May 11, 2012
1) Why young adult? Did you choose this genre or
were you ‘chosen’ by it?
I think it chose me! The initial spark for
A Witch in Winter came to me out of the blue as
a YA book.I have no idea why that genre because
my previous attempts at novels had all been for
adults. But right from that initial
seed, A Witch in Winter was clearly a
YA book with a teen protagonist.
I never considered writing it any other way.
2) Is there an author, living or dead,
who inspired you particularly?
A Witch in Winter is influenced by lots of books
including Le Morte D'Arthur by Malory and Beowulf,
the author of which is unknown. One of the most fun things
about researching the book was making up the spells and
researching witchcraft history and grimoires.
Lots of those texts found their way into A Witch in Winter
and its sequels - book two, A Witch in Love,
is strongly influenced by the Malleus Maleficarum,
which is a 15th century
witch-hunting manual by two dead Germans called
Jacob Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer. It's not a fun read though!
3) Please, tell us about your last book and, if you can, about your future projects.
A Witch in Winter was my first book, and it came out in January 2012. It's
about a girl, Anna, who finds a spellbook and, for a joke, tries out a love
spell. She's not intending to think of anyone in particular but then a face
floats into her head unintentionally - the face of the school heart-throb
Seth. When she gets to school on Monday she finds that he's dumped his
girlfriend and he declares his undying love for her. Of course she can't
let him stay that way, so she returns to the book to try to take the spell
off. And that's when her troubles really begin...
My future projects are the two sequels to A Witch in Winter, called A Witch
in Love, and A Witch Alone. A Witch in Love is due out July 2012, and A
Witch Alone is due out January 2013. They follow Anna's journey as she
tries to find out more about her past and her power, and as she tries to
figure out the true nature of her bond with Seth. I'm wrapping up book
three now and it's quite a daunting task to bring three sheaves of plot
threads together in a satisfying way.
4) How was your writing journey? Was it difficult to find
an agent and get published?
Well I started out by subbing my book far too early! I basically wrote it
straight off the top of my head, corrected the spelling mistakes and then
sent it out to half a dozen agents. I quickly had quite a few requests for
the full, but an equal number of rejections followed, with some feedback.
This helped me to realise what a classic mistake I'd just made, and I then
spent a the best part of a year editing and tweaking and getting feedback
from friends and critique partners. Then when I felt I really couldn't bear
to re-read the thing another time, I resubmitted. This time I was picked up
very quickly and I signed with my now agent, Eve White, within a few weeks.
Together we prepared a submission package for the trilogy and the whole
thing was concluded within a month - which was fantastic, and fantastically
quick. I don't think my heart could have stood for much more suspense!
Hodder were amazing from day one - the editor sent me their offer inside a
real mocked up grimoire, all burnt and paint-spattered, just as I describe
in the book. I think from the moment I opened the package I knew they were
5) What’s your opinion about this E-book revolution?
Would you consider the indie route?
Gosh - this is the $64k question really isn't it? I have a perspective on
it from two angles, as I also work within the industry (two days a week I'm
a publicist for the adult, literary division of Random House). I know, from
being within the machine, what a hugely powerful thing it is to have the
enthusiastic backing of a publisher, and I always knew that if I could get
that kind of advocacy for my own book, I wanted it. Having a whole team of
dedicated professionals all wanting to make your book the best it possibly
can be - that's a fantastic thing. And I value the input of my editor
hugely - I've had two, and they've each, unquestionably, made the books ten
times better than they started out. The books have emerged leaner and
meaner, and they've helped me take risks I might not have considered myself.
But that said, I fully understand why other writers choose to go it alone,
and I think the exciting part of this revolution is that there's no longer
one single route to getting a book to market.
6) Nowadays many publishers expect their authors to use
social media a lot to promote their books.
Many authors, on the other hand, would prefer to write only,
without being distracted by digital trivialities: what are your thoughts?
Well, again, as a publicist, I am in two modes here! I personally don't ask
authors to use social media unless they want to. I think there's nothing
worse than someone tweeting joylessly away because they feel forced to - it
just doesn't work. It's like being at a party - you can always spot the
person who would rather be at home with a DVD and is just waiting for their
partner to drag themselves away and give them the car keys.
But, equally, there's likely to be another group of people having a
fabulous time over at the bar, who weren't really expecting to enjoy the
evening and who only came because their friend guilted them into it, and
are now thoroughly surprised what a good time they're having. I think a lot
of authors come to social media because they feel they ought to, and then
really enjoy the "watercooler" experience independent of any selling that's
going on. Half the writers I see on twitter are interacting with each
other, networking, having fun - which is all valuable for someone who
spends most of their day in front of a computer with only the cat to moan
And finally there's the shameless socialite who has to be dragged away at
the end of the party, with the reminder that they've got a 9.00am breakfast
meeting and wouldn't an eighth tequila slammer be a bad idea?
Which is a roundabout way of saying, I enjoy social media but I think it's
most valuable if it's genuine rather than dutiful, and I don't feel guilty
about shutting it off if I need to get some work done. After all, it's the
books that really count. You can tweet all you want, but if the books are
more boring than your tweets, you're doing something wrong.
Info about the author:
Ruth Warburton grew up on the south coast of England in Lewes,
then studied English at the University of Manchester. There she developed a
fascination with Old English and Middle English texts and while researching
A Witch in Winter she found herself returning to them, in particular
Beowulf and Le Morte D'Arthur, and seeds from these mixed with ancient
Mesopotamian demons, Voodoo spells, Tudor superstitions and 15th century
witch-hunting guides, to create the Winter Trilogy.
Find out more at www.ruthwarburton.com
Follow her on twitter @ruthwarburton
Find her on facebook at www.facebook.com/ruthwarburtonwriter
To buy her latest book, simply click on the cover below: