Today I'd like to welcome my guest blogger, author Heather Parker!
Heather Parker has won prizes in several literary competitions and many of her stories and articles have been published in popular magazines including The People's Friend, The Weekly News and The New Writer. Her first novel, Middlewitch has been published in ebook format and can be downloaded at Amazon Kindle and most other online bookstores. Middlewitch is about a young witch named Alicia, who faces down all manner of evil in order to protect the sleepy little hamlet town she has been assigned to! To learn more about Heather and her writing, visit her website HERE.
Give A Witch A Bad Name…
by Heather Parker
by Heather Parker
When I began writing a novel about a young witch, I soon realized what a terrible press these women have had in the media over the years. This is unfair when you think about it. What have they ever done to deserve it? They’re not out binge drinking and fighting on the streets every night, now are they? They’re at home, cultivating interesting herbs in their garden and looking after their goat. Of course, I admit you always get the odd bad apple and those girls at Salem have a lot to answer for. But anyone would think witches were responsible for global climate change, the way the critics go on.
I blame William Shakespeare. He obviously spotted three old lasses sharing a recipe over their cooking pot one night - and hey presto! Macbeth was born. That wouldn’t have been so bad if his characters had been attractive. But where do all these writers get the idea that witches are ugly old crones? It is unfair and insulting to the young and attractive women who ply their trade today. How must they feel when they open a harmless picture book and discover the gruesome creatures created by the Brothers Grimm? If their witches weren’t luring children into ovens, they were stuffing poison apples down folks’ throats or threatening to cut out their hearts. Most witches like children and would never eat them. This hurtful and inaccurate image can’t do much for a girl’s reputation – or self-esteem.
Fortunately, as times moved on, things began to improve a little. There was still the infamous Mist over Pendle by Robert Neill, but the women in this book weren’t real witches so it doesn’t really count. Probably just sad, misguided old ladies overlooked by the state and struggling to survive on their pension.
In the sixties, the notorious Hammer Horror films continued to portray witches as evil, but at least they were glamorous and seductive with it. And then Elizabeth Montgomery hit the small screen, with her enchanting portrayal of Samantha in Bewitched. Whilst it could be argued this series didn’t always treat the craft with the academic respect it deserved, it was still an awful lot more fun than Macbeth.
It is only in the last few years that we have become truly enlightened. TV and film producers have taken a more liberal approach and accepted that the vast majority of those practicing the craft are white witches. (Some even go under professional names such as aromatherapists and IT consultants).
The profession may at last be taken seriously and perhaps offered as an option at college or university. After all, it’s got to be more use than Philosophy.
And with the advent of programs such as Buffy, co-starring the beautiful Tara, our images of witches have been changed forever. Sabrina the Teenage Witch is yet another fine example.
These characters are much better role models for modern young witches – and have even made it possible for some to consider ‘coming out’ at last.
After all, who wouldn’t want to look like Nicole Kidman in the film version of Bewitched? Even if that does takes more than a little bit of magic…
Being a witch isn't always easy. She's managed to learn love potions with only one real mistake, and that was hardly her fault. She can whip up a mean math retention spell, but it's not all cake and roses. Take dating, for instance. As Alicia Meldrew puts it, how does one even bring it up? -Hobbies? Yes, I usually practice the black arts on Mondays, Thursdays and every other weekend. You?
Alicia is a young witch with a mission: to protect the citizens of Middlewitch, a sleepy little hamlet consisting mostly of a church, a senior citizen's home, a pub, and two constables. You'd think such a small town wouldn't have problems with dark forces, but you'd be wrong. With the help of her cats, Domino and Tango, the Women's Institute, and even the Vicar, Alicia faces down demons, vampires, satanists, an American...and even the City.
She finally has a boyfriend, but is she really able to learn to share her life with James? And if she can, is she strong enough to learn to get on with his mother?
Read the First Chapter of Middlewitch HERE.