I guess you already know by now that witches my favorite supernatural creatures. I love reading about them, young adult and adult novels as well! So you can't even imagine how happy I was when author Camilla Chafer decided to come by my blog to talk about researching witches! Here's her guest post on it, enjoy!
The whole basis for Illicit Magic started off as a “what if...”. Most of us have heard about the horrific Salem witch trials in 1692 where a large group of people were arrested, and many sentenced, for witchcraft on the flimsiest of grounds. I can’t imagine how terrifying it must be waiting to see if you would be accused, nor how frightening it must be to think your townsfolk are practising witchcraft, perhaps to your detriment. So the idea for Illicit Magic started as: what would a witch hunt be like if it was happening today? Who would be the hunters and why? And what if the witches really were magical?
When it came to researching the Salem events, Wikipedia was – unsurprisingly – a great tool. I explored the events, even down to the names of the accused so I could understand what their accusers thought they were doing, why they were afraid of these so-called witches and the crazy evidence that was put up to support what were often ludicrous accusations - by today’s standards.
I also looked at what defined witchcraft and how I could redefine it for my purposes. A lot of ancient witchcraft seemed to be based on folklore and herbalism – remedies to aid, potions that were supposed to have certain effects (I’d argue many early witches were really herbalists or early medical practitioners who understood the properties of flora and fauna) and so on. Throw in superstition, feelings of ill treatment, a dash of jealousy, and ignorance too, and you’ve got a riot on your hands.
So how does that translate to a modern day witch hunt? For Illicit Magic, I decided to make the witches in my book actually magic, whether that was because they possessed an innate ability to do magical things such as teleportation, telekinesis, control the weather or psychic abilities. But I also took some inspiration from common mythology about witches, so my version of witches also features a type that works with spell craft, a method by which power is channelled through spells.
The witch hunters of my book are very shady characters. Responsible for a series of murders (there’s no sham trial for the witches in my book) they’re terrifying, and while the heroine, Stella, describes them in base terms such as “snatch and grab and burn”, it’s suggested that they’re not averse to using magic to track and trap witches. They’re quite mysterious and who they are and why they are hunting witches is something that will develop in the series.
Thank you so much Camilla for your insightful post!
About the author
Hi, I'm Camilla and I'm the author of Illicit Magic and Unruly Magic, the first two books in the Stella Mayweather Paranormal Series. The series starts with a lonely young woman, Stella, who has been caught up in a terrifying witch hunt and is whisked thousands of miles away to what she thinks is safety to learn her craft. The series is a blend of magic, mystery and romance with a splash of humour - and while the girls really do go all out to save themselves, there's always a hunky guy or two on hand to help them out.
I live in London, UK but I try to travel as often as I can - lately I've been to Paris, all over Denmark, Luxembourg, and several US states. In my day job I'm a journalist and editor so I write for magazines, newspapers and websites throughout the world (my favourite assignment was spending a week riding rollercoasters - if you listen carefuly you can probably still hear me screaming).
About the book
May 1st 2011 by Audacious
More than three hundred years after the most terrifying witch hunts the world has ever known, it's happening again.
Young witch, Stella, has to put her faith in strangers just to stay alive but she might not be any safer in their midst than from the danger she is running from.
There is more than one dark secret in her new family: Étoile’s sister is spoken of in fear and sadness; Marc is supposed to be a powerful witch but is missing his magic; where does the owner of their safe house vanish to every day and why does Evan have the eyes of someone not quite human? There is only one secret that someone will do anything to keep quiet, but whose secret is it and will Stella have to pay the price for silence?
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