Author Guest Posts, Reading Playlists

Kate Karyus Quinn, author of (Don’t You) Forget About Me made you a mixtape because she secretly wants to be your girlfriend. 


A (Don’t You) Forget About Me Playlist Mixtape

I’ve always loved music. Not in an aficionado sort of way. To be honest, my favorite songs are ones I can sing along with, but that doesn’t mean that I get all the words right… or that I even totally understand what the song is about (In college a good friend of mine explained that Heart’s song “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You” when the lyrics are, “We walked in the garden, we planted a seed,” was NOT talking about proper gardening techniques. My mind, it was blown. But also the song suddenly made a lot more sense).

But even someone who occasionally needs songs explained to them understands a few basic things about music. For example: If you want to enjoy an entire album in the best possible way, then you reach for the vinyl.

And if you just want the songs that you want, instantly and at your fingertips, well then you go digital.

And that seems to sum up the two best listening choices: Retro or Modern. Record or digital. Maaayybe an occasional CD will sneak in for those who like to back up their music, but it’s only a matter of time ‘til those things are only used as drink coasters.

And as for tape… Ha ha ha. Now there’s a medium that in this day and age seems about as functional as the arms on a T-Rex. Amiright or amiright?

I mean that ugly hissing sound, the endless rewinding and fast-forwarding to find the one song you want, and its lack of durability, from the easily cracked plastic frame to the flimsy tape threads inside that can be so easily twisted and tangled.

And yet…

Maybe it’s just nostalgia for the medium that fed music into my ears throughout my teen years… Well, actually YES, OF COURSE it’s that. Some songs are like mini time machines carrying you back to a specific time and place. You play “Bohemian Rhapsody” and I am back in eighth grade again, listening to that song on repeat while I do the dishes. Switch to No Doubt’s “Spiderweb” and my high school friends and I are crammed into the front bench seat of an old truck, all the windows are down, we’re driving around just because we can, and singing along at the top of our lungs. And the cast recording of RENT was the soundtrack of some of my favorite days in college.

But I think there’s also something more than just nostalgia happening here. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that I think there’s something special about this medium – specifically that it gave birth to something totally unique: the mixtape.

LOOK! A mixtape even plays some sort of part in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie! I think that means the lowly mixtape is officially mounting a comeback!!!

Okay, yes, I am getting a little too excited. And yes, I also know that you can make a playlist of songs on Spotify and other similar music services and it serves the same function as the mixtape… in theory. But let’s get real. A playlist – no matter how carefully curated – takes a few clicks of the mouse and then it’s available to one or one thousand people with no additional work on your part.

Making a mixtape on the other hand is, quite frankly, a pain in the ass. Cue up the song. Press play and record, but give it enough time to start rolling or else it cuts off the beginning. Go back and try again and you end up erasing the end of the previous song.

But here’s the thing, when you’re finished you’ve created something that’s one of a kind. It’s a musical snapshot of a certain moment, when these songs meant something to you – and to the person you were giving the tape to. You can’t go back and take a song out because you suddenly realize that perhaps you don’t want to be known as the person who included “Funky Cold Medina” on your BEST SONGS EVAH!! mixtape.

Anyway, all this brings us to my book, (DON’T YOU) FORGET ABOUT ME. Mixtapes play a very big part in the story because of their ability to capture a moment. And the songs from the mixtapes also act as chapter headers for scenes that flashback to the past. If I could, I’d make a mixtape for every single person who buys the book so that they can listen while they read along. But that’s not practical for a whole lots of reasons – one of those being that most people don’t even have a way to play cassette tapes anymore (this was actually true of me too, until I recently bought a used tape recorder on ebay).

So, this is the best I can do right now: a picture of the mixtape I made for all of you (and I truly did record all the listed songs onto the tape. The sound quality is… less than stellar, but that’s what makes it truly feel homemade).

(Don't You) Forget About Me mixtape by Kate Karyus Quinn A (Don't You) Forget About Me Mixtape
A (Don't You) Forget About Me Mixtape
A (Don't You) Forget About Me Mixtape

And then, so everyone can actually hear the songs on the mixtape, I also have a (grumble, sigh) digital playlist so everyone can listen (and if you’re like me – sing too) along. The last official song from the book is “Don’t Stop Believin” but then I also added a handful of bonus songs that were more mood music that I listened to while writing.



About (Don’t You) Forget About Me

Welcome to Gardnerville.

A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies . . . of natural causes.

But there’s a price to pay for paradise. Every four years, the strange power that fuels the town takes its toll and a teenager commits a horrible crime—a crime that sends other teens to their graves. And every four years, the killer is locked up in the reformatory, only to emerge years later, a shell of their former self.

Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was taken away after leading her classmates onto the trestle bridge and commanding them to jump to their deaths. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, waiting for Piper to be released. But the secrets Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to truly get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.

Get a copy! ––>