Advice for New Witches

Writing a novel can take years. The Witches of New York took five. Along the way, I learned a lot of things about the world and those around me, and above all, myself. One of the biggest revelations that came to me while writing this novel was the realization that magic is everywhere. And the more you’re open to it, the more it will present itself to you in ways large and small. In August, I was given the wonderful opportunity to share a night of storytelling at the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts. I was supposed to meet

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when it pains you not to speak

I’m reclaiming the word witch. To do so, I’ve got to take things all the way back to its roots…which are, much like the way we regard the word itself—shadowy, misunderstood and not completely clear. Even renowned scholars of etymology can’t quite agree on how it first sprang up, but they all admit its origins are tantalizingly old, stemming from times and places where those labelled with the word witch were revered rather than reviled. Here are just a few of the earliest meanings to be found in the word’s possible origins: One who bends (like a willow,) one who dances and makes mysterious

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Finishing the hat

I’m thrilled to reveal the cover art for the Knopf Canada edition of The Witches of New York. The wonderful Kelly Hill at Penguin Random House Canada has done a spectacular job with the design and I couldn’t be happier with it! It’s a perfect marriage of history, magic, mystery and the obscure. When we get closer to the publication date (November 1st, 2016) I’ll explain more about the cover’s details, but for now I’ll just say that it holds a few clues and secrets that are tied to the plot. (I can’t tell you how hard it is for me

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inside the golden amber

Hello October! I took the last two Witchy Wednesdays off while I was in New York visiting the World Maker Faire, the Brooklyn Book Fair, my US editor, and all my favourite haunts (Madison Square Park, Central Park, Obscura, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Hayden planetarium, Katz’s Deli, the Morgan Library, etc…) Now I’m back home, where it’s properly autumn, happily settled in a landscape that’s dotted with apple trees, pumpkin patches, turning leaves and wood smoke. I adore all that comes with fall – cool, frosty mornings that beg for kitchen fires and hot porridge, the late harvest

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which witch?

Welcome to Witchy Wednesday! This is the first in a series of posts I’ll be devoting to the topic of witches and witchcraft. I’ve long been a fan of all things “witchy”-crystal balls, incantations, black cats, etc., and as a child, my favourite Halloween costume was “the classic witch.” So, it seems only natural that I’d eventually choose to write a novel inhabited by witches of my own making in all their strange, enchanting glory. While writing The Witches of New York, I gathered heaps of historical accounts and odd tales alongside bits and bobs of practical magic. Not all

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