Posted by Literary Titan
The Witching Vault follows Jessica as she is given the responsibility of guarding the Gateway from the occult syndicate who want it. What were some ideas that informed this novels development?
Actually, the original idea was something I’d pitched to a ghostwriting client. In its first iteration, it would have been a spin-off of a different series we’d written together. But they weren’t interested, and so I filed the idea away for later use (and honoring NDAs means I can’t say which series sparked the idea, unfortunately). But as this single thought hung around in my head for a while, I started to see how it could be so much more than the original idea. And I was able to put my own much darker spin on it with a witch who’s also an ex-con. Why in the world would somebody take a job at a magical bank that can think for itself, who everyone wants to get their hands on, unless that person had created the bank themselves? No one, really. But now in the Accessory to Magic series, Winthrop & Dirledge Security Banking has a long history with choosing new owners who literally don’t have another choice. Jessica doesn’t either, because getting any job at all that lasts more than temporary work or that doesn’t really “fit the bill” is so hard for anyone who’s been institutionalized and newly released from prison. Even a witch released from magical prison. And that built Jessica’s entire character and her backstory that I’m still exploring in Book 2, The Cursed Fae.
You’ve created a unique fantasy world filled with odd happenings. How did you balance magic and its use throughout the story to keep it believable?
There’s always a fine line between inundating any form Fantasy work with so much magic that it becomes overdone and still pulling in that line of reality, where the characters struggle even with magic to achieve their goals. Urban Fantasy is a particularly unique genre for this, perfectly suited to balancing magic and its use with believability. Because in most Urban Fantasy settings, there’s a “majority population” of humans, people without magic, who really have no idea magic exists. It’s that idea of the hidden world within our already established world.
Jessica is an incredibly powerful magical (and I won’t give any spoilers as to what type of witch she really is), yet she’s removed half of her own magic in order to keep herself and the people around her safe. To not repeat the same mistakes that landed her in prison in the first place. And despite her powerful magic, she still has to deal with things like providing customer service to aggravating and horrifying clients, trying to keep herself fed when the building’s kitchen is almost completely empty and the bank won’t let her leave to stock up on food, and calling in a magical emergency to 2-2-9 and the Cleaners.
The balance is found in going through all the mundane things of daily life that we all experience in the world, just with an extra touch of magic and intrigue.
What were some ideas that informed the development of the bank and the occult syndicate in this book?
Like I said, the whole idea of a magical bank started as a spark of an idea I pitched to a ghostwriting client. But the fleshing-out of the bank as an actual character – with attitude from the very beginning and later with an ability to actually speak to Jessica in her mind – came purely out of necessity, honestly. The one magical who could have given Jessica answers is wiped off the map shortly after she starts this apprenticeship at the bank. And the idea of leaving Jessica trapped inside the bank with nothing and no one but an immortal lizard to keep her company didn’t sound like a particularly exciting storyline. And the bank had already chosen Jessica as its new owner. Why not make the bank a character as well?
As I’m wrapping up the writing of Book 2 in the series, I’m realizing more and more that Jessica’s relationship with the bank as a sentient entity is incredibly reflective of her. The bank goes through some of the same magical mishaps as Jessica, though on a broader scale and within a sort of “life or death” situation for two entire worlds. Jessica’s magic is at half capacity by her own design, and the bank’s magic starts echoing this dilemma as well. Until she learns to come to terms with who she is and the fact that the mistakes she made in her past as a criminal and a fugitive aren’t tied to who she must become in order to protect the Gateway and keep even more chaos at bay.
Again, this comes down to hiding the extraordinary within the mundane. It’s so exciting to think that the most powerful and crucial portal in this Urban Fantasy world is tucked away within a bank. Yes, a magical bank, but still a daily necessity for humans and magicals. Jessica gets to live in the bank, work in the bank, and work with the bank to protect the Gateway all at the same time. But like with any adventurous Fantasy work, there are always “dark forces” who want to get their hands on what they’re not allowed to touch. If I say any more than that, I’m giving way too many spoilers for the entire series.
This is book one in your Accessory to Magic series. What can readers expect in book two?
In Book 2, readers will discover right alongside Jessica yet again more about who she is, where she came from, and what happened in her past to lead her to where she is now. Fortunately, advanced readers of Book 1 were hooked by the mystery of Jessica’s past, and I’m so excited to be able to bring more things to light about this in Book 2. There’s a handful of key characters who show up in The Cursed Fae to shed a lot more light on who Jessica used to be and what she did, but even they don’t know the full scope of Jessica’s past before she was inducted into a team of magical thieves and criminals. This is part of what Jessica ends up rediscovering herself in Book 2 as well. Because just like she performed a dangerous spell on herself to remove half of her most destructive magic (still keeping it close but refusing to use it), she also paid someone to remove memories she hadn’t realized she was missing. And now they’re starting to come back.
Posted in Interviews
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Posted by Literary Titan
Jessica Northwood is an ex convict looking for a job. With a rough past and in a rough financial state at the moment, she just wants to forget her tainted past, find a legal job and get paid at the end of the day. With little known to her, she takes a job as an apprentice to Tabitha, the owner of Winthrop & Dirledge Security Banking. Although her employer seems crazy at first, Jessica remains open minded and stays focused on keeping her job and getting paid. When tragedy strikes a twist of fate leaves Jessica as the new owner of the bank. This is not your usual bank, and it doesn’t serve the usual customers. Jessica is tasked with the responsibility of protecting this magical facility which has a mind of its own. Jessica has no idea where to begin, but as an apprentice and the new owner she must step up and run this place.
The Witching Vault by Kathrin Hutson is a thrilling fantasy adventure novel set in the dark world of magic and witches. Every chapter is short engaging and deftly crafts a unique and magical world that rises above the chaos that Jessica finds herself in. Each chapter takes you deeper into a magical world that is well thought out and detailed.
Contrary to the belief that magic and witches come with dark undertones, this book has a sharp wit and comic sense to it. Kathrin Hutson colors each chapter with a bit of charm, some effortless humor, and imbues each character with a unique air of coolness. While the characters are many and varied I appreciated how the story stayed linear, never losing focus on the main story arc, making this story much more accessible and easy to consume.
The Witching Vault has created an intricate fantasy world that has set the stage for readers to uncover a much wider world throughout this series. Kathrin Hutson thrusts readers into a magical world filled with dark secrets that Jessica Northwood tackles in entertaining fashion.
Pages: 260 | ASIN: B08HVT4CNR
Tags: adventure, author, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books to read, dark fantasy, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, Kathrin Huston, kindle, kobo, literature, magic, nook, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, romance, story, supernatural, suspense, The Witching Vault, thriller, writer, writing