Today we are chatting with S. Isabelle, author of The Witchery
Read on for more about her, the book, and a giveaway!
Meet S. Isabelle
S. Isabelle is a reader, writer, and hoarder of books. After earning a Master’s degree in library science, she took that love of reading to youth librarianship. Her short story “Break” was featured in the anthology Foreshadow: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading & Writing YA. The Witchery is her debut young adult novel. When she isn’t throwing books at teenagers, you can find her binge-watching TV shows, drinking heavily-sweetened coffee, or stressing over baseball. She can be found online at sisabellebooks.com.
About the Book: The Witchery
A bewitching debut by S. Isabelle, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Zoraida Córdova, and Maggie Stiefvater!
THE HAUNTING SEASON IS HERE AND THE WOLVES ARE AWAKE.
Haelsford, Florida is a Hellmouth. Or at least, that’s what Logan, a new witch struggling to control her powers, thinks as she arrives to begin the new school year at Mesmortes Coven Academy. She is immediately taken under the wing of the infamous Red Three. Iris, a deathwitch, who wants nothing more than to break the town’s curse; Thalia, the talented greenwitch, is on the run from her religious family and a past that still haunts her; and Jailah is one of the most powerful witches at the academy but her thirst for power may lead her down a dark path.
With the Haunting Season approaching, Wolves will soon rise from the swamp to kill and the humans and witches must work together to survive the yearly onslaught. And the stakes couldn’t be higher as two boys from the Hammersmitt School prepare to make their first sacrifices to the witches in exchange for protection.
But old dangers lie in wait and the cost to break the curse may be greater than any witch or human could ever know.
What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I’ve always loved paranormal stories, and The Witchery is a love letter to so many of my favorite tropes. BIPOC are often missing in contemporary YA fantasy stories (though it gets better little by little every year), so I wanted to write something that was fun, magical, a little dark, and full of friendship in an inclusive witchy world.
Which came first, the title or the novel?
They came together. The Witchery was just such a natural, simple, perfect title for this book, and I’m so happy that it stuck.
Do you have a favorite writing snack?
I can’t write without an assortment of sweet and salty treats like pretzels, popcorn, and M&Ms. There are usually a few different drinks around my desk as well. Snacking and writing go hand-in-hand for me, and I try to make sure I’m prepared so that my easily-distracted brain can’t convince me to get up from my desk unless necessary.
What do you like most about the cover of the book?
How can I even choose? Artist Thea Harvey and designer Steph Yang gave me the cover of my dreams. Obviously, I love the expressions on the characters’ faces and the witchy vibes, but another thing I love is the text of the title. And the colors! And the way their personalities are reflected in their outfits! I could go on and on and on.
What’s on your TBR pile?
I’m constantly behind on the newest titles, and tend to read things a year or two after they’ve come out. But I’m really excited to read Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood. Being a teen librarian, I always have ARCs downloaded, and I’m especially excited for Gina Chen’s Violet Made of Thorns, Deborah Falaye’s Blood Scion, Emily X.R. Pan’s An Arrow to the Moon, and YA favorite Holly Black’s adult debut Book of Night.
What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?
I’ve just finished up Himawari House, a lovely graphic novel by Harmony Becker. It was perfect, a warm hug of a book, one that made me smile, laugh, and cry. I’ve been recommending it to everyone!
Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
There’s a scene in part two of The Witchery where the whole cast is all together for one of the first times, and they’re trying to figure out how to get out of this mess they’ve gotten into. It’s one of my favorite scenes because we see each character making a case for how to handle a very big problem, and it really illustrates how each character thinks. It was a bit difficult to balance everyone’s thoughts and have them make decisions in line with their personalities, but I’m really proud of how it turned out.
Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or revising?
If I’m being honest, whatever I’m not working on at the moment is my favorite. When I’m drafting, all I want is to be done so that I can move onto revision. And when I’m revising, those shiny new ideas start tempting me, and I get that itch to draft something new. If I had to choose, I think drafting is a bit more fun. I love getting all of the ideas on the page, no matter how sloppy.
What would you say is your superpower?
Character nuances and relationships! I’m really proud of myself for balancing six POVs in The Witchery, and I had a lot of fun crafting each character’s unique goals, flaws, and narrative voice.
What advice would you give to new writers?
Being part of a strong critique group and having writer friendships are so important. I’m lucky enough to have landed in a fantastic and talented group. We’re all at different stages of our writing careers, and everyone’s been so supportive not just with giving feedback, but also when just brainstorming and discussing all of the ups and downs in publishing. Writing can be such solitary work, and finding your community is so important.
Book’s Title: The Witchery
Author: S. Isabelle
Release Date: July 26, 2022
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Young Adult Fiction / Fantasy / Wizards & Witches
Age Range: Ages 14 and up; Grades 9 and up
Three winners will receive a signed bookplate and a copy of The Witchery (S. Isabelle) ~US ONLY (No P.O. Boxes)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*