In Stephen King’s book, On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft, he talks about filtering out distractions and creating your own universe while writing. King said he likes to work to loud music -- hard-rock stuff like AC/DC, Guns ‘n Roses and Metallica and how music is another way of “shutting the door.” Quentin Tarantino also spoke about creating the atmosphere – how he’ll write for a while and then find the appropriate song to keep him in the mood. For me, music has always been part of the process. I’m a huge Lalo Schifrin fan. For those of you that don’t know who Lalo is, let me spell it out in two words: Mission Impossible. But, knowing Lalo only as “the guy that did Mission Impossible” is like only knowing Edgar Allen Poe for “The Raven.” Lalo wrote one of the best soundtracks to the film Bullitt starring Steve McQueen. He also wrote the soundtrack to Dirty Harry with Clint Eastwood. He made guys like Eastwood and McQueen ultra-cool. The Argentinean-born Lalo Schifrin injected South-American sensibility into jazz-- big bands and brass with Latin percussion. I had the rare opportunity to meet Lalo Schifrin while I worked at Borders—also met and interviewed Elmer Bernstein before he passed away, but that is another story. And when speaking of jazz musicians, let’s not forget Quincy Jones. I have Quincy on my iPod and still get a kick out of the themes from In the Heat of the Night and The Anderson Tapes. When you trace it back though, I think we have Henry Mancini to thank for jazzing up our detectives. Mancini created the classic score to Peter Gunn. As Andre Previn once noted, prior to Mancini in the 50’s, “the only time you heard jazz in a movie was when somebody steals a car.” But Mancini, along with producer Blake Edwards, took that, then seminal step towards a hip score (check out the track Fallout from Peter Gunn). I realize those scores were from different eras, however I can’t recollect a compelling score in recent years. Help me out. Today’s detectives have lost their jazz. We typically go the “various artists,” way now to keep everybody happy in the audience. I still want big brass with my detectives. At any rate, music is tantamount to the creative process. I have eclectic tastes, but jazz, blues and anything with soul keeps me cool-headed and in the mood while I’m writing.