Welcome to another Monday. This week we’re excited to chat to Lilian Brooks. Her debut novel Dormant Magick, follows Alyssa Bright when she returns to her hometown, Whitby from New York city after her suppressed magic wakes up with devastating results. With a blurb like that, we were thrilled to find a copy on the Enchanted Emporium bookshelf and after reading, we needed to find out more about Lilian herself.
Monday Merry Meet: Lilian Brooks
Willow: Hi, we’re so excited to have an author who writes about fellow witches from our hometown to join us for a chat. Come through to the back of the shop and have a seat. I’ll pop the kettle on. Would you like a cup of Yorkshire tea, herbal teas, coffee or something stronger. I’m experimenting with different flavoured gins or a customer has left a bottle of parsnip wine.
Lilian: Thank you for inviting me – I’m so excited to be here! Wow, your shop is amazing! I think I’ll pass on the parsnip wine for now thanks, but I’d love a cup of coffee. I’m mostly powered by caffeine these days!
Amber: We discovered your book on Instagram. How has your publication journey been? If you did it again, would you change anything?
Lilian: It’s been a lot of fun! I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’ve been really lucky because I’ve connected with a few people that have read the book and enjoyed it, both on Instagram and on Twitter. It’s been fantastic getting such nice feedback from people and hearing from them about their take on the story and the characters.
Willow: Your novel, Dormant Magick is based in Whitby like our humble shop. Why did you choose this location and what is your favourite part of town?
Lilian: I’ve always been fascinated with Whitby. I live nearby, and I visit whenever I get the chance. I’d had an idea in my head for a while about a coven of witches that use magick based around the elements, and with Whitby having such a great supernatural history it seemed like a perfect fit. There are so many beautiful places in Whitby (and most have them have made it into the book!) but I think my favourite place would have to be the beach just below West Cliff at sunset.
Willow: The arrival of the witch hunter in town gave us both nightmares. What came first your characters or plot?
Lilian: Oh no! I’m sorry about that. Alyssa, my main character, arrived more or less fully formed. My initial ideas for her ended up being almost identical to how she is in the book. I had the bare bones of the plot, but it wasn’t until I had the other three members of the coven (Oliver, Izzy and Cameron) worked out that everything really fell into place.
Amber: What is your writing routine?
Lilian: I’m a planner so I usually spend a couple of weeks developing the structure and outline before I put any of the story on paper. I’m a morning person, so when I’m actually writing I like to get an hour or two done before I start my day job.
Willow: There are times when we consider writing about our lives. Do you have any advice for new writers?
Lilian: You should, I’d love to read it! Two pieces of advice really. Firstly, don’t be afraid to write a terrible first draft because every first draft is terrible! And secondly, give yourself more time than you think you’ll need because, in my experience, every step of the process takes about three times longer than expected!
Willow: We are solitary witches but would love to join your quartet of witches in a coven. If you could choose one element for yourself what type of witch would you be?
Lilian: I’ve always been really drawn to water magick. I think it’s the links to dreams and the power of intuition that I find so interesting. You’d be welcome to join the coven any time! Maybe at one of their celebrations on the beach.
Willow: That sounds a fantastic idea, not that we need an excuse to go to the beach. The Enchanted Emporium sells a number of candles in The Wishing Spell range which promise to help your day go smoothly. Which would you choose?
Lilian: Definitely a good night’s sleep! I could do with more of those. Come to think of it, that might have something to do with all the caffeine!
Amber: Maybe you need one of Willow’s sleepy tea blends too. They work a treat when I overdo the caffeine. One popular candle we stock invokes memories of your perfect holiday or day when lit. Where would it take you?
Lilian: That sounds amazing! It’s a bit of a cliché but I would choose my wedding day.
Willow: The Enchanted Emporium is plagued by ghosts and paranormal activity? Have had had any spooky experiences – has it influenced your writing?
Lilian: I actually have had a couple. The cellar of the building that I work in used to be a jail cell and it’s rumoured to be haunted by the ghost of a man who died there. Almost everyone I know who’s been down there has either seen or heard the ghost, or at the very least has picked up on the strange energy of the place. I was down there one day, and I turned around to go through the main door (which is a really thick, heavy door that used to be the prison door so that’s a pretty spooky experience in its own right!) just in time to see a figure vanish through the wall. It has definitely influenced my writing, and I think a version of that particular story might make it into a future book!
Willow: We’ll keep an eye out for it. If the witches could blend a potion to give you a superpower or special ability for 24 hours what would it be and what would you do with it?
Lilian: I would go really old school and traditional and ask for something to be enchanted so that I could use it for flying! I’m quite clumsy though and I’m not entirely sure I’d trust my balance on a broomstick, so maybe a flying armchair would be more practical.
Willow: What book would you add to The Enchanted Emporium bookshelf?
Lilian: You’ve probably got a copy already, but ‘The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue’ by V.E. Schwab is a great read.
Amber: That’s one I need to read. What would you add to Rosa’s box of Romance?
Lilian: ‘The Ex Hex’ by Erin Sterling is a really fun, romantic read.
Amber: We loved that one and will definitely check it’s there. What are you working on currently? Or is it top secret?
Lilian: I’m actually working on the sequel to ‘Dormant Magick’ at the moment. The details are still under wraps, but it’s going to pick up six months after the events in ‘Dormant Magick’ and look at the effect that the revelations have had on the witches in Whitby and in the Scarborough coven. I’m hoping to have it out in the world in time for Mabon in September.
Willow: That’s an ideal time to release a novel and you’ll have to pop back closer to the time. Thanks so much for visiting and here’s a complimentary sachet of sleepy tea for a good night sleep.
Lilian Brooks is a practising pagan, who lives with her partner in a little village in the north of England. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found hiking with her sister, hanging out with her coven, and posting pictures of her cat to social media.
‘Dormant Magick’ is her first book.
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