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Gerry Huntman’s Guardian of the Sky Realms Playlist

Gerry Huntman shared an amazing music video playlist to go with his new middle-grade fantasy, Guardian of the Sky Realms. You can enter a giveaway for a $50 giftcard.

Maree Webster—an “almost-emo” from the western suburbs of Sydney—hates school, has few friends, and is obsessed with angels and fallen angel stories. Life is boring until she decides to steal a famous painting from a small art gallery that has been haunting her dreams: swirling reds, grays and oranges of barely discernible winged figures. There, she meets a stranger who claims to know her and stumbles into a world where cities float in the sky, and daemons roam the barren, magma-spewing crags of the land far below. And all is not well—Maree is turning into something she loves but at the same time, fears. Most fearful of all is the prospect of losing her identity—what makes her Maree, and more importantly, what makes her human. Guardian of the Sky Realms takes the reader on a journey through exotic fantasy lands, as well as across the globe, from Sydney to Paris, from the Himalayas to Manhattan. At its heart, it is a novel about transformation.

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Gerry Huntman: Guardian of the Sky Realms is a middle grade book, and to be frank, wasn’t written with any songs blaring (or otherwise) around me during the process, and certainly with none in mind. As an adult, most of the songs that I like are associated with my age group, and have been for decades, and so there aren’t many songs that I can think of that closely parallel my book and young teenage tastes in music. Having said this, there are elements of my book that can, in isolation, be represented by songs, even if it is rather oblique. So here’s the list, and the reasons why:

This isn’t the original group who wrote and sang the song, but it’s my favourite version. Several important races of beings are immortal in my book, including the main protagonists, and so, superficially, this song can refer to that. But there’s more to this song. It is about a kind of sad nostalgia about memories of days gone by, and wanting to cling on to them. Maree, in my story, struggles with the thought that her memories will be erased, or diminish into paper-thin recollection.
Probably one of my all-time favourite songs. It is a love song, about love extending beyond death, and is heavy with pathos. Loss is assuaged, but becomes, strangely, more poignant. Death is an important concept in my Book, although treated much more lightly than this song, and there is an important scene in Guardian when someone dies (but not forever) and complete and unadulterated love is expressed by a friend. The feelings I got writing this, and rereading this, are similar to this song’s.
I’m cheating a bit here. This is an intentionally obscure reference to a theme that will run into book 2 coming out next year. The song is superficially about a woman who is getting older and is trying to hold onto what she cherished the most, her youth and beauty. The lyrics progressively reveal her self delusion and ultimately it is a tragic story. Holding onto something that was lost or was diminished. To a lesser extent, this is a driving force with Mastema, the arch foe of Maree in Guardian of the Sky Realms.
The Wizard – Uriah Heep
My first three picks were rather sombre, so how about a song that really is a fantasy story in a song. Many of them can be traced to the heavy metal era (Hawkwind was strong with this), and this is one of the best. When I am in the mood and listen to this song, it instills as much wonder in me as reading a good fantasy (or writing one).
Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo
When I imagine Maree flying in the Sky Realms, overlooking the scorched plains far below, or when she is souring over farmlands in Eastern Australia, or over the Himalayas, I see, hear and feel a freedom and uplifting of spirit in her. This is what I get when I listen to this amazing concert piece by the legendary Spanish composer Rodrigo. 
This song is about separation from a loved one, and while Vanessa is probably singing about a romantic love, Maree in my book is separated by way more than a thousand miles from her friends, and more importantly, her mother. This is what hurts her the most. This is integral to Maree’s challenges.
[Another ‘thousand’ in the title!] This song was used in a YA movie, and is certainly a great love song. Love it, melodic, and Perri has an angelic voice. Love is a concept that appears quite a bit in my book, but it is pitched for a middle grade audience. Nevertheless, it is there and drives important plot lines. Maree’s return to the Sky Realms is the dream of her lost ‘heart share’, and while he didn’t have to wait a thousand years for her, it probably felt that way for him. There is another Guardian of the Sky Realms in this story who has become bitter because her heart-share hasn’t returned to her yet, and she too would think a millennium has already passed by. 
And my last. The content of the song isn’t directly associated with Guardian of the Sky Realms, but I like the ‘fighter’ concept of the song, and what Maree becomes in the book. 

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