I was lucky enough to get an interview with Deborah Harkness, the author of the upcoming novel A Discovery of Witches. On top of that, we’re also having another fantastic book giveaway! Yay books! So check out the interview, and if you like what you read then enter in for your chance to win A Discovery of Witches (details below).
Can you tell us about your book A Discovery of Witches?
It’s the story of a lost alchemical manuscript—Ashmole 782—and its discovery. The historian who finds the book is Diana Bishop, a descendant of the first woman executed for witchcraft in Salem. When Diana calls up the bewitched manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, her discovery attracts the interest of all sorts of creatures, including a brilliant scientist named Matthew Clairmont who also happens to be a long-lived vampire. A Discovery of Witches follows their efforts to understand Ashmole 782 and to figure out why so many are drawn to this mysterious book.
How does A Discovery of Witches differ from other novels about vampires?
I honestly don’t know because I don’t get a chance to read much vampire fiction anymore! Most of my reading for the past two decades has been non-fiction.
Where did you get the idea for A Discovery of Witches?
I was in Mexico and started thinking about the current craze for vampires. They’re on TV, in the movies, and of course, in fiction. My story literally began when I wondered “if there really are vampires, what do they do for a living?” and “what strange stories do humans tell themselves to explain these vampires away?” I didn’t believe they could all be working as detectives and in hospitals! I bought a notebook in the hotel gift shop to record my ideas and, despite those initial questions about vampires, the first thing I wrote was the name of the witch in the story, “Diana Bishop.”
Ok, here’s a question I ask all folks I interview: I’ve noticed that most of the authors I follow on Twitter talk about the music they’re currently writing to. What kind of setting/atmosphere do you find most conducive to your writing?
I write at a big desk, in a comfortable chair, with a cup of tea and a constant supply of music that evokes particular moods related to the development of the plot, the mental and emotional state of the characters, or the setting. My working playlist for A Discovery of Witches was nearly 150 songs. I arranged them in sequential order to coincide with the story as it unfolded, and I wrote along to my playlist every day.
If vampires were discovered to exist today, do you think our society would accept them or try to destroy them?
From a historical standpoint, human beings don’t have a good track record when it comes to accepting difference. So I’m not optimistic that we would make an exception for vampires.
Who’s your favorite fictitious vampire (other than your own)?
If we’re talking about books, then I was always very fond of Louis de Pointe du Lac introduced in Anne Rice’s marvelous Interview with the Vampire.
What is your favorite vampire book/movie/show?
In addition to Interview with the Vampire, I am a big fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I enjoyed the sense of humor in the show, and Spike is probably my all-time favorite vampire character.
Tell our readers why they should check out your book – in 3 words: (bwahaha)
Matthew de Clermont
And finally, what other projects are you currently working on? Any goodies we should watch out for?
I’m currently working on the sequel to A Discovery of Witches—but I’m sworn to secrecy about it, so you’ll just have to stay tuned!
Find Deborah here:
To enter into the giveaway all you have to do is send an email titled “A Discovery of Witches ” to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me why you want the book. On February 3, 2011 I will pick one winner for a copy of A Discovery of Witches (US and Canadian residents only).
Added note: the winner has 48 hours to respond, if they don’t within that time then the book goes to someone else, so make sure to check your email on the 3rd!