Posts in blog tour/interview
Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle: The Atmosphere, Music, and Images

Hey y'all!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.

The Book

Novel: Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle | GoodreadsRelease Date: August 8, 2017Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books (PRH)Format: ARCSource: Publisher

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...

The Author

Moïra Fowley-Doyle is half-French, half-Irish and lives in Dublin with her husband, two daughters and two cats. Moïra's French half likes red wine and dark books in which everybody dies. Her Irish half likes tea and happy endings.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.
You can follow her:her website

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.

The Music

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 foreverIt's just caught inside the cushions of your couchAnd when you find itYou'll have such a nice surpriseNothing's ever lost foreverIt's just hiding in the recess of your mindAnd when you need itIt 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.

What do y'all think?

Wintersong Tour: Excerpt

Hey y’all!It’s Grace here, and today I’m talking about a book I've been so intrigued by lately. We happen to see a lot of paranormal and fantasy books (not so much in recent years) that deal with the same crop of creatures. This one's a little offbeat though: goblins.Without further ado…

The Book

Novel: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones | GoodreadsRelease Date: February 7, 2017Publisher: Thomas Dunne

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

The Author

S. Jae-Jones (called JJ) is an artist, an adrenaline junkie, and erstwhile editrix. When not obsessing over books, she can be found jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, co-hosting the Pub(lishing) Crawl podcast, or playing dress-up. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she now lives in North Carolina, as well as many other places on the internet, including Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, and her blog.

The Excerpt

Isn't that lovely? The language kills me - and I love anything with sinister fairytale vibes. Griffin Teen has gone above and beyond with the extra materials they've included also - like this glossary. I love the branding.

What do y'all think?

 

We Are Still Tornadoes Tour: Excerpt

wearestilltornadoes_bloggerbanner-1-1-1-1

Hey y'all!

It’s Grace here, and today I’m talking about a book I positively adore. I freaked out when it came in the mail. Like the characters, I love writing letters and so I always enjoy seeing authors' takes on correspondences. It's always handled differently.Now that I'm in college, I've been hunting for YA picks that deal with the transition to college life rather than high school. Plus, this one was pitched a la Eleanor and Park also, so I had to pick it up.Without further ado...

The Book

we-are-still-tornadoesNovel: We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen | GoodreadsRelease Date: November 1, 2016Publisher: St. Martin's GriffinFormat: HardcoverSource: Publisher

Growing up across the street from each other, Scott and Cath have been best friends their entire lives. Cath would help Scott with his English homework, he would make her mix tapes (it's the 80's after all), and any fight they had would be forgotten over TV and cookies. But now they've graduated high school and Cath is off to college while Scott is at home pursuing his musical dreams.During their first year apart, Scott and Cath's letters help them understand heartache, annoying roommates, family drama and the pressure to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives. And through it all, they realize that the only person they want to turn to is each other. But does that mean they should be more than friends? The only thing that's clear is that change is an inescapable part of growing up. And the friends who help us navigate it share an unshakable bond.This funny yet deeply moving book--set to an awesome 80's soundtrack--captures all the beautiful confusion and emotional intensity we find on the verge of adulthood...and first love.

The Authors

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-11-54-52-amMICHAEL KUN lives in Los Angeles, California, with his wife Amy and their daughter Paige. He is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University and the University Of Virginia School Of Law. He is a partner in Epstein Becker & Green, P.C., specializing in labor and employment law. He is the author of The Locklear Letters and You Poor Monster, among other works of fiction and non-fiction.susan-stevens-mullen_credit-anne-lord-photographyWe Are Still Tornadoes is SUSAN MULLEN’S first novel and first collaboration with Michael.  She is a graduate of Duke University, where she studied English literature, and the University Of Virginia School Of Law.  She practices law and lives in Northern Virginia.  Sue has been married to her law school classmate Kevin Mullen for 25 years, and they have two daughters.

More Info

Michael KunWe Are Still Tornadoes

The Excerpt

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-12-02-36-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-31-at-12-02-45-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-31-at-12-02-56-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-31-at-12-03-07-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-31-at-12-03-14-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-31-at-12-03-22-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-31-at-12-03-29-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-31-at-12-03-38-pm

What do y'all think?

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna Marie McLemore Tour: Excerpt

Hey y'all!It's Grace here, and today I'm talking about the first book I've read in my time at school - the book that kept me up until 2 A.M. reading obsessively in our common room. Legitimately dropped everything for this book, and I couldn't be more grateful.Y'all know my love for Anna-Marie McLemore. When I first heard about The Weight of Feathers over a year ago (I attempted to hunt it down at BEA 2015), I knew I had to have it. She writes magical realism so lusciously, in a way that feels like a fairytale. Plus, McLemore makes diversity a priority, so her books reverberate.When the Moon Was Ours surpassed my expectations, and I couldn't be more thrilled to share it with y'all. Without further ado...

The Book

when-the-moon-was-ours-new_coverrevealNovel: When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore | GoodreadsRelease Date: October 4, 2016Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (SMP/Macmillan)Format: ARCSource: NetGalley (Publisher)

When the Moon Was Ours follows two characters through a story that has multicultural elements and magical realism, but also has central LGBT themes—a transgender boy, the best friend he’s falling in love with, and both of them deciding how they want to define themselves.To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town.But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.

With that loveliness, I can also tell you that When the Moon Was Ours was just longlisted for the National Book Award! So deserved. I'm reviewing this on the blog this week! I have so many aspects of it I can't wait to discuss, and I'll definitely use all the space that I can on here. Gorgeous, gorgeous book.

The Author

credit by J. ElliottWebsite | TwitterAnna-Marie McLemore was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, raised in the same town as the world's largest wisteria vine, and taught by her family to hear la llorona in the Santa Ana winds. Her debut novel THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS was a Junior Library Guild Selection, a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults book, and a finalist for the William C. Morris Debut Award. Her second novel, WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS, will be released on October 4, 2016, and WILD BEAUTY is forthcoming in 2017.

The Excerpt

This book is a work of art. To show y'all for sure, I've been given the opportunity to share an excerpt with y'all. (Also, this is a little thing but I do love the typeface and the way When the Moon Was Ours is laid out.)Without further ado...screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-5-38-46-pmscreen-shot-2016-09-28-at-5-38-54-pmscreen-shot-2016-09-28-at-5-39-02-pmscreen-shot-2016-09-28-at-5-39-11-pm

What do y'all think?

An Interview with Moïra Fowley-Doyle: The Accident Season

Hey y’all!I've been reaching out to Moïra Fowley-Doyle, author of The Accident Season which was one of my favorite books of 2015, for a while and we discussed doing an interview. I'm thrilled to finally get to host her after months of obsessing over her book! I participated in the blog tour and made an atmospheric mood board - and shared my thoughts on the book!

The Books

the accident seasonNovel: The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle | Goodreads | My ReviewRelease Date: August 18, 2015Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books (Penguin)Format: ARCSource: Publisher

Every October, Cara and her family become inexplicably accident-prone. Some years it’s bad, like the season when her father died, and some years it’s just a lot of cuts and scrapes. They know what they need to do—stock up on bandages and painkillers, cover sharp table edges with padding, banish knives to locked drawers, switch off electrical items. They buckle up, they batten down.But this accident season—when Cara; her ex-stepbrother, Sam; and her best friend, Bea, are seventeen—none of that will make a difference.Because Cara is starting to ask questions. And the answers were never meant to be found.A haunting, untethered, addictive read that perfectly captures that time in our lives when our hearts crack open and the raw secrets of our true selves burst forth—whether we are ready or not.

The Author

moira(PS: You can follow her on Twitter!)Moïra Fowley-Doyle is half-French, half-Irish and lives in Dublin with her husband, their young daughter and their old cat. Moïra's French half likes red wine and dark books in which everybody dies. Her Irish half likes tea and happy endings.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.

The Interview

How did you go about structuring or writing magical realism? Did it come naturally to you or did you have to skate a line between too contemporary or fantastical?Magic realism is my preferred method of storytelling and I think that’s because it’s the closest to the way I think – when I was younger even my diaries tended towards the dreamy and not-quite-real. I’ve always loved the idea of the everyday being secretly extraordinary, of truth being subjective and how sometimes even in real life the details can blur to make a better story.The book always fell somewhere between the contemporary and the fantastical, but I had to do a good bit of work on balancing the dreamy mood of the book with the actual story. The first draft of The Accident Season was heavy on the dreaminess and light on pretty much everything else. With the base of the book being the slippiness between fantasy and reality, the subsequent drafts were about getting it to make some kind of sense. I’ve discovered that this is just how I write – the first draft of my new book was pretty much the same and the second draft was all about finding a story inside the dreamy creepy chaos. Actually, maybe that should be my writing manifesto: finding a story inside the dreamy creepy chaos of life.What's your writing process like?I start with snippets and details and half-formed thoughts – a doll on a mouse trap, tarot cards and pencil cases, a secrets booth in the school canteen – then I sit down to write and see what comes out. I don’t plot or plan any more than that which means that most of the work happens in revisions. The first draft is a mess of ideas and images and is basically just the characters introducing themselves and telling me their story. It’s an organic sort of process that can cause a bit of anxiety when the plot’s stuck or details aren’t working and I have no idea where it’s going to go – or, frequently, how the book’s going to end – but it’s also pretty exciting. One of my favourite parts of writing is when it finally clicks and half a chapter appears out of nowhere that somehow manages to tie everything together. It always feels a little like magic.Which character do you connect most to within THE ACCIDENT SEASON? I think there’s a lot of me (or a lot of teenage me) in all the characters. I ended up being surprised by how drawn I was to Cara’s mother while writing – maybe because somewhere around draft 6 of the book I became a mother myself. It’s difficult not to identify with that obsessive need to protect, when you’re caring for your own tiny baby. While I think I understood Cara most (which is understandable – I did give her the voice of the book), I am probably more Bea-ish than I like to admit.What do you hope readers get from the novel?I have two answers to this question and the first is the most true. I hope that readers get from The Accident Season the same sense of connection I get from a book I love: that little blue blink of recognition – the one that makes you underline a passage, the one that makes you understand from experience what makes a character tick, the one that makes you almost believe this book was written specifically for you. Failing that, I hope readers get an enjoyable few hours’ read.What have you been reading lately? I’m currently reading Palimpsest by Catherynne M Valente and it’s dizzying and gorgeous so far. I also just finished Hannah Moskowitz’s A History of Glitter and Blood which I can’t stop thinking about. It’s wonderful and clever and strange and so beautifully written and has the best unreliable narrator I think I’ve ever read. I’m also re-reading The Bell Jar because I haven’t read it since I was 15 and I’ve been revisiting a lot of Sylvia Plath’s poetry and remembering how much I love the way she plays with language.Can you tell us about any projects you might have in the works?I’m working on my second novel at the moment, which is another standalone, and similarly magic-realistic (magic-realism-y? I really should find the word for it) to The Accident Season. It’s about lost things in the same way that The Accident Season was about accidents, which means it’s not really about lost things but mostly about friendship and tattoos and strong alcohol and trying to outrun the past. I can’t say too much about it just yet but it should be published early next year and I’m really excited about it.

Thanks so much Moïra! What do y'all think?