never did. I felt like we were on a terrifying amusement park ride where we just keep climbing up that hill until we die of exhaustion.

Second Camino, last September, we of course just strolled into town without any effort whatsoever. I won’t try to figure it out. The Camino is a koan, a riddle, a conundrum. It presents as it is. But in my memory, I had to climb that bloody awful mountain so I made my characters climb it too. I was bitter. (This is the LIES part of the post, in case you missed it. Creative license on the physicality of the Camino again.)

The photos above are all from Fonfría, either from entering the albergue (the cows), or inside the dining hall building, or leaving the albergue in the morning…

While I’m here, I just have to address something that came up way back in the first paragraph of this meandering post. Judd Nelson. Oops. One of my three main characters has the last name NELSON. This is NOT a nod to Judd or The Breakfast Club. NOT AT ALL. For as long as I have been writing novels, I have used the word Nelson in them. It serves as a place name, or a surname, or something, in each of my novels. It’s a place in the world that I adore. Nelson, New Brunswick, Canada…the home town of my grandmother. So I always use it, as a nod to her and that place. It’s another one of those weird coincidences that floats around this novel and The Breakfast Club that was unintentional but serendipitous.

Another such coincidence is that the hugely popular Camino de Santiago movie THE WAY (Starring Martin Sheen) was directed by Emilio Estevez. He also acted in and wrote the screenplay for the movie. AND…he was also the jock in The Breakfast Club.

Anyway, theme song? Check. More geographical lies found within The Camino Club? Check. My work here is done for today. Do yourself a favour and listen to the lovely songs I’ve linked above. If you give them a listen, I’m sure you’ll enjoy them.

THE CAMINO CLUB releases on OCTOBER 6th, 2020…but you can pre-order your copy now wherever books are sold! Here’s a few links.










PRE-ORDER DIRECT FROM INTERLUDE PRESS (In this link, find out how you can pre-order the paperback and get the ebook package for free: THE CAMINO CLUB

A Playlist for The Camino Club

So many authors create playlists for their novels. I never quite got it until now. You see, I usually pick ONE song and play it on a loop while I’m working on a novel. It just plays over and over and over and the vibe I get from that particular song sort of infuses with the words.

For Sebastian’s Poet, the ONE song was ANTHEM by my glorious Leonard Cohen. The story took place in Toronto’s Beaches District in the 1970s and the main character was a folksinger named Teal Landen, who had the nickname of The Poet. The young narrator, Sebastian Nelson, woke up one morning to find Teal sleeping on his couch. In the absence of Sebastian’s parental influences, the two form a relationship that–in the end–helps to save Sebastian. I wrote that novel over a 48hr period during my very first Muskoka Novel Marathon. 48 hours listening to the same song on repeat. It’s pretty powerful. I’ll just say right now that Teal Landen is my interpretation of Leonard Cohen himself.

For Pride Must Be A Place, the ONE song was RISE UP by The Parachute Club. I reached out by email to Lorraine Segato (the lead singer of The Parachute Club) for this one. I originally envisioned using Ms. Segato as a character in the novel, so I wanted to run it past her. Also, I wanted to infuse the story with RISE UP. I was going to write Pride at another Muskoka Novel Marathon over the course of a 72hr weekend (I did!). What I didn’t expect was receiving a phone call from Ms. Segato while I was driving up north to Huntsville, Ontario to participate in that marathon. I quickly pulled off the road and had a conversation with Ms. Segato that lead to me making some really big changes to the Pride idea. For those who read the book, spoiler alert…Ms. Segato does not appear in its pages. She did, however, give me the permissions to use lyrics from the song…and some direction in the story. I’ll be forever thankful. The playlist for that novel? RISE UP. In case you’re wondering…YES!!!! It is totally empowering and uplifting to listen to RISE UP on repeat for 72 hours. I was literally ready to TAKE ON THE UNIVERSE! To this end, the endless supply of coffee and Skittles did not hinder a thing.

Did I do another digression? Maybe. I wanted to mention 2 of my favourite novel writing experiences prior to getting to THE CAMINO CLUB!

During the writing of this novel, I finally discovered the joy of creating an entire playlist!

I wrote The Camino Club over the course of a couple (maybe 3) weeks. It was a completely different experience from my usual tactic of getting the first draft down over the course of a weekend. I had more time to spend with it, so I flexed on the playlist. And I admittedly stole a whole bunch of the songs from the soundtrack for the movie THE WAY (With Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen).

So, without further ado, here is the playlist that I created for the novel of my heart and soul!


  1. Nadal de Luintra by Berrogüetto
  2. Thank U by Alanis Morissette
  3. Pink Moon by Nick Drake
  4. Fusco by Berrogüetto
  5. Mykonos by Fleet Foxes
  6. Daniel by Tyler Bates
  7. Santiago de Compostela by Tyler Bates
  8. Muxia – A True Pilgrim by Tyler Bates
  9. Lost by Coldplay
  10. Daniel by Elton John
  11. Country Road by James Taylor
  12. My Oh My by David Gray
  13. Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads
  14. This is the Day by The The
  15. Living on the Ceiling by Blancmange
  16. Perfect Way by Scritti Politti
  17. Blister in the Sun by Violent Femmes
  18. I Try by Macy Gray
  19. Afternoons and Coffee Spoons by Crash Test Dummies
  20. And if Venice is Sinking by Spirit of the West
  21. Pull up to the Bumper by Grace Jones
  22. Sissy that Walk by Ru Paul
  23. Cover Girl by Ru Paul
  24. Late in the Evening by Paul Simon
  25. Kodachrome by Paul Simon

That’s it. I know…it’s long. But it is what it is. The songs that saw me through the writing of The Camino Club. ❤


Did I mention it’s on PREORDER?!

The hashtag for this novel is pretty simple. If you ever want to tag it, it’s #TheCaminoClub



Super Obsessive Playlists & Welcome to the Medicine Tribe

Music and writing are just a couple of my favourite obsessions (you might recognize part of that last line—just a friendly nod to Frank N. Furter). I was going to write about playlists and how they relate to my writing, yada yada yada…But…you see, I’m—in a word—swamped. Funny I should mention that word. One of my musical obsessions just happens to be Swamp by Talking Heads.

But I digress. I’m not here to talk about the Talking Heads.

By now, you might be asking yourself, “Why can’t he do a playlist?” Well, It’s because the playlists I create for novel writing mostly consist of ONE SONG. Yep, that’s right. I’m so obsessive that I will listen to just the one song—over and over again ad infinitum—for an entire novel. Don’t try to do the math, it will boggle your mind. 50,000 words x 3 minute song divided by 23 chapters…let’s see, carry the 4 and multiply by the number of years…yeah. Fugetaboutit.

There is a catch, though. I don’t spread my novel writing over years. I write my novels in 48 & 72 hour marathon bursts. So, although it sounds like madness to listen to the same song on repeat for the entire duration of a novel…it really only amounts to 72 hours at the most. That’s only, like, 1,400 plays. That is NOT obsessive. AT ALL! I do a little thing called the Muskoka Novel Marathon every July. It raises needed funds for the local literacy network, but it’s also an amazing retreat wherein 40 writers barricade themselves into a room for 72 hours and attempt to write complete novels.

I’m an addictive personality. If you know me, you know this. So…for my first marathon, I listened to Anthem by Leonard Cohen for 48 hours straight. What came out of the marathon was a finished novel called Sebastian’s Poet. Now I could create a playlist link here for that marathon, but I don’t see the point. Nothing is sadder than a one-song playlist. If you were to scan the pages of Sebastian’s Poet, you would probably notice that the boy’s ‘poet’ is a reincarnation of Leonard himself. I mean, it’s ridiculous. Anthem is just such an incredibly awesome song, though. It drove me to write that novel non-stop for 48 electrifying-ly amazing hours.

After that marathon was over, I contacted Leonard Cohen’s people. I wish I could say I had my people contact his people, but I’d be lying (as I have no people—though I suppose my agent is my people). I received permission to use, ‘There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in’ (Anthem lyrics) as the epigraph to the novel. To go one step further, I then got it tattooed on my arm. Yeah, I’m not obsessive.

That novel also has a real-life celebrity in it. Gordon Lightfoot shows up in the last chapter. One of the last orders of business that Lightfoot’s agent, Barry Harvey, did before his death was provide me with permission to use Gordon as a character in the novel.

I should let you know right now that my tangents are so wide and chaotic, they require a bus route. So, you’re either on the bus or off the bus (my nod to the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test). This post is actually about my favourite NEW obsession. Let me introduce you to Medicine for the People (and the song I will have on repeat during this July’s Muskoka Novel Marathon!)


I stumbled upon Medicine about a year ago, and from that point on the obsession has slowly taken over my life. After I obsessed over their first album ON THE VERGE for several months, they were kind enough to recently release their second album DARK AS NIGHT. This band, and their peaceful reformative vision, really pumps my blood. They are FolkMusic2.0. Or, rather, 11 on the volume knob of my obsession scale. Before I totally lose you, I’m going to leave you with something from their new album. ALOHA KE AKUA will inspire you to sit. To write. To marathon that next novel. Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself suddenly writing Hawaii in as the novel’s setting.

Here’s a challenge for you. As a writer, can you pick just one song? Choose the definitive one-song soundtrack for your work in progress. And spin that puppy ad infinitum until you keystroke THE END on your novel. It’s transformative. Really.

You can follow NAHKO, the lead singer of Medicine for the People, on Twitter: @NahkoBear


Nahko Bear & Medicine for the People

When you become a fan of MftP (and you will) you will call yourself #MedicineTribe on Twitter. And it will be good.


Retro-Writing Calls For Retro-Music: How Nick Gilder Became My Favourite Obsession!


I recently started a new ‘project’. Yes. It’s true. I’m writing again. I took a few weeks off, due to…hmmm…lack of concentration? Yes. Let’s call it that. So, the new project is a contemporary fiction that takes place in the 1970s. Why the 70s, some may ask? I find that I fit most comfortably in the 70s and 80s. That’s my gentle way of saying I’m stuck in the past.


The working title of this novel in progress is BEAUTY IS IN THE SKY OF THE BEHOLDER. It’ll be business as usual, as far as themes go. I’m a sucker for taking a character to the bottom of the pit and attempting to help them dig their way up out of the mire. BEAUTY will be another book with another sad-sack character who tries to find peace against all odds. Please…don’t try to read anything into this favourite theme of mine. (-;

Because BEAUTY takes place in 1975, there was NO question what my playlist would be. A list of one. ROXY ROLLER. Glam rockers Sweeney Todd were a favourite of mine that year. As much as I have spent a lifetime obsessed with T-Rex and Marc Bolan…I have also had Sweeney Todd rolled into that obsession. As a kid, I was THRILLED that Glam could be found in Canada. Todd was our version of T-Rex. So, before I typed in the title BEAUTY IS IN THE SKY OF THE BEHOLDER, you can rest assured that I dropped the needle on the Todd.


But as I began writing the story, I quickly became more obsessed with the background music than the story-thread. As I’m a bit new to getting bum in chair again, I thought it would be a good idea to follow the obsession while I wrote. So Sweeney Todd’s Roxy Roller quickly transformed to Nick Gilder’s Hot Child in the City. The two songs are actually so perfect together, they could have been released as a mashed single like, say, Queen’s We are the Champions and We Will Rock You. Or, an even better duo single release, This Beat Goes On/Switchin’ to Glide. Alas, Roxy Roller and Hot Child in the City aren’t even by the same ‘group’. Hot Child was Nick’s hit as a solo artist, after he left the band for greener pastures.


So, here I am. I’m adding to BEAUTY every day, now. I’m getting back into the swing and discipline of writing. It’s feeling great. Writing is my salvation. And I have these two songs looping endlessly in the background. It’s kind of like being in Nirvana, but wondering where the hell Marc Bolan got himself to. Because, well, everyone knows Marc would be there. Glamming up a storm. But I have the next best thing keeping me company along the journey to discovering just what the hell BEAUTY IS IN THE SKY OF THE BEHOLDER is all about. I have Nick Gilder setting the pace of my story. And, he’s kind of a big deal here in Canada. In the history of Glam Rock (which is one of my favourite obsessions), Nick Gilder and his sadly defunct band, SWEENEY TODD, are a pillar. Not only are they a pillar…but they’re a Canadian pillar. For me, that’s important. It’s not often Canadian’s celebrate each other.


I am obsessing over these two tracks. I know I am. But this is what I do when I settle in to write a new story. I pick a song. Or two. And I play the shit out of them. Nothing transports me to particular moments in time more than music. Sweeney Todd were a huge influence in my life back in the day. I drop the needle on Roxy Roller, and it’s amazing how quickly the cell phones and computers and internet and microwaves and every other modern convenience to spring from the loins of humanity fade into the background. When I hear that incredibly sleek and singularly enchanting glamrock voice (a voice that I have defended in many arguments to be that of a MALE), I am 1975.

I’m off to continue the story. But before I go, I’ll leave you with Sweeney Todd and Nick Gilder. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, though. You will become obsessed.

First, ROXY ROLLER. Nick with his band, Sweeney Todd:

And, lastly, HOT CHILD IN THE CITY, Nick’s biggest solo career offering:

I’ve always been fascinated with music playlists and the novel. I often wonder how other writers feel about them. Myself, I need to be extremely picky to choose just the write song(s). I tend to stay to a list of one or two songs per project. Usually just one artist. I wrote my second novel, Sebastian’s Poet, listening to just one song…Anthem by Leonard Cohen. It worked for me. It may sound crazy…to listen to one song on repeat for all that time. But as writers we have to test everything…just keep doing things until we know, instinctively, that we’re doing the right thing.

So…what’s the story, morning glory? Do you playlist? Do you have a method or do you play whatever grabs your fancy? Do you find songs for each character? You know, like some wicked cool haunting song for scenes with the antagonist, and some less haunting more heroic ditty for protagonist face time. Let’s have it! What is your musical accompaniment process?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I do believe I need to re-acquire a pair of roller skates! Nothing says Motorcity Roller-Rama (one of my old haunts!) like Sweeney Todd!


Retro-Writing Calls For Retro-Music: How Nick Gilder Became My Favourite Obsession!

I’m over at ALL THE WRITE NOTES today, talking about my new favourite obsession. (-:


Retro-Writing Calls For Retro-Music: How Nick Gilder Became My Favourite Obsession!

via Retro-Writing Calls For Retro-Music: How Nick Gilder Became My Favourite Obsession!.