Circle of Witches (2012)
by Margaret Frazer
Publication Date: May 19th, 2012
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Today I’m interviewing Magaret Frazer as part of her Circle of Witches blog tour!
A GOTHIC ROMANCE. MISTY MOORS. ANCIENT SECRETS. FORBIDDEN PASSIONS.
Her mother had always been afraid. That’s what Damaris remembered. From the time she was a little girl until the day her mother died, she had seen the fear in her eyes.
But now she understood. Now she was afraid, too.
Young Damaris wanted more than anything to be happy at Thornoak, the ancient manor owned by her aunt and uncle. Adventuring through the wide, open beauty of the Dale in the company of her rambunctious cousins she rediscovered a joy she had thought lost with the death of her parents. And in the deep, storm-tossed eyes of Lauran Ashbrigg she was surprised to find an entirely new emotion.
But even under the warm and inviting sun, Damaris is chilled by the undeniable fact that the family which claims to welcome and love her is hiding truths from her: The truth of the Lady Stone. The truth of the Old Ways. The truth of moon and star and witchcraft.
The truth of her mother’s death.
Has being a writer changed the way you read? Are you more critical of other’s writing? Or have you become more appreciative of it?
Both. I’m more appreciative of books that I can simply relax and enjoy for their strength and their grace and their storytelling, but I’m also become more critical of people whose storytelling suffers because you can tell that they didn’t put their whole soul into it.
But the main problem I have is that when I read anyone’s book I tend to be editing: There should be a comma there; a semi-colon would have been nice. I’ll find myself saying to myself, “Please stop doing that! Just read the book!” But it can be hard to get out of perpetual galley-proofing.
Who do you envision reading Circle of Witches? What kind of reader do you wish to impact the most with your story?
Well, I hope that anyone who reads it will be impacted and drawn in. I’m not someone who tends to categorize by age. But because it’s more of a gothic romance than anything I’ve written before, I’m hoping that younger readers will come to it. Young adult books are filled now with magic and otherworldly action, and I think Circle of Witches offers a different way of looking at those things. An understanding of magic that’s deeper; that’s rooted in the world around us and the way that people relate to each other.
What book of yours should a casual reader start with?
It’s very hard to say because readers are so different. They take different things away from your books. For example, I’ve previously written two series and, ideally, you’d start those series with the first book. But both of my series got stronger (according to reviews) as they went along and new elements developed in them. Do you want royal intrigues? Then you’d want The Maiden’s Tale or The Bastard’s Tale. Do you want something that goes deep into ordinary medieval life, getting a feel for a different way of life and a different approach to living than is familiar now? That would be The Servant’s Tale or the The Reeve’s Tale. Or if you want to go adventuring with traveling players and spies, then there’s the Joliffe series.
But I think Circle of Witches is also a strong choice for new readers. It’s an exciting story, set in a beautiful part of the world (the Yorkshire dales), centered around a heroine who is desperate not to learn the truth of the lies that have surrounded her for her entire life. And I think readers will find it an intriguing problem – most people go seeking the truth, but this is a character who will challenge them in unexpected ways as things go right and things go wrong in her life.
There’s a fire and you can only save one book from your bookshelves. Which one?
Hmm… The Letters and Papers Illustrative of the English Wars in France During the Reign of King Henry VI. Because it would be very hard to get another copy of it!
It’s an unusual choice, but it consists of documents written during the actual time period of the latter part of the Hundred Years War. This is the time period in which many of my other books are set, and it’s fascinating to get actual documents – letters from people, orders being given – so that you know exactly what was going through their minds at a certain time. It’s an excellent way to really get into a specific time period. Which is what I love to do: To get into a different time and a place. It’s a unique, personal look into lives so very different from our own.
There’s a zombie apocalypse. What are you going to do?
I mean, what am I going to do? I can’t run. I can’t fight. I can hide out and then I’ll die. I guess, while I’m hiding out, I’ll read while hoping I’ve got enough food to hold out.
If you had to write a memoir or an autobiography – hopefully not during the zombie apocalypse – what would you title it?
Gone to Earth.
What would it look like?
The physical book itself? Something elegant. A dark blue cover. Plain words. Slightly gothic. Title. My name. Gone to Earth: A Life.
What word do you think you use too much in your writing?
“And.” I’m prone to run-on sentences. [laughs]
What’s the best book you’ve read this year?
I don’t know… I read so many books in so many different areas – for research, for enjoyment, for light pleasure, for exploration into new areas of time and place and thought – that I’m not really sure how to rank them against each other.
I can tell you some authors I’ve been reading in quantity this year: Georgette Hayer. Alan Gordon. Henry James. Edith Wharton. Terry Pratchett.
What question do you wish I had asked?
How about… “Circle of Witches is a departure from your previous books. What do you have planned next?”
All right, go ahead and answer it.
I’m working on a historical novel set in 1483 during the waning days of the Wars of the Roses. It’s heavy on the political intrigue and the romantic personalities of the time. Simultaneously, though, I’m working on a very different book set in the early 1400s set just after the death of King Henry V when the political players were just beginning to draw the lines that would lead to the Wars of the Roses thirty years later. So I’m sort of bookending that conflict at the moment.
If you are intrigued with Magaret’s new book, Circle of Witches, be sure to drop by the other tour stops!