Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Blog Tour: The Witch's Blood by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr

 I was so excited to be asked if I wanted to be a part of the blog tour for The Witch's Blood that I jumped at the chance! The last of the trilogy, The Witch's Blood came out on the 8th March, and you should definitely go and buy it.

My review of The Witch's Blood can be found HERE, and I asked Katharine and Elizabeth to write about what books inspired them to write The Witch's Kiss trilogy! But first, an excerpt of the book:

        Denise flung an arm out, pointing at Merry. ‘Ignoring orders, and going after that no-good brother of hers.’ She spat on the ground. ‘You’re no true witch. You never have been: you’re a freak, you and your brother both. How much dark magic did you have to use to break open the point of intersection like this? What did Ronan promise you?’
        ‘Promise me?’ Out of the corner of her eye, Merry could see Mrs Knox creeping closer to Denise. ‘He nearly destroyed my entire family!’
        ‘I wish he had.’ Denise muttered a spell, forcing a second witch who had been trying to approach her to fall back. ‘The whole lot of you together are worth nothing compared to my Flo...’
        ‘Flo was my friend. I miss her too.’
        Denise screamed with rage. ‘I’m going to make sure the Stewards destroy you, Meredith Cooper. I’m going to watch as they chain you up and strip out your power!’ She raised her hands. ‘And as for your brother –’
        It was like someone had switched off the volume: the witch’s mouth was still moving, but no sound was coming out. The fury and hatred on her face were replaced by shock, then realisation, then fear. Denise put one hand to her neck, her eyes wide.
        Merry walked forward until she was standing in front of Denise. ‘Nobody threatens my brother’. Some corner of Merry’s brain was amazed at how quiet, how steady her own voice was. ‘Nobody is going to hurt him ever again. Do you understand’

The lines above are from about halfway through The Witch’s Blood, the final instalment in The Witch’s Kiss Trilogy. After everything that’s happened in the previous two and a half books, particularly to big brother Leo, Merry is determined to protect her family –whatever the cost. This brings her into conflict with members of her coven; some have started to resent her abilities, others are simply frightened by them. And Merry doesn’t see why she should play by the coven’s rules, especially since they told her she couldn’t rescue Leo from the clutches of an insane male witch. But when Tillingham – Merry and Leo’s home town – is once again threatened by an ancient evil, both the coven and Merry realise they need to work together to save the people they love...

We had a lot of fun writing The Witch’s Kiss trilogy. Although the story develops dramatically across the three books, it started out as a gender-bent retelling of Sleeping Beauty. We have a sleeping prince instead of a sleeping princess, and a teenage witch instead of Prince Charming. And, unlike the Disney cartoon, there’s not a diminutive fairy in sight: our focus is for the most part on twenty-first century witches. Here are some of the books we read growing up that have inspired our own particular brand of magic...

 The Dark Is Rising Series – Susan Cooper. 

Anyone who follows us will know just how much we love Susan Cooper’s five book series, in particular the second book (also called The Dark is Rising). In this book our hero, Will (the seventh son of a seventh son), finds out that he is an Old One, a magical and immortal being destined to serve the Light in its fight against the Dark. Neither of us will ever forget the moment of Will’s magical awakening, on a cold midwinter’s morning. Cooper’s writing and world-building is rich and evocative. We love how she blends Arthurian legend, Celtic and Norse mythology with life in 1960s/70s rural England. In our own books, we weave together modern day living in a quiet Surrey town with the history and mythology of the Anglo-Saxons. Although The Dark is Rising doesn’t deal specifically with witchcraft, Cooper’s writing has greatly influenced our own.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum. 

The Wicked Witch of the West had a huge impact on us as children. We loved Dorothy, together with her loyal band of companions (Scarecrow, Tin Woodman Man and Cowardly Lion) but our imaginations were really struck by the Wicked Witch, or at least by her 1939 film incarnation. In the book, the Wicked Witch is portrayed as a decrepit old woman with three pigtails and an eye patch. In the film, she is not only gloriously green, but also has all the paraphernalia that we now associate with the archetypal witch: pointy black hat, black dress, black boots and a broomstick. Either way, in both versions she’s extremely unpleasant and, fortunately for Dorothy, water-soluble. The scene where she melts after Dorothy throws a bucket of water at her is unforgettable. There are a couple of witches in The Witch’s Kiss trilogy who are just as mean: thankfully they also come to suitably horrible endings...

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis. 

We were enthralled by the entire Chronicles of Narnia growing up, but in particular by this book. Everything about it is pure magic, from when the Pevensie children find their way into Narnia through the back of a wardrobe, to the moment they are crowned kings and queens at Cair Paravel. Narnia itself is wondrous: a land of talking animals and mythical creatures, Aslan the King (who just happens to be a lion) and, best part for us, the self-proclaimed Queen of Narnia – Jadis (aka, The White Witch). Jadis’s rule over Narnia is tyrannical; not only has she plunged the country into perpetual winter, she squashes any potential uprising by turning her opponents to stone. For a ten-year-old child, it doesn’t get much darker/better than that. Sure, we were glad when Jadis finally got her comeuppance, but we were also totally transfixed by her. And a tiny bit of her has found its way into The Witch’s Kiss trilogy. More than one of our characters has the ability to turn people into things they really shouldn’t be turned into...

The Discworld Novels – Terry Pratchett.

15849484As we grew up we embraced a more positive portrayal of witchcraft in Terry Pratchett’s humorous fantasy series. Formidable witch Granny Weatherwax has a recurring/starring role throughout the series (Equal Rites, Wyrd Sisters, Lords and Ladies, etc). Certainly, on first acquaintance, Granny looks like your average witch – plain black dress, pointy black hat and so on – but she’s also wart-free, handsome and has piercing blue eyes. More significantly, with her fellow witches Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick, she forms a sisterhood of compassionate, powerful and thoroughly independent women: they bow to no-one, particularly not men, and definitely not wizards. Far from being a sinister figure, Granny is determined always to do the ‘right’ thing – not necessarily the same as the ‘nice’ thing. She’s also a leader in her community, a healer and a part-time mid-wife. Discovering Granny was a bit of a revelation for us. She is respectable and responsible, but underestimate her at your own cost: just because she doesn’t choose to turn people into frogs doesn’t mean she can’t. We’ve definitely channelled Granny and her coven in our own depiction of powerful, moral witches; Gran and Roshni in particular aren’t going to put up with any rubbish from the various modern-day wizards who show up in our books. Merry is quite similar to Granny too: although both have considerable power, they do ultimately choose to use their abilities for the good of others.

Thank you to Rachel for being part of our blog tour!

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