Please join me in welcoming Devin O’Branagan, Suzanne Hayes Campbell, Keri Lake, K.L. Schwengel, and Krista Walsh on their tour for their Anthology, Witch Hunt, Of the Blood. It is a stirring prequel to Devin’s novel, Witch Hunt. First some details, but stick around at the end for a quick interview with each author. I’m really enjoying this anthology. The stories are touching and the writing superb.
Five novellas based on Devin O’Branagan’s bestselling novel, Witch Hunt!
Each author was given the choice of who they wrote about and I wanted to know what drew each author to their character. Their answers are below.
When I was a child, I learned about the role the British witches played in preventing the Nazis from invading England, and I always wanted to write a novel about it. Unfortunately, I was sidetracked by other writing projects. When the idea for this anthology arose, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to tell the story via Vivian, the young English witch brought to America during World War II to marry into the Hawthorne family.
Bridget grabbed my attention because of the strength she showed in the original Witch Hunt. Only twelve years old, she carried the responsibilities of a household on her shoulders, focused on survival not only for herself, but for a four-year-old brother who couldn’t understand the tragedies going on around them. I knew the scars would go deep, and was interested in how she’d cope with them as an adult.
That Rebekah came in and sort of took over the story was a surprise to me as I wrote, but the relationship between the two women became one of my favourites. They were both damaged, but how they each dealt with their demons was unique. The characterization was fun to explore.
The time period is what drew me to Miranda’s character. I’ve always had an interest in pandemic flu and writing her just seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine the supernatural with science. The state of the world back then also dictated her personality. As there weren’t many female physicians at the time, I imagined those who persevered through medical school were strong and unwavering. At the same time, her family secret also gave her somewhat of a (societal) vulnerability, that I think, made for a more complex character. I enjoyed writing her.
Suzanne Hayes Campbell:
I was intrigued by Prissy for two reasons. One was that it would give me a chance to write about a time period that presented a backdrop for rich historical details—a time we think we know, but that is really foreign to us in the modern world. Prissy also presented a huge challenge in that she had suffered terrible persecution and abuse at such an early age, and many years afterward, did not speak. So traumatized that she shut down—her only escape was to a fantasy world. Creating a story around a person so damaged was even more difficult than I first imagined. I had to find a way for her to emerge with enough of her personality intact that she could shine in a new way—and it seemed fitting that she should escape to a world that to us still seems a fantasy—but was quite real.
The original character I wanted to go with was taken by one of the other authors before I put my bid in, so Devin suggested Julia. I have to admit, she wasn’t even on my list. Unlike the other characters in Witch Hunt, there isn’t much background on her. I believe she gets one or two mentions. That proved to be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it meant I had very few constraints, and could take her where I chose (or so I thought). On the other hand, I knew absolutely nothing about her. I have to admit, it took me a while to connect with her. I had to be very quiet and listen, and stop trying to force my ideas on her, because Julia definitely had her own story to tell. And that story took me way outside my comfort zone. But it also drew me in. As she revealed more of her struggles, and I began to realize how incredibly strong and brave she really was, I found myself reluctant to finish her tale because the one thing we knew about Julia from Witch Hunt was how her story ended. I fought that ending, as Julia did. Ultimately, I had to write it, and accept that with each ending comes a new beginning.