Hey Witchlanders! There’s no denying the Witchlands are full of magic, but it takes an extraordinary power to create such a dynamic world. Our YA Specialist, Shannon, talked with Sightwitch author Susan Dennard about how much the Witchlanders impact her and all things magic! Check out the interview below and come see Susan at BookPeople Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.
Q: Everyone always asks, “Which magic would you prefer to have?” I would like to know which magic would you be most afraid to go up against in battle?
Susan Dennard: NICE. Okay, I would say that dealing with Aeduan would be pretty awful– knowing he could take control of my blood at any moment. *shudders* I think an Ironwitch like Vaness would also be… unpleasant. I’d definitely rather have her on my team than against me.
Q: When talking to potential new readers I always call your books Assassin’s Creed meets Legends of Korra. If you had to make two random connections to explain the Witchlands to someone who’d never read them, what would you select?
SD: Oh my gosh, I use pretty much the same! The aesthetic of Assassin’s Creed with the elemental action and stakes of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Clearly great minds think alike!
Q: Sightwitch is a prequel of sorts to the series, will there be heavy ties from it in the series going forward? And would you suggest a change to the read order, putting Sightwitch at the beginning?
SD: So, although Sightwitch takes place a year before the events of Truthwitch, I suggest reading it after Windwitch. It will make more sense to readers (plus, all the easter eggs!), and it serves as a set-up for the third book in the series, Bloodwitch. There are definitely a lot of elements in the story that have a huge impact on what the readers have already seen and what’s still to come. It’s kind of like if the first two books were a seam, and Sightwitch is the thread that, when tugged, cinches it all together.
Q: You are super involved in the Witchlands fandom, even being part of the chats as often as you can– how do you feel that has affected your role as an author for your readers? Do you think it has made the fandom stronger?
SD: It’s hard to say, honestly. I’m sure there are some readers who want me to butt out, but the ones I interact with seem to love that they can come straight to me and get answers on story canon or just get the latest update on publication.
Personally, I find it really energizing to know that there’s this core group of Witchlanders who are excited to read what comes next. I have a post-it on my computer that says, “Remember your ideal reader,” and I look at it whenever I get stuck or frustrated. I just think of who my ideal reader is, and it gives me motivation to keep going– or it helps me remember what the heart of this series is really all about and who it’s really for. The Witchlanders are that ideal reader, and I write these books for them.
Q: Lastly, who do you hope stumbles upon your book and what do you hope they get from it?
SD: I hope someone like I was growing up picks up this book. Someone who deeply loves fandom and just wants to crawl inside some other fantastical world. Someone who needs an escape from all the hard crap that comes with being a teen or young adult in the world. And someone who maybe doesn’t see themself often in fiction, but hopefully can connect with one of my characters. I remember every book that did that for me growing up, and those stories made me who I am today.