I’m thrilled to be taking part in the Dark Summer Read blog tour, highlighting some amazing new and upcoming releases! I’m really looking forward to YA horror book, THE DEAD HOUSE, and have recently read and enjoyed WITCH HUNTER by Virginia Boecker. As part of the tour I’m interviewing Virginia about the book…
Kate Ormand: Hi Virginia! Thanks so much for stopping by to chat about your wonderful book. Can you share the opening line from WITCH HUNTER?
Virginia Boecker: “I stand at the edge of the crowded square, watching the executioners light the pyres.”
KO: And why is this perfect for your book?
VB: We get a sense of time and place (executioners don’t light pyres in present day Manhattan – though there’s an idea for a book!); we also get a sense of impending doom (those pyres – plural – are definitely not for ‘smores).
KO: What sparked the idea for WITCH HUNTER?
VB: I was living in London at the time, and had just come from Westminster Abbey where I’d spent the morning looking at the tombs of Elizabeth I and Mary I (I’d been reading their biographies and found it poetic how as sisters, they clashed so much in life but now lie side by side in death). I was with my then one-year-old daughter, and was taking her to St. James Park – a reward for spending the morning looking at dusty old crypts.
Walking along the road to get there, the aptly named Storey Gate, I started thinking a lot about those queens. The violent time they lived in, the trials they went through as female rulers, the religion of the time, the politics. The wheels started to turn and at one point I wondered, “What if there was a YA book that touched on all these things? What if it drew from history but wasn’t strictly historical? What if it incorporated magic?”
Things went from there and a few years later I had my first draft of what would eventually become The Witch Hunter. (Incidentally, it was called The Heir. And it was terrible. But that’s another story in and of itself.)
KO: Can you share some of your favourite books featuring witches?
VB: Half Bad by Sally Green! I loved Half Bad, and I’m looking forward to reading Half Wild. Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper. Harry Potter, of course. I’m also really looking forward to Truthwitch by Susan Dennard.
KO: How about TV shows? Who doesn’t love Willow Rosenberg and Sabrina Spellman?!
VB: I’m a huge Buffy fan. Fun fact: I pitched The Witch Hunter as Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets The Tudors, and I still stand by that.
KO: If you could use magic for a day what would you do?
VB: I love to travel, but I don’t love to fly. So I’d love to be able to blink my eyes/snap my fingers/wave a wand and be transported to anywhere on earth. Bonus: minimal carbon footprint!
KO: And to wrap up, can we end with a quote from WITCH HUNTER?
VB: “I’m quiet for a moment, enchanted by the idea of something stealing over you, settling into you, and telling you, with absolute certainty, who you are and what you’re meant to do.”
Thanks so much to Virginia for stopping by today, and to the Books with Bite team for setting it up! Now for the giveaway… The publisher has kindly offered up two copies of WITCH HUNTER. The giveaway is UK only and will run for one week. To enter, subscribe to the Books with Bite newsletter (here) and comment on this post telling us your favourite dark reads! Good luck!
Contest is over. Winners have been contacted. Thank you!
I loved this medieval world of magic and danger. See my review for WITCH HUNTER here.