Thank you Melissa for including Eliza’s Shadow in There Are Witches In The Air! I am excited to share a bit about the magical elements of Eliza’s Shadow with your readers.
I have always loved everything about witches. Because of all the supernatural creatures, witches are the only ones we know truly exist. Historically, witches were women who understood how to safely deliver a baby and how to harness the power of the earth to heal sick people. They were wise women who were suspicious to those who did not understand the origin of their power. That power was always shrouded in mystery, whispered from generation to generation, secreted even by those burned on a stake. And that is just what we know about witches.
In Eliza’s Shadow, I asked the question, if magic could exist in our modern, everyday lives, what would it look like? The main characters, Eliza and Ren, are essentially normal teenagers with normal teenage feelings and problems. They are characters a reader can relate to. I wanted my readers to believe that the magical aspects of Eliza and Ren’s world could exist too.
To create a world where magic was believable, I had to do a lot of research. I weaved together threads of real religious and cultural beliefs, historical facts, folklore, and science, then added a dash of imagination.
I am from Charlotte, N.C. and the history and folklore of the South have always intrigued me. I pulled heavily from Southern folklore, folk medicine, Voodoo, and the cultural beliefs of the Gullah people to create much of the magical elements of Eliza’s life in her hometown of Moco, Georgia. (Moco, incidentally, is the Gullah word for magic.)
I researched ancient Greek and Egyptian mythology to define the elements of good and evil and the rules of magic that are Eliza and Ren’s reality. One of my favorite creations in the book is the Sithygrif (without spoiling anything) I will just say that its name comes from the Greek words for whisper (psithyros) and puzzle (grifos).
I also did quite a bit of research on the power of plants, their uses, their behaviors and misbehaviors. You can trust that all of the ingredients of the spells in Eliza’s Shadow were included for good reason!
The tenets of magic in Eliza’s Shadow are probably best described as branches on a great big old tree. One branch is the magic that is learned from the Primer, the first book of magic a new witch receives. The Primer prescribes lessons based upon a witch’s innate talents and needs. Another branch encompasses Herbology, Spells, and Casting, all skills that must be learned from an older, more seasoned witch. A third branch is the physical and mental discipline of creating magic from the inborn talents a witch is born with. It requires patience, stamina, bravery and above all, practice. All of the branches of the tree are unique but they are fed from the same roots.
Just like all things in life, for Eliza and Ren, magic, is not a panacea for all of their problems. It is both a gift and curse that comes with great responsibility. It exposes them to danger and it makes them dangerous. It separates them from others but also creates bonds that run deep. It takes them on an incredible adventure. An adventure, you don’t want to miss!
Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: May 26th 2012
Size: 332 pages
Eliza Gowan’s past has come back to hunt her. Since her mother’s mysterious disappearance, Eliza has enjoyed a quiet life under the care of her aunt in the sleepy town of Port Rune. But the moment magnetic Ren Alden appears in her high school classroom, Eliza is thrust into the exciting world of magic and the path of danger. Menaced by an otherworldly enemy, Eliza embarks on a quest to solve the mysteries of her past and end the hunt for good.
Ren laughed. “What are you doing? Just sit still and focus, why don’t you?” He urged impatiently.
I pressed my crossed ankles together and my arms to my sides. “Ok, ok. I’m ready,” I stammered.
I forced deep measured breaths until the cold air stilled the nervous bubbles bobbing around my head. My hands stretched around my knees and I flexed my fingers imagining the flame leaping from the tips. I turned inward imagining the spark growing inside of me. My mind’s eye examined the small dot of electricity and watched it glow in the caverns of my mind.
Run! I commanded.
I followed the little spark as it hopped from one nerve to the next, racing down the length of my arm and felt it, hot and anxious to perform. Then something strong and sure told me the spark was ready. Without a conscious effort, my arm lifted from my side and my wrist snapped.
My eyes shot open. A small ball of light glowed bright against the darkness. I glanced up to find Ren’s giddy grin.
We sat for several moments in reverent silence before Ren snatched the wriggling little light from my palm as easily as a frog snatches an insect.
He chuckled and tossed it above our heads. The small light bounced in the air like a yo-yo before settling suspended above our heads.
“Wow! How’d you do that?” I exclaimed.
“Clean flames will do just about anything you want them to,” he said.
“Can I touch it again?” I asked tentatively.
Ren shrugged. “Sure, it’s your flame,” he said and sank back against the cluster of pipes, a pleased smile lingering on his lips.
I reached into the air and plucked the tiny blaze from its perch. I held the flame in my hand admiring its dance.
“It’s hot,” I said wincing.
Ren inched toward me and slid his hand beneath mine. His palm was soft against my knuckles. Then his fingers closed around my wrist and he pulled my hand toward his lowered face. My fingertips grazed the scruff of his chin sending a tingle up my arm. Our eyes met across the glowing expanse of my palm.
“Even the most magical things can burn,” he said tensely, holding my gaze.
My cheeks flushed hot under his intense stare.
“Only… if you let them,” I responded, carefully controlling my breath.
“Easier said than done,” he said with a sigh.
I blew softly across my palm. The flame flickered and disappeared into a wisp of smoke.
Catherine has been kind enough to offer up a Signed Print Copy of Eliza's Shadow to one lucky winner!! The Contest is US/CAN only! Answer her question in the comments below and then fill out the rafflecopter to win:)
Catherine's Question: If you could have one magical talent, what would it be?
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