This week I am hosting five, count ‘em, five talented authors as part of the Witch Hunt: Of the Blood book blog tour. Following the success of Devin O’Branagan’s original novel Witch Hunt, they have come together to compile an anthology of five novella-length stories to answer some of reader’s remaining questions and to flesh out Devin’s witchy world.
I caught up with them via the ultra-modern medium of email to get a brief inside scoop:
Me: Devin, what was the inspiration for the original Witch Hunt novel, and how did you develop those ideas in your follow up novella, Of The Blood Of Witches?
Devin: I was inspired to write the original Witch Hunt as an exploration of the dangers of religious fanaticism. In my novella Of the Blood of Witches, I further explored that issue via both the witches and their hostility toward Christians because of historical persecutions, and through one of the Christians who reacts with disgust upon discovering the woman he loves is a witch. There is no spirituality within religious fanaticism, which is emotional, judgmental, and self-righteous. It doesn’t matter what one’s religious faith is, if there is hatred, then there is not spirituality.
Me (question put to the other four authors): What aspect of Devin’s writing inspired you to write your novella, and what is the individual spin you’ve put on your story that makes it unique?
K.L. Schwengel: Devin’s tag line sums it up: Art should be fearless. Her approach to writing and to telling her characters’ stories is bold and fearless, and she pulls no punches.
I’m not sure how to answer the second half of this question. I don’t know that I consciously put any kind of spin on my story, outside of my writing voice. I like to keep things tight, and not dive into long descriptions, allowing the reader to fill in the blanks on their own.
Krista Walsh: The subject of the Salem Witch Trials was my first inspiration, but I also appreciated how much Devin included under the surface of the story. Each character was trapped in different ways, which left so much material to work with after her story ended. With the structure I chose for my story, I was able to play with some nightmares and what-if scenarios for Bridget and Rebekah’s characters.
Keri Lake: The women in Devin’s original Witch Hunt novel were strong and nurturing. I found these traits to be most inspirational for Miranda’s character, a physician in 1918. I think what makes The Banishing unique is the science that I’ve weaved into the supernatural.
Suzanne Hayes Campbell: Of all of Devin’s books, I think the characters in Witch Hunt were the most fully realized. That made for exciting reading—each chapter became a time capsule in the story of the persecution of a group of people. While the Hawthorne family of characters in each of the historical chapters were different—juxtaposing them with the struggle of the modern Hawthornes held the story together. It was brilliant—and that inspired me. While my novella is much simpler, dealing with one small set of characters in a specific time period. To some degree I did rely on that family struggle as an underlying thread—but in my story it manifests in a single character’s quest to find herself and her place in a world that betrayed her. If I put a “spin” on it, I suppose it was to give her a crisis of faith—in her heritage, her beliefs, and in herself. Ultimately, she comes to know that everything that matters is the same to every people—just clothed in different costumes.
Well, there you have it: fiction writing based on themes with depth and characters that have compelling personal stories to tell. And now your appetite is whetted, here are some more details from Devin:
You’ve closed the cover on Witch Hunt, but the story isn’t over … yet! I’ve handpicked writers to take up my characters’ stories and explore what happens next.
The anthology begins with my own novella about Hawthorne matriarch, Vivian. Vivian and her fellow British witches work together to prevent a Nazi invasion during World War II. Then there is Colonial maiden, Bridget, who struggles with the guilt of failing her family in Salem, 1692. Her younger sister, Prissy, mysteriously disappears and finds another magical world. Julia, torn by family loyalties, love, and her spiritual quest, pays a huge price to continue the bloodline. And Miranda uses her powers against the great influenza outbreak of 1918—but finds the ultimate foe is prejudice against her kind.
Discover what was left out of Witch Hunt and revisit your favorite characters with these exciting novellas. The story isn’t done until the battle’s lost and won.
This anthology contains novellas by Devin O’Branagan, Suzanne Hayes Campbell, Keri Lake, K.L. Schwengel, and Krista Walsh.
All five authors of the anthology are available for discussion at Devin’s writers’ forum. This is the link to chat with them: Chat With The Authors!
Witch Hunt: Of the Blood is available in both print and eBook formats and may be found at Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords. (Smashwords provides copies compatible with almost all types of eReaders including Sony, Apple, Kobo, etc.) It is also available internationally via Amazon worldwide!
Two of the stories in this anthology are bridges to the upcoming sequel, Witch Hunt: Resistance, which will be released in 2013.
The original Witch Hunt is an international bestseller first published by Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books. It has been translated into German and Turkish and is consistently on the bestseller lists. It is the story of 300+ years in the history of a family of witches, from the time of the Salem trials to a modern-day witch hunt. It begs the question: could it happen again?
Devin O’Branagan can be found at: www.DevinWrites.com. “Art Must Be Fearless!”