(Warning, Spoilers Below!)

This is the place that I will be dropping most of the extras that I have for my published works (currently Oak and Ivy and Wednesday’s Book). Eventually this space will become substantially prettier, or we will find a way to put these tidbits on each of their individual pages but hide them from people looking to avoid spoilers. Until then, though, this is where it’s at!

Welcome!

Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

The Music of Oak and Ivy

Music played a really big role in creating the overall feel of Oak and Ivy. The writing time was extremely compact – the first draft was finished in 23 days, and so one of the ways that I kept that mood going was through music. I also had the added challenge of largely writing this book between the hours of 7 and 11:30 at night, which means I was tired, and sometimes discouraged. Having an external contributor to mood and theme was extremely valuable, and for me, created a specific sound and feel for the book.

The overall feel that I was going for – as listening through the playlist could probably tell you – was largely creepy, but also by turns sad and epic. On the playlist, since I largely had it on shuffle during my writing time I don’t have them in any particular order, but I’m going to highlight three songs in particular, because of their significance to the plot, and Margot’s story especially. The link to the playlist can be found at the bottom of the page.

O&I

Summertime Sadness by Lana Del Rey

This song felt like a bolt of lightning. One of the conflicts in Oak and Ivy is that Margot is absolutely dead set on not believing that fairies are real, and there is a building burden of evidence that she is wrong. The problem that I ran into writing this progression was she didn’t really have a good reason to hold to that belief through the entire course of the story until the end.

And then came Bill. He came up in the very first chapter, but I really had no idea who he was. There was just this short passage: “Swamped with the health situations of Mom and Bill, and then Mom, and then Bill, I’d been teetering on the edge of buying a one-way ticket to Tibet” (Oak and Ivy, Isert pg 3). But I knew that I’d hit on something. In the very earliest drafts, her mother had been very present, overbearing, and the negative influence, but that wasn’t the picture that I was getting here. I was finding a deep seated sadness, and tiredness in Margot’s soul that I hadn’t really anticipated.

And that’s when I decided to kill Margot’s parents. Mrs. Knight was immediately obvious, because Margot was very close to her. Bill was a little bit more difficult to decide. In fact, up until the time that I wrote the first draft of the Halloween Chapter, I was almost convinced that he was alive somewhere. It was only when I wrote their confrontation in Margot’s mind prison that I knew that he couldn’t possibly be alive and it have the same impact.

Summertime Sadness is really the theme between Margot and her parents. There’s this wistfulness, but overall deep sadness that she loves her parents so much, and life just didn’t turn out the way that any of them had planned, forever changed by choices that Margot doesn’t even know about.

The part that really sticks out to me, and the stanzas that really hold that theme are these:

“Think I’ll miss you forever
Like the stars miss the sun in the morning sky
Later’s better than never
Even if you’re gone, I’m gonna drive (drive), drive

I got that summertime, summertime sadness
Su-su-summertime, summertime sadness
Got that summertime, summertime sadness
Oh, oh-oh, oh-oh

Kiss me hard before you go
Summertime sadness
I just wanted you to know
That baby, you the best”

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Rick Nowels / Elizabeth Grant
Summertime Sadness lyrics © R Rated Music, Universal Music Works

Give it a listen. I think you’ll enjoy it.

O&I

Hurricane by Tommee Profit (feat. Fleurie)

Since a lot of this book revolves around Margot’s relationship with her dad, this was a really important song for me. The Daily Listening released an article about this song that really articulated how I felt about it, and why it was so special to me. Tina Roumeliotis says,

In a world where mental health is often talked about yet still holds a stigma over those who suffer from depression and/or anxiety, “Hurricane” depicts what it’s like to bottle your feelings until you’re no longer able, thus the hurricane ensues. “We hold it in the most when we’re wearing thin.”

The stage of finally being able to let someone in is a powerful one yet we still question the motives of others. We wonder if letting someone in will blow up in or face, sending right back to square one.

Roumeliotis, Tina. The Daily Listening. August 4, 2017
https://www.thedailylistening.com/listen-fleurie-hurricane/

When I think of Margot and Bill, I think of a daughter and father that want to be close, but Margot knows that can never happen without one or both of them self destructing. When Bill takes his own life before the beginning of Oak and Ivy, Margot feels a keen sense of terrible vindication, but also of wishing that things had been able to go differently. That is the hurricane that drives not only her dogged lack of belief in faeries, but also enables Matron to imprison Margot in the thrall.

Hurricane is the song that I hear during that last exchange with Bill, where she tells him how much she loves him and misses him. It’s the musical embodiment of her releasing of her hurricane, and how she’s able to set herself free and move forward.

The lyrics that really speak to their relationship for me are;

“It’s all we know, all we know, the hurricane
Falling slow, falling slow in the pouring rain
It’s all we know, all we know, the hurricane
Falling slow, falling slow in the pouring rain
Watch it go, watch it go, we stay the same
And I don’t know, I don’t know how it can change
Watch it go, watch it go, we stay the same
And I don’t know, I don’t know how it can change
And I don’t know, I don’t know how it can change
It’s all we know, all we know, the hurricane”

https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/fleurie/hurricane.html

O&I

Champion by Tommee Profitt (feat. Nicole Serrano)

One of my favorite parts of Margot’s personality is her sheer tenacity and bravery. Because I actually had an outline for Oak and Ivy, I was a little bit worried that it would be stale, because there wasn’t going to be a lot of exploration, and I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to keep it new and exciting for myself.

I shouldn’t have worried. Margot flew off the page in a swirl of blonde determination, and I enjoyed and was constantly in awe of how true to herself she was and what she knew was right. That meant that when when the chips were down, and she was convinced of the danger that Tam was in, there wasn’t going to be much that would stand in the way of her and making sure that Matron was no longer a threat. Even though Matron is a cold hearted killer, Margot is a force to be reckoned with in her own right.

I found this song where I normally find my songs, on Pandora. From the first sound of the enormous bell, I was sold, and it only got better from there. There’s not much more to be said, except for the song’s bridge and chorus:

“There’s a burning inside that’s brighter than this fire
I’m more than a survivor, more than a survivor
More than a survivor

Watch me fight like a warrior
Watch me rise up like a champion
I’m coming for you (I’m the champion)
I’m coming for you (I’m the champion)
Knock me down, I’ll be back for more
Nothing can stop me, I’m the champion
I’ve been waiting for you
I’ve been waiting for you”

https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/tommeeprofitt/champion.html

O&I

Music always has had an enormous impact on my writing. I hope you enjoy this “soundtrack” to Oak and Ivy! Onwards and Upwards!

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBAr1BgogvXmgyYBIvr9jAVUm2Rra2-lR