Say Hello to Holly
Witchlight is being published this week by Vagabondage Press in both paperback and e-format and Ute’s kind invitation provides me with a brilliant opportunity to introduce you to my novel’s lead character, Holly Jepps. I become very attached to all my characters, but there’s something about Holly that has made her especially special to me and I hope readers of Witchlight are going to like her as much as I do.
Witchlight is a paranormal tale, with a touch of romance. Like Harry Potter, Holly discovers she has previously unknown magic powers, but as she is thirty-eight rather than eleven, all similarities end there. Holly lives on her own with her much-loved pet cat, Barny. She’s a talented personal counsellor, hasn’t had a smooth-run, romantically speaking, and leads a normal, unexceptional life, until one day, and without warning, her fairy godfather turns up to tell her that she’s a witch with inherited magic powers. Needless to say, this comes as something of a shock to Holly, who suddenly has a lot of adjusting to do
They say that writers always put a little bit of themselves in their characters. To a greater or lesser degree, I agree and that partially explains why I feel such a close affinity for Holly. Whilst I have never been gifted with even the slightest hint of magical powers, I am aware that there is probably more of me in Holly than in most of my other characters. Admittedly I’m not going to see thirty-eight again anytime soon, but Holly is a short, independent woman living on her own in Cambridgeshire, England: a description that pretty much fits me too. Holly lives with Barny, her beloved black and white cat. My life is ruled with a paw of iron by Dickens, a black and white lad who is proudly feline to the tips of his very fine whiskers.
Both Holly and I share a love of folk music, an appreciation of a decent wine and an upbringing in London (although Holly comes from Croydon, which is south of the Thames and I come from Wembley, to the north of the city.)
If I am honest, Holly and I share a number of personality traits. Feisty is a good description for both of us, as is pragmatic, cynical and a tad prickly. As Partridge Mayflower, Holly’s fairy godfather, says when Holly queries the implications of being a witch, “Holly girl, you are all too human, I can assure you. Prickly and awkward and human, because that’s what witches are – human, that is, not necessarily the prickly and annoying bit. That’s just you.”
Holly may not always be the easiest person to get along with, but it doesn’t prevent her from attracting the attention of Jake Wortham, a rather good-looking and single, local veterinary surgeon. In the midst of a blossoming romance, Holly finds herself investigating the mystery of her parentage and the origins of her witchlight. Her natural stubbornness, another trait I’ll admit to, stands her in good stead as she tracks down the elusive source of her magical power and the root cause of an increasingly dark series of events.
Whilst, if truth be told, I have come to identify somewhat emotionally and mentally with my heroine, physically, apart from the lack of height, there isn’t that strong a similarity between Holly and myself. Holly has “hazel eyes and quaintly natural mid-brown hair”, which is short, bobbed and frequently tousled. I imagine her looking like the actress Holly Hunter or Anna Belnap from CSI New York. I wouldn’t mind looking like either of these formidable women, but I must admit that I don’t. So I guess the similarity between Holly and myself stops there and that’s fine because, despite my input, Holly is very much her own woman and at the heart of her own, special story. I hope you get the chance to meet her, because I’m convinced you’ll come to love her as much as I do.
When appearances are magically deceptive, Holly cannot afford to trust those closest to her, including herself. Accidents start to happen, people die, Old Magic is on the hunt, but in the age-old game of cat and mouse, just who is the feline and who is the rodent?
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