Swanky Seventeener Alison Gervais recently interviewed Adriana Mather, author of HOW TO HANG A WITCH, a YA Contemporary novel published by Knopf/Random House on July 26, 2016.
About the Book:
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir meets The Craft. When heroine Samantha Mather moves to modern-day Salem, Mass., the crimes of her ancestors—who were involved in hanging witches in the town 300 years ago—come back to haunt her. Samantha is ostracized by the witch descendants at school, confronted by an enigmatic ghost, and forced to trust her only friend and, ultimately, herself, as she unravels the lost secrets of the hangings and her family.
HOW TO HANG A WITCH can be purchased here.
About the Author:
Adriana Mather is the 14th generation of Mathers in America, and as such her family has their fingers in many of its historical pies – the first Thanksgiving, the Salem Witch Trials, the Titanic, the Revolutionary War, and the wearing of curly white wigs. Also, Adriana owns a production company, Zombot Pictures, in LA that has made three feature films in three years. Her first acting scene in a film ever was with Danny Glover, and she was terrified she would mess it up. In addition, her favorite food is pizza and she has too many cats.
Adriana can be found online at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405351-how-to-hang-a-witch
Alison: What would your elevator pitch for HOW TO HANG A WITCH be?
Adriana: “Mean Girls” meets “Practical Magic.” Ghosts from the Salem Witch Trials, a mystery, a romance, and lots of delicious fall-themed pastries. Oh, and my actual ancestors hanged witches in Salem, so there’s that.
Alison: With respect to your novel, do you believe writing is a good way to acknowledge the past so readers may learn from it?
Adriana: YES. History really does repeat itself. And there are so many lessons in our past that are worth exploring. In the movie Sitting Pretty, Clifton Webb makes this remark defending philosophers, “If more people just sat and thought, the world might not be in the stinking mess that it is.”
Alison: HOW TO HANG A WITCH is your first book – what inspired you to start writing and what was the process like for you? What were your favorite and least favorite parts of the process?
Adriana: Ever since I was tiny, I’ve made a habit of poking around the family memories. I stare at the serious portraits, read the letters written in the 1800s, and ask so many questions. One day, I was feeling all romantical about the family poems and worn leather books I had discovered. And the idea for HOW TO HANG A WITCH just drifted past me like the delicious scent of hot apple cider. I followed it and found myself sitting in front of a computer composing a modern story involving the ghost of my long-dead relative Cotton Mather who instigated The Salem Witch Trials.
Writing this story was thrilling and totally without structure. I wrote my book. I threw my hands in the air and cheered. Then I rewrote the ENTIRE thing. My favorite part about the process was the creative daydreaming and the fact that I had every right to talk about the made up people in my head. My least favorite part was that I actually scared myself writing about ghosts and will forever raise a questioning eyebrow at suspicious looking shadows.
Alison: What advice would you give to aspiring writers hoping to publish their first novel?
Adriana: Go hard, go fast, learn, listen. Tell your ego to piss off, and don’t attach yourself to either the compliments or the criticisms. There is no right way when you’re doing something creative. And it will take WAY more work and time than you ever anticipated. So be ready with coffee, donuts, and inappropriate jokes. The most important thing I’ve learned in filmmaking and book writing is that no one sprinkles fairy dust over your head. I’ve fought for every inch, and if I cared about how much I sucked in the beginning I would never achieved anything.
About the Interviewer:
Watty Award winning author Alison Gervais is a current undergraduate student at Colorado State University-Pueblo, and has been writing for as long as she can remember. In 2011, she joined the writer’s website Wattpad, and has been active on the site for five years. If she’s not writing or studying for classes, she can be found re-reading Harry Potter, watching Supernatural, or trying to win the affection of her cats, Kovu and Rocket.
Her YA Contemporary Paranormal novel, IN 27 DAYS, will be published by Harper Collins/Blink Summer 2017.