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Real Magic Isn’t That Simple

Byrd Nash
Byrd Nash Author Interview

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and counselors to get my kids’ help, and have experienced the frustration of trying to navigate a system that is simply out-of-date with what we know now about how kids learn.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

Author Links: Goodreads/Byrd_Nash | Instagram/Byrd_Nash | Facebook.com/ByrdNashBooks

Magic comes in threes.

Victoria, whose empathic talent reads hidden feelings. Phillipa, with a glamour that bewitches. Liam, who can touch an object to reveal its past.

All are in danger.

Their narcissistic mother, Rachel Rowan, sniffed out secrets and she used her antique shop, Rosemary Thyme, to torment the residents of Grimsby.

But with her death and the murder of her assistant, Vic must discover the truth before the past destroys what remains of her family.

And that hometown boy she dumped way back? He’s in Grimsby and knows the truth about her.

With their magical talents twisted by a traumatic past, the Rowan siblings must face the deadly fallout of blackmail, murder, and magic in this emotional page-turner.

NOTE Trigger warnings for discussion of child abuse and trauma, with one assault scene, and some cursing.

At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

A Spell of Rowans

A Spell of Rowans by [Byrd Nash]

A Spell of Rowans is an emotional thriller following three siblings dealing with the aftermath of their mothers death while also carrying the scars of abuse. Their mother harassed the townsfolk and became the ire of many. When Victoria’s mother dies and her assistant is murdered, Victoria sets out to uncover the truth and protect her family.

Victoria is a standout character in this riveting story. She is the middle-child and had to deal with trauma her entire life. She is easily one of the most compelling characters in the story, but author Byrd Nash’s writing elevates the intrigue of literally all other characters in the story.

Rachel Rowan’s family is a compelling cast to follow. Each character is given a unique twist to make them memorable and some character have surprising depth to them. This murder mystery is imbued with an intriguing sense of magic that permeates the entire story. I was taken in by the thick atmosphere created in this story and how well it captured the small town vibe. But besides the magical realism that is always entertaining, and the beguiling mystery driving this story, this is also a deep and impassioned exploration of family and childhood trauma that feels authentic.

I feel as if the author’s aim was to make readers feel every emotion the characters feel throughout this story because all the characters are emotive and those emotions are often explored in depth and with dramatic effect. These stirring emotional moments are balanced with a bit of magic that feels fun and always interesting.

A Spell of Rowans is an enchanting mystery thriller with a fantastic ending. This is a rousing fantasy novel that deals with some heavy topics but is never weighed down by them and never forgets to entertain the reader first and does a fantastic job of giving readers a good balance of action, intrigue, and drama.

Pages: 390 | ASIN: B0982C72QJ

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