Author Chat with Jo Spurrier (A Curse of Ash and Embers), Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we're excited to chat with Jo Spurrier author of
A Curse of Ash and Embers.
Read on for more about Jo and her book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Jo Spurrier!
Jo Spurrier was born in 1980 and has a Bachelor of Science, but turned to writing because people tend to get upset when scientists make things up. Her interests include knitting, spinning, cooking and research. She lives in Adelaide and spends a lot of time daydreaming about snow.
Meet A Curse of Ash and Embers!
A dead witch. A bitter curse. A battle of magic.
Some people knit socks by the fire at night. Gyssha Blackbone made monsters.
But the old witch is dead now, and somehow it's Elodie's job to clean up the mess.
When she was hired at Black Oak Cottage, Elodie had no idea she'd find herself working for a witch; and her acid-tongued new mistress, Aleida, was not expecting a housemaid to turn up on her doorstep.
Gyssha's final curse left Aleida practically dead on her feet, and now, with huge monsters roaming the woods, a demonic tree lurking in the orchard and an angry warlock demanding repayment of a debt, Aleida needs Elodie's help, whether she likes it or not.
And no matter what the old witch throws at her, to Elodie it's still better than going back home.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
The idea came to me just after the birth of my second child. I was in hospital cuddling him when (as you do) I started to wonder, who cleans up in the aftermath of a magical battle? I kept picturing a young housemaid, equal parts exasperated and bewildered, trying to clean up smashed glass and splintered furniture in an old stone cottage. That got me thinking: who owned the cottage; who was she fighting, and why? From there I pieced the story together; the old witch Gyssha, pickled in bitterness and bile; her renegade apprentice Aleida, back for vengeance against her old mistress; and amidst it all, young Elodie, sent away from home to work as a maid, only to find herself caught up in a conflict that was none of her making.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Definitely Aleida, the morally-grey young witch who becomes Elodie’s friend and mentor. Between growing up as a street-smart guttersnipe and surviving her mistress’ vicious brand of tutelage, Aleida is acid-tongued, arrogant, and doesn’t give a fig what anyone thinks of her. She’ll say and do whatever she pleases, and though she probably has a heart of gold in there somewhere, she keeps it well guarded and hidden away.
YABC: Do you have a favorite writing snack?
On one side, I have good dark chocolate and coffee. On the other, water and ice in an insulated bottle so it always stays cold!
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
The importance of giving yourself time and space to let the characters, the plot and the world of the story develop and come together. I used to believe strongly in the principle of applying butt to chair and fingers to keyboard in order to get a book written, and I still think that’s a vital discipline for new writers to learn; but as a mother to two young children I’ve come to realise just how much my writing relies on letting my mind wander. Those moments of daydream are the gateway drug into creativity and exploration, and are a vital part of the process.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’m currently half-way through writing book 3 in the Blackbone Witches series, and I have a few short stories in the same world that I’d like to get out on paper as well.
YABC: Are there any film adaptations, tv shows, audiobooks, or other adaptations in the works for this book?
I’ve been in talks about a film/tv option for the books for a little while now, which is very exciting!
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
The very emotional and tense scenes are always my favourite to write! I tend to spend a lot of time thinking them over, until I can picture them quite clearly in my head, and since I write in a linear fashion I always eagerly anticipate getting to finally lay it all out. There was quite a few of these moments in this story, but I think my favourites are when Elodie arrives at the cottage and first meets Aleida; later when Aleida admits to Elodie that the vicious rumours Elodie’s been told about her are true, and towards the end when Gyssha Blackbones machinations are finally revealed.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or revising?
Honestly I enjoy them both to an equal degree. Drafting has the delight of pure creative expression and the catharsis of seeing a scene I’ve been planning for months finally be laid out on the page. But revising has its own joy, as the rough-hewn draft gets refined and polished (and sometimes beaten with hammer and tongs) into something fit for other people to see. Both of them are very satisfying.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
Thrifting! I live just down the road from a huge thrift store and I’m slightly addicted to the thrill of finding treasure, like the time I needed to dress up as Trillian from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and within five minutes of setting foot in the store had found a gold vinyl bomber jacket to kick off the look. At this point I definitely have too many pairs of shoes and handbags, but I’ve also found an antique silver bracelet from Siam; a gloriously boho embroidered faux fur jacket; a throw-rug copy of a medieval tapestry; and most recently a 3ft wide four-shaft table loom for $30AU, which I passed on to a textile-artist friend. It’s reached the point that my friends give me a wishlist of things to look for, which honestly just gives me an excuse to keep going back. #cantstopwontstop
A Curse Of Ash and Embers
By: Jo Spurrier
Publisher: HarperVoyager US
Release Date: January 12th, 2021
Three winners will each receive a copy of A Curse of Ash and Ember (Jo Spurrier) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
The cover is very bold and has that dark magic vibe. The synopsis draws me in for more. Sounds like an awesome read.