Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Near Witch: The Exclusive On the Broomstick Interview With Author Victoria Schwab

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children. 

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger-a boy who seems to fade like smoke-appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi's need to know-about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night and about the history of this nameless boy.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab's debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago,  a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won't soon forget.

1. When did you first fall in love with witches?

--I've always loved witches, because of all the supernatural forms, they are the most varied. Witches can be anything, can be anyone. They can be elementals, as in NW, or part of a coven, as in Charmed. They can read from spell books or use charms of us wands, or change the world with only a glance. What's not to love?

2. Is there a place in your past that reminds you of Near or was it someplace you read about?

--The place where Near grew is loosely based on the hills in Northern England. My mom's British, so I've done a bit of traveling in the UK, and there's just something timeless and magical about it. Old magic. The kind that seeps out of the ground.

3. What is your favorite witch in books and movies?

--The sisters from Hocus Pocus, Howl from Howl's Moving Castle, and Prof. MacGonagall from Harry Potter :)

4. I love the fairy tale feel to your story.  Where did the idea for The Near Witch come from?

--The idea came out of two sentences thought up six months apart.

1. The wind on the moors is a tricky thing.
2. There are no strangers in the town of Near.

When I put the two sentences together, I started asking question. The Near Witch came out of those questions.

5. Will there be more tales from Near?

--My next book is the first in a different series, but that's not to say I don't plan to revisit Near ;)

6. What are you currently working on?

--My next book, The Archived, is currently in edits. I'm not supposed to say much about it yet (it doesn't come out for awhile) but it is kind of like Buffy + The Shining + If I Stay + a library, and I'm dreadfully excited about it.

7. What is a favorite Halloween or autumn memory?

--I have this strange obsession with the smell of fall, that natural scent of change and leaves and crisp air. Every year I marvel at this season. It feels like the right time of year for magic. It's not a specific memory so much as an anticipation, each and every year.

8. Lexi and Wren are unforgettable characters. How did they come to life?

--Originally Wren was a very minor character, but as I wrote Lexi, it became clear that her devotion to her little sister was key, so Wren blossomed through the months of revision into a character.

9. How do you structure your writing day and do you outline before you write or let it flow loosely?

--I'm neither a plotter nor a pantser in the strictest sense. When I start a project, I make a list of 5-10 key scenes/moments/plot points, and use those as a guide. It's like connect-the-dots.

10.What is one thing you would like readers to get from your book?

--I get asked this a lot. It's a hard thing, writing a book, in that when it becomes a book, it ceases to be MY book and becomes YOUR book. I simply hope people enjoy it. And I'd rather like it to stay with them when they've put it down, at least for a little while :)

Well, has! Thanks for visiting with us at On the Broomstick and I hope you have a marvelous Halloween!

Now for the giveaway!


  1. i didn't tweet or twitter as i don't own a cell phone, but i entered what i could!

  2. Hey great questions! I really liked the response to the last question!

  3. Oh I really want to read this one Witches are one of my fav. paranormal beings. Unfortunately I can't enter the giveaway (Canadian here ;)) but great interview!

    Xpresso Reads

  4. This book sounds really fabulous! I enjoyed the interview and I'd love to read this book! Thank you!

  5. Sounds like a wonderful story! I would love to read it!