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Monday, September 7, 2009

Interview with Carolyn MacCullough, Author of Once a Witch


Today I am thrilled to welcome Carolyn MacCullough, who stopped by to talk about her exciting upcoming novel, Once a Witch. Carolyn MacCullough received her MFA in creative writing from the New School and is the author of three previous young adult novels. She lives with her husband in Brooklyn, and you can visit her online at carolynmaccullough.com. Once a Witch releases September 14, 2009.

In the book, Once a Witch, seventeen year old Tamsin Greene’s magic powers haven’t shown up yet, even though she was supposed to be the most talented witch in her family. Is there a special significance in Tamsin’s name? Did you base aspects of her personality on anyone you know?

I actually happen to love the name Tamsin, but my character hates it! I feel that she’s her own character pretty much, but I do have two older sisters and Tamsin has a habit of comparing herself (unfavorably) to her perfect older sister, Rowena—so I think I definitely drew on my own experience there!

Can you give readers a little teaser about Once a Witch or any insider scoop into the “treasure hunt through time” that Tamsin embarks upon?

She spontaneously agrees to help a mysterious professor from NYU find a lost family heirloom—a clock. However, the clock doesn’t seem to exist in the present day. It does, however, exist, in the past—in the 19th century. The problem is—how to get back there? And once she does get back there, her actions in the past have dire consequences in the future…

How did Once a Witch come to be from a tiny spark to publication? Do you remember the first words you wrote for the novel, and are they still in the book today?

Yes, they are still in the book today! They are Tamsin’s first words “I was born on the night of Samhain.” As for how the story started: One April, I decided to become a runner (this resolution lasted all of 2 weeks) and so, I started running through brownstone Brooklyn. You should know that I hate exercise—all kinds—and running quickly proved to be no exception. Anyway, to distract myself I started studying all the beautiful brownstones as I gasped my way past them and there was one in particular that had a little gargoyle-like statute in the front. I used to wonder what kinds of stories he would tell he could talk. Then I started thinking wouldn’t it be cool to have a power like that—to make inanimate objects talk? Then I started thinking of who could do that—what kind of character, etc. And then I started hearing Tamsin’s voice, all about how she didn’t have any kind of power at all. Or so she thought….

On your website, you’ve posted some really interesting facts and misconceptions that have evolved throughout the ages regarding witches. Can you tell us about a couple of the more shocking or surprising items you discovered in your research?

I love the one about the last witch trial in Britain in 1944. When I read that I thought, 1944? They were still trying women as witches only 60-some years ago? I was relieved to discover that the defendant, Jane Yorke, didn’t suffer the fate of earlier convicted witches in England—a hanging.

In addition to being a writer, you have taught creative writing and composition classes, as well as English as a Second Language. How do you manage to find time to write, spend time with your family and teach?

Er….good question. I’m about to have a baby, too—just to throw a little more fun into the mix! No, seriously, it’s all about setting (and actually meeting) deadlines. And lots of strong coffee.

You have written popular young adult novels such as Falling Through Darkness and Stealing Henry. What type of feedback do you get from readers and students who have enjoyed your novels? Can you share with us the most positive comment you’ve ever received?

I love when readers ask me what happens next to one of my characters. They particularly ask me that about Savannah from Stealing Henry. That means I’ve done my job right and created a character that readers care about and think about after the story is finished.

Once a Witch releases on September 14th 2009. Will the book be a stand alone novel or are there plans for more in a series of novels?

I am working on the sequel right now—tentatively titled Always a Witch. There’s more time travel, danger, Talents, and of course, romance!

Thank You Carolyn for taking the time to stop by!

Once a Witch Synopsis-
Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin's magic never showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search—and the stranger—will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all. This is a spellbinding display of storytelling that will exhilarate, enthrall, and thoroughly enchant.
You can read my review of Once a Witch HERE.

42 comments:

Juju from Tales of Whimsy said...

Great interview. I can't wait to read this.

...MY NAME IS ELENI AND I AM A BOOKAHOLIC... said...

Nice interview, this book look really good!

Dani. said...

This book looks good. I am dying to read it.

Great interview. I especially like the part where she clarifies misconception about witches. With all the fantasy interpretations on mystical creatures, I really like it when an author sets the record straight! :)

Debs Desk said...

Great interview. I cant wait to read this book.
Thanks

Michelle said...

Great interview! I had no idea that as late as WWII, women were still being tried as witches. To say that witches have come a long way is definitely an understatement! This book is definitely going on my TBR wish list!

Leslie said...

omg this was great! i abs loved the fun fact about her website :D

cait045 said...

Great interview!!!!

jpetroroy said...

I loved the running story!
Great interview!

Wendy said...

Love the interview! I'm so looking forward to read Once a Witch (I love the cover!)

Brenda said...

Great interview I would love to read it. If I could be a witch I would like to be able to read minds!

dancealert at aol dot com

Brenda said...

I posted this giveaway on my blog dancealertreads.blogspot.com
Am a follower!
dancealert at aol dot com

Liz said...

Looks like such a great book! Great Interview :D

Sara said...

This book sounds so amazing! I really like the story about running and seeing the gargoyle in the brownstone. I'm a total slacker when it comes to working out, but it does go to show that inspiration comes in all different ways!

Bianca said...

Ooh wicked! I didn't know Once A Witch has a sequel in the makes! I can't wait to read them!!

DeNiSe MaDnEsS said...

Great interview I think many of us have that problem having to live in the shadow of our older sisters !!!

Denise

Miss Remmers said...

This is a great interview! Thank you! :)

Jessica Kennedy said...

Time traveling sounds cool. I haven't read too many books with that in it.

I've never read this author. It sounds like a fun read!

Jennifer said...

Fantastic interview! I was not aware of this author until now and her novel sounds fascinating.

Zombie Girrrl said...

Ooh, the time travel aspect sounds fantastic! Great interview!

Pixie said...

Great Interview, I am adding this to my TBR pile.

Megan said...

This looks like an awesome book. Magic and time travel sound very interesting! Can't wait to read it. Great interview!

♥Kayla♥ said...

wooh, can't wait. i love when authors care enough to have interviews. :) i love reading books about magic! and witches! looks great!

Fantastic Book Review said...

Can't wait to read the sequel! I enjoyed Once a Witch! Great Interview!

ladystorm said...

great interview, very informative. This book sounds very interesting.

Stormi

donnas said...

Great interview. Really made me want to read this book soon.

pirate penguin said...

Oh wow! She teaches ESL too? that's awesome! (I want to do that as well!) I can't wait for this book :)

Emilee said...

It sounds almost like Nancy Holder's Witch trilogy. Definitely excited for this one!

Melissa said...

Great interview. I cannot wait to read the book.

melissa(at)gingerhigh(dot)com

The_Book_Queen said...

Wonderful interview, I can't wait to read this book! It sounds so interesting, and the author sounds nice. Loved the intereview! :D

Enjoy,
TBQ

Jessy said...

Sounds good!! Tamsin was a character in L.J. Smith's Dark Visions.

Casey said...

Can't wait to read this book. And there's going to be a sequel?! Very exciting. Great interview.

jtcallaway said...

I have always been curious about witches! I will definately read this one! Thanks for the interview with the author!

~The Book Pixie said...

The part about the witch trial in England was interesting. I can't believe that was in 1944. Great interview. I'm looking forward to her book.

~Briana

MUM said...

Such great questions and informative answers. Lovely interview. I enjoyed reading it.

Maire

YA_RockStarlette said...

This book seems amazing!
Great interview
-Haley

CherylS22 said...

I enjoyed the interview. I really like the name Tamsin & that's partly what drew me to the book.

Paradox said...

Loved the interview! Once A Witch sounds like a lot of fun and I'll definitely be reading it! I love books about witches!

TheBookShopaholic said...

I love all author interviews.It's nice to get to know the authors more.

bookbutterflyangel said...

This sounds like such an interesting book. I can't wait to read it!

Alexa said...

I'm dying to read this book! I love witches!

Tasmin said...

I love the name Tamsin... well, mostly 'cause it's so close to my name! I've read exactly one book with my name in it. It's not a common name.

Cassandra said...

Women being burned 60 years ago. I cringe too, Carolyn. Horrible.