Hello October! It’s officially spooky season and time to celebrate by meeting with another author who has written about witches, Jessica Thorne. Her book The Water Witch is out now and we can’t wait to chat about it.
Monday Merry Meet: Jessica Thorne
Willow: Jessica, please come in. Pop your umbrella in the stand. It’s fitting that we’re about to chat about your book, The Water Witch and the heavens haven’t stopped raining all day. But the plants love it and it makes people linger for longer in the shop and see more things they like.
Did you find us ok? When they’re too many customers the Emporium gets fed up and starts playing games. It hides the entry to the snicket.
You should dry off soon, the fire is lit and —
Amber: I’ve cast a drying spell, so everyone’s clothes should dry quickly
Willow: Except for Lady Denver’s cashmere coat, which you singed. I apologise for the smell, Jessica, if burning is still in the air.
Amber: How was I supposed to know that spell wasn’t to be used on goats. Your ancestors need to add disclaimers at the bottom of their spells. What can I get you to drink? We have all blends of tea, from Yorkshire to herbal tisanes, coffee, hot chocolate or something stronger?
Jessica: Yorkshire tea is perfect, thank you. The stronger the better. I am Irish, you know.
Willow: The Water Witch is set in Brittany, and we’ve seen some of your videos and photos linked to the location. What made you set it there rather than somewhere more local like, let’s say Robin Hood’s Bay?
Jessica: I have always loved Brittany and spent a lot of my holidays in the region. I love the myths, the legends, the people and everything about it. And we’re fellow Celts, as the Bretons are so fond of saying.
Willow: It is a beautiful place. Your novel is based on a curse, a lost city and love. What came first, the plot or your characters?
Jessica: In this case I think the legend and the setting came first. I just knew I wanted to write about the lost city of Ys. Ari was the first character and everything came out of that combination. But in this case the setting itself is very much a character. I love stories of ancient curses and that sort of twisty way they have of working out or being thwarted.
Amber: We love them too. What has your publication journey been like? If you did it again, would you change anything?
Jessica: I’ve been published since 2007 and under a number of names. I’ve written YA and adult, I’ve been published by a Big Five Publisher and smaller traditional ones, by eFirst, and I’ve self published. I think the main thing is to find the right place for a book which isn’t always where you would expect. There may be one or two things I would do differently but on the whole it has brought me where I am now and I am very happy with that.
Willow: That’s good to know. I have set rituals to start my working day. Do you have a certain writing routine?
Jessica: Not really. When my children were very small I worked full time, so I learned early on to get the writing done whenever and wherever I could, whether that was in the morning, or late at night or in the car waiting for the outside school. I can write anywhere, although I admit I find it very suspicious if its too quiet. I tend to play loud music these days.
Amber: Many of our customers are secret writers. Do you have any advice for those starting out?
Jessica: Tell the story you want to tell, the thing that interests you most. Don’t try to follow trends. It may take a while but you will find a home for that story eventually. Everything in publishing moves in cycles so if you love a genre or subgenre it will probably come around sooner than you think.
Amber: The Enchanted Emporium sells several candles in The Wishing Spell range which promise to help your day go smoothly. Which would you choose?
Jessica picks up the Little Red Hen candle which inspires those around you to help without asking
Jessica: Definitely this one! Please!
Willow: One candle invokes memories of your perfect holiday or day when lit? Where would it take you?
Jessica: Not very far back at all – while researching The Water Witch my husband and I went on a research trip to the locations in the point, in particular the Pointe de Castelmeur. I can’t describe how magical that place is. We had it all to ourselves and sat there for ages, just enjoying the wind and the waves below. There is a particular noise in local legends which is meant to be the gates of Ys shattering and while we were there, I swear, we heard it. Absolutely magical.
Amber: Ghosts and paranormal activity plague the Enchanted Emporium? Have had had any spooky experiences – has it influenced your writing?
Jessica: I once worked in a haunted library, does that count? I love all things ghostly, and yes, it always influences my writing. I believe there are paranormal things all around us and one day we will understand them well enough to drop the “para” bit.
Willow: A haunted library could give a lot of inspiration. If we could blend a potion to give you a special ability for 24 hours, what would it be and what would you do with it?
Jessica: I’d talk to the dead. (but only for 24 hours, right?)
Amber: Yes, talking to them for longer is overrated. What book would you add to The Enchanted Emporium bookshelf?
Jessica: King of Morning, Queen of Day by Ian McDonald – one of the greatest books about Irish Fae I’ve ever read. Dark and scary, generational trauma, and true love.
Willow: What would you add to Rosa’s box of Romance?
Jessica: Playing for Love by Jeevani Charika – a rom com about secret gamers. And handbags.
Willow: Great choices. Finally, what are you working on currently? Or is it top secret?
Jessica: Actually it IS top secret. But after that I’m hoping to get back to writing some epic fantasy romance.
Willow: We can’t wait to see what it is. Thanks for visiting and good luck with your writing.
Jessica Thorne writes romance and fantasy from the heart which often strays into weird and wonderful liminal places. She works in a specialized library of rare & occasionally crazy books.
She writes adult fantasy women’s fiction, which wanders from Space Opera to time travel to epic fantasy, including The Water Witch, The Bookbinder’s Daughter, The Lost Girls of Foxfield Hall, The Queen’s Wing, Mageborn and Nightborn. The Stone’s Heart was nominated for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Fantasy novel of the year in 2020.
The man smiles at the water witch as he opens the city gates and unleashes the wild sea. All will be destroyed. With her last breath the water witch curses him, her lover who has betrayed her and her people. ‘The sea will take all your menfolk. Until the day you save my city, I curse you and yours to drown’.
Present day, France. Archaeologist Ariadne Walker has always loved Brittany’s steep cliffs, crashing waves and endless shifting skies. But she’s left devastated when her fiancé Simon drowns on a dig searching underwater for the lost city of Ys. Local legend says it was destroyed centuries ago: and that the water witch, once the princess of Ys, still drowns the men of this region in revenge…
Escaping the old myths and stories, grieving Ariadne is walking on the heather-strewn cliffs on a stormy night when she’s approached by a mysterious masked figure. As he removes the mask Ariadne’s heart almost stops beating. She sees a glimpse of Simon’s face before he disappears, laughing, into the waves below.
Only Rafael – a local whose family have lived here for centuries – has answers. He says the water witch has doomed Simon’s soul to become her servant, forever wandering the rugged shoreline. She will soon claim Rafael too. The only way to save them both is to find the lost city, where the secret to breaking the curse is hidden…
Thrown into a magical underwater world of lost treasures, ancient promises, and dangerous betrayals, will Ariadne find a way to finally break the curse? Or will the water witch demand another sacrifice?
An absolutely addictive romantic fantasy read filled with passion and mystery, that will sweep you away to the wild coast of northern France. Inspired by real myths and legends from this magical place, The Water Witch is perfect for fans of Luanne G. Smith, River of Shadows and Jennifer L. Armentrout.