AUTHOR Matt Haig is collaborating with former Razorlight and We Are Scientists musician and songwriter Andy Burrows on the album Reasons To Stay Alive.

The pair's friendship blossomed after they “met” on Twitter, whereupon they have spent the past year passing ideas to and fro to create a collection of songs inspired loosely by Haig’s books, in particular Reasons To Stay Alive, written when he lived in York, and How To Stop Time.

Combining words by Haig with music by Burrows, the album will be released on February1 on Fiction Records, preceded by the single Barcelona, out now. Burrows will bring the project to the concert stage next month with a series of tour dates that takes in Leeds Brudenell Social Club on February 15.

The album burst into life over an intense first fortnight, with Burrows in Los Angeles and Haig at home in Hove. Each afternoon, piano parts with the kind of melodies Haig had never envisaged would arrive in his inbox. "As soon as I heard what Andy was doing, I couldn’t have imagined it any other way," says Haig. "He had somehow unlocked the melody inside the words. It was so instantaneous, to have that back and forth. When you write books, it’s not the same, that’s more like the musician-producer relationship. I’ve hated collaborations before!"

Together the pair "spin love stories, travel space and time, celebrate soul-mates and travel unflinchingly into the tenderer recesses of the mind" on an album composed mainly on piano at Burrows' Hackney home and recorded in a barn in Wittersham, Kent, with his long-time producer, Tim Baxter.

"The reason Matt's words rang so true with me is that the darkness of life is so important to filter and take on board and put back out, but these songs all have a trim of colour and an optimistic flare."

The track listing comprises A Different Game; Barcelona; Reasons To Stay Alive; Hero; The Story Of Me And You; How To Stop Time; Lucky Song; Parallel Lives; Handle With Care; Tomorrow and Lost In Space, and the album artwork is by photographer Jason Hetherington.