Ruth: I grew up in Lewes, which is a small town on the South coast of England. I loved reading and writing, and was always scribbling from the time I could write (or type). Now I live in London and write two days a week - I have a day job the rest of the time.
Can you describe your book, Witch in Winter, in one sentence?
It's about a girl who accidentally puts a love spell on a boy, and then can't take it off again.
Your spells are inspired by many different sources; how did you decide which to use?
I did a lot of online research and basically cherry picked the elements I liked best - the spells that captured my imagination and which fitted with the plot. Nothing is 100% real though, they are all altered to fit the plot and the practicalities of what Anna could/would have done. Plus I'm not sure I would have felt quite comfortable about including real black magic in the book.
Stories about witches are about as old as mankind itself. Why do you think we are obsessed with the supernatural, even now?
Wow - good question! I suppose they are a way of trying to understand the unexplainable aspects of our world. Even today, with all our scientific knowledge, there is so much we can't explain or control, and the more we discover, the more we find out how little we really know. Perhaps stories about the supernatural are a way of exploring that, and trying to control these elements with our imagination.
What do you like best about being a writer?
One, getting paid for doing something that's basically brilliant FUN. Two, meeting readers. I still can't get over the fact that so many people have read my imaginary friends - they spent so long inside my head and computer.
Do you still find time to read yourself? If so, what books have you read lately that you recommend?
I read a lot but mainly for work (I work with adult literary fiction). However at the moment I'm reading CRACKS by Caroline Green which is just brilliant, it's about a boy (Cal) who finds his whole existence begins, literally, to crumble. And then he wakes up. It's really scary, and Cal is an unforgettable voice. She does "teen boy" just spookily perfectly.
The next part of the Winter Trilogy, Witch in Love, is scheduled to be published in July. Can you maybe give us a little hint at what is in store next for Anna?
Hmm... let me see! Well... Anna is left with some questions unanswered at the end of A Witch in Winter. Where did she get her powers? What exactly do the Ealdwitan want with her? What happened to her mother and why won't her dad talk about it? And, finally, does Seth really, truly love her? In A Witch in Love she sets about trying to find the answers for all these questions, but they aren't always the answers she was hoping for. Plus there's a new enemy watching from the shadows...
Thank you for answering my questions! (:
You're welcome - thanks for having me!
At university I studied English Language and Literature at the University of Manchester, and the course included Old English and Middle English texts. While I was researching A Witch in Winter I found myself returning to them, in particular to Beowulf and Le Morte D’Arthur. Seeds from these mixed with ancient Mesopotamian demons, Voodoo spells, Tudor superstitions and 15th century witch-hunting guides to create the Winter Trilogy.
Now I live in North London in a house full of boys, and I work as a publicist in the day, and a writer by night. A Witch in Winter is my first book.
> Read my review of A Witch in Winter
> Buy A Witch in Winter