It’s Grace here today, over the moon excited to talk to y’all about one of my favorite, favorite writers. Last year, I hosted Moïra Fowley-Doyle on Words Like Silver for her debut novel, The Accident Season, which I loved.
Primarily, her books focus on atmosphere, which is usually my number-one priority. They have this all-consuming autumnal feeling that’s perfect for fall rolling in. They’re also spooky, have rockin’ girl witches, and have characters who I never quite feel like I know. Which is always a good thing.
Her second book, Spellbook of the Lost and Found, comes out today — which I couldn’t be more excited for! Go and buy it if you like Irish bonfires, trinkets, and books to read on stormy nights. I’m currently reading it and fawning over all the aspects that I love. The voice, the setting, the unrelenting tension and eeriness. My review will be out later this week!
Moïra Fowley-Doyle was gracious enough to come on the blog a second time, this time to share a little bit of her inspiration. So without further ado, here’s her latest.
Novel: Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle | Goodreads
Release Date: August 8, 2017
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books (PRH)
The highly anticipated new book from the acclaimed author of The Accident Season is a gorgeous, twisty story about things gone missing, things returned from the past, and a group of teenagers, connected in ways they could never have imagined.
One stormy Irish summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hairclips and jewelry, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something much bigger, something she won’t talk about, and Olive thinks her best friend is slipping away.
Then seductive diary pages written by a girl named Laurel begin to appear all over town. And Olive meets three mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel, and her twin brother, Rowan, secretly squatting in an abandoned housing estate. The trio are wild and alluring, but they seem lost too—and like Rose, they’re holding tight to painful secrets.
When they discover the spellbook, it changes everything. Damp, tattered and ancient, it’s full of hand-inked charms to conjure back things that have been lost. And it just might be their chance to find what they each need to set everything back to rights.
Unless it’s leading them toward things that were never meant to be found…
Moïra spent several years at university studying vampires in young adult fiction before concentrating on writing young adult fiction with no vampires in it whatsoever. She wrote her first novel at the age of eight, when she was told that if she wrote a story about spiders she wouldn’t be afraid of them any more. Moïra is still afraid of spiders, but has never stopped writing stories.
Her image inspiration
When I first read Spellbook of the Lost and Found, I immediately thought of images. It’s a visceral, cinematic book. It paints you pictures — haunting, ethereal, dark images that are both warm and interesting. So I asked Moïra what visually inspired her and she came up with these.
Ironically enough, one of the images refuses to stay put in the grid no matter how I reconfigure and save it. Spellbook of the Lost and Found Images, anyone?
This is what Moïra has to say about them:
I have two Pinterest boards for all of my books. One is private, and has all the same images as the public ones, as well as links to research, people who look vaguely like I imagine my characters, photos of specific places that the places in the books are based on: things I want to have as reference but that I don’t want seen. They’re the backstage area: the ropes and scaffolding. When you read the book all you’re supposed to see is the play.
The mood board I post publicly is a collection of images I’ve found that remind me of the book, that have the same atmosphere, or that represent some of the details I want to remember or incorporate. This board is mostly shrines and teeth and keys, country lanes and bicycles and burning. When I write I tend to build a story up around the characters and the details – the plot itself twists and tangles in whatever way it wants to – so these mood boards are a glimpse at the details.
I love that even when she’s just writing for a blog, she writes with the same flair and magnetism.
Moïra Fowley-Doyle also had a lot to say about the music that inspired her while she was writing. I love all these songs normally, so hearing what she had to say about their influence on her book was lovely.
This may seem like it’s a just playlist of songs with lost and found in the titles but actually it’s mostly about forests and fire. I wanted a mix of songs that were dark and eerie and earthy, but also that would be the kind the girls would dance to around a bonfire at night. I chose a lot of the same artists as I did for the Accident Season playlist (The Black Cat and Whiskey Moon Masquerade Mixtape) because they’re some of my favourites and also because I feel like there is a similar dark, dreamy, folky atmosphere to both my books. But where the music I chose for The Accident Season was all wolves and rivers, the songs for Spellbook of the Lost and Found are all about forests and fire.
That’s why Bonfire by Josh Ritter is the first song: it sets the scene. It’s about keeping the fires burning, it’s about troubled loves, it’s bright but it’ll leave a scar if you’re not careful. Fire by Ingrid Michaelson is more the celebratory side of the bonfire – it’s the song for holding fast and facing the fire together. Lost by Kodaline is another bonfire song – it’s one I can picture Rose and Olive dancing to with their discount vodka and the words written on their arms.
Of the forest songs I chose, James Vincent McMorrow’s Follow You Down to the Red Oak Tree is the best example because it is just the right amount of creepy for a bunch of kids who live in an abandoned housing development on the outskirts of the forest called Oak Road. I Won’t be Found by The Tallest Man on Earth is a forest and field and meadow song, I Found a Way by First Aid Kid is an empty roads in morning song, and they all remind me of the quiet of the country before a storm rolls in.
Most of the songs I picked are for the mood – for the bonfire and the trees and the lost – but every once in a while I pick a song for a character. You’re No God by Laura Marling is for Laurel, who is the only one of her friends to see through the boy they are all infatuated with, to believe he’s not this magical spirit of the forest but just some pretentious guy. (But is she right or are her friends right? I’ll let you read it and decide.) To Belong by Daughter is for Ash, who is arguably the most obsessed and destructive. Florence & the Machine’s haunting St Jude to me is about obsession and destruction and is perfect for three girls who are all in love with a manipulative boy called Jude and of course St Jude is also the patron saint of lost causes. I Must Belong Somewhere is for Olive, who defines herself mostly by the people she (wants to) belong with. Lost Girls is for Hazel and for Rose.
The last song is Lost by Amanda Palmer because it’s about things that go missing but it’s also hopeful and triumphant and I think that’s as good a note as any to end a Playlist of the Lost and Found on:
Nothing’s ever lost forever
It’s just caught inside the cushions of your couch
And when you find it
You’ll have such a nice surprise
Nothing’s ever lost forever
It’s just hiding in the recess of your mind
And when you need it
It will come to you at night
I love a lot of these artists normally so I was thrilled to see them cited as inspiration/capturing the flavor of Spellbook of the Lost and Found. I’d highly recommend this one for anyone looking to curl up with a book that’s searingly moody and magical.