Real Magic Isn’t That Simple
Posted by Literary Titan
A Spell of Rowans follows a family who must deal with the dangerous aftermath of their mother’s death while carrying the scars of their childhood. What were some sources that informed this novel’s development?
Unfortunately, I grew up in a home where physical abuse of my brothers by my father was the norm. While none of my experiences are to the extreme seen in this story, I think the scenes in the book feel very real because of drawing upon that background. I also come from a large family with three brothers and a sister, so writing about sibling experiences, the guilt and shame (“survivor guilt”) is something I know firsthand.
The character of Liam, who presents as learning disabled in the story, is from my experiences of having two grown sons, both with ADHD. My oldest had many problems in public school because of the administration not understanding how to handle his learning disability. I’ve worked with doctors, teachers, principals, and counselors to get my kids’ help, and have experienced the frustration of trying to navigate a system that is simply out-of-date with what we know now about how kids learn.
I’ve also donated my time to several non-profits that are about early childhood development and working towards child abuse prevention.
On a completely different note, I’ve worked as a reporter covering government meetings, schools, and crime, so have lived in a lot of small towns, exactly like Grimsby. The streets, the police force, and the history of Grimsby are pulled from these life experiences.
What were some ideas that were important for you to personify in your characters?
It was really important to me for the sibling connection between Phillipa (the oldest), Victoria (our protagonist), and Liam (the youngest “baby” of the family) to feel real. I wanted their interaction to be something the reader would go “oh yeah, that’s exactly how my siblings would act.” Their connection to each other, almost knowing what the other needs, but also being defensive about past events, was really important to me to get right.
Phillipa, as the oldest, was the one who broke away first, and is successful, but at what cost to herself? Victoria, perhaps has the most realistic perspective of both parents. She is caught between guilt for leaving, but also knowing that she had no other choice but to save herself. Liam, the one left behind, is the least functional adult (as we classify it), and has his lack of self-worth and self-destructive traits to deal with.
Despite all of their differences, all three still feel a strong family bond.
How did you balance magic and its use throughout the story to keep it believable?
A Spell of Rowans is in a contemporary setting and I knew I wanted the magic to be something they could use every day, but not be a cure-all, miracle worker.
I did not want the magic to be something you would see in a television series like Charmed or Sabrina. As I keep telling my husband, there will be no “wave the magic wand and the cupcakes dance.” Magic was going to be gritty and problematic, but for the characters who had it and the ones who loved them.
Phillipa has a talent for making people immediately like her – charisma. Something you see in some television and movie star actors. She has leveraged this to make a successful career as a realtor.
Meanwhile, Victoria, as an empath, can sense other people’s emotions. As a character, I wanted to showcase someone who could know another person from the inside-out, but was also rather oblivious to her own emotions. I wanted to write about an empath that, maybe because of her knowledge, had to fight against getting involved with people in order to save her own sanity.
Liam’s psychometry, the ability to read objects, not only makes him appear strange to outsiders, but was the talent most twisted to evil purposes by his mother.
I wanted the magic to be something that was used every day and was an essential part of the personality of each character.
Magic also had to have strict limits and not be something that solved the character’s problems or revealed the mystery.
This is a pet peeve of mine, when magic acts as the deux de machina. I also call this issue the K-9 problem from the robotic dog in Doctor Who that always came in at the last minute to save everyone from the corner the writer had painted them into.
At one point in the story (no spoiler!), a spell to reveal their mother’s killer doesn’t go as expected. Real magic isn’t that simple and never will be.
What is the next book that you are working on, and when will it be available?
I’ve got several projects in the works right now. One is the last book in my College Fae series called Storm of Songs. This will wrap up the story about my fae dryad attending an European university alongside human students. I hope to have that out in 2022, but it is still very much in the first draft stage.
I’m also working on a new series about a lady detective where the heroine is a Ghost-Talker, someone who can speak with the dead. It will be high fantasy, set in a mythical land similar to the early 1900’s Europe.
The best way to know about my projects is to join my newsletter https://byrdnash.com/wp_quiz/what-reader/ (you also get a free book!). Or join the private Fan group I have on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/261465228565349/ as I announce a lot of projects under development and time schedules there. Also, those followers get the first chance to be a Beta readers or ARCS of my books.
Free books, behind-the-scenes, and new reads at ByrdNash.com
About Literary TitanThe Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.
Posted on September 1, 2021, in Interviews and tagged A Spell of Rowans, author, author interview, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, Byrd Nash, crime fiction, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, murder mystery, mystery, nook, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, story, supernatural, suspense, thriller, urban fantasy, writer, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.
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