Oscar/Osky/Osc was originally called Maxwell/Maxie/Max. I changed it to sound more Nordic but I secretly still think of him as Max. I kept writing it into the manuscript even after I’d changed his name.
Blaise was originally called Blayze but I changed it to the proper French spelling to make his heritage clearer.
The name Erin literally means ‘from Ireland.’
The name Tristan means ‘sad, full of tumult/melancholy.’
‘Bilde’ is not a real American art college. It means ‘image’ in Norwegian.
Daisies symbolise innocence.
As a city girl, I learned more about horticulture during this writing process than I ever expected to learn in a lifetime, even down to studying what plants were native and could grow in California so it was as accurate as possible. I’m sure experts will still find a few errors but I did have to take some artistic license for the meadow to be as beautiful as it is.
I’m English, and a major word nerd at that, so it was almost physically painful for me to have to write words with their Americanised spellings (no letter U, and ‘Z’s where ‘S’s should be.) Still, I thought it was important for authenticity to follow the language of the place where it’s set. It was so stressful though!
I actually wrote the prologue for this a year before I started writing the novel itself. I explain the circumstances that led to writing the book at the end of the novel and here, but essentially I wrote the words in my head at the time down and then walked away from it and didn’t return until I decided to get serious about going after my dreams of becoming an author.
The book is loaded with symbolism and not all of it is obvious. The novel is very carefully crafted and not many things are by accident, even down to the colours of things. I wanted readers to see or uncover something new every time they read the novel. I know working out what does and doesn’t have meaning is part of the fun of reading so I don’t want to spoil it by telling you where the symbolism is hidden. Also, once you put a book out there into the world, it no longer belongs to you. You may see meaning where I didn’t intend for any to be, and that’s part of the beauty of it. Happy hunting!