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In 1991 I’d already been writing for about twenty years, on and off (though there was a long gap where I didn’t write because of a divorce, the finding of a full time job to support myself and my son, and a remarriage…life) when I contracted my fourth novel, my first of four to Zebra paperbacks, a romantic horror called Vampire Blood, about a family of vampires who ran a movie theater in a small town. I’d already had a fifth novel, The Last Vampire, completed and in with them when they asked me for another novel.
Human No Longer
Got anything about witches, they asked. Witches are hot right now. Hmmm.
For many years I’d played around with an idea about a present day white witch who finds a diary of a long dead witch – either good or bad, I hadn’t decided – in her old house’s attic, or basement, or under a floorboard. The story would have been about the good witch reliving the other dead witch’s life through the diary. I’d always called that possible book Rachel’s Diary in my head.
So in 1991 or 1992 I began the witch book and it quickly metamorphosed into a story of a present day good witch, Amanda Givens, who’s yanked into a perilous seventeenth century past by an evil witch, Rachel Coxe, to take her place…and die a horrible death as an accused witch. I had the idea then to actually send Amanda into the past to live (for a while) the other witch’s life. Of course, being a good witch, Amanda, changes the other witch’s unsavory reputation but still ends up in a prison waiting to die for Rachel’s earlier crimes. The story, simply put, would be how Amanda overcomes her trials and tribulations, finds her lost eternal love again in the past, and finds a way to return to the present alive. In the process, learning some important life lessons about accepting what life has dealt her and the value of sisters, friendships and the love of those around her. Or good versus evil and, in the end, good wins and is rewarded. I also threw in a few touches of humor in the form of three precocious witches’ familiars…a mind-reading and speaking cat called Amadeus, a mouse, Tituba, and a tiny bat, Gibbiewackett …all with feisty personalities and quirks of their own.
I was excited about the book as I was writing it and when it was done, pleased with it, but had no idea that over the years it’d become the jewel of my writing career and the book that my fans would love the best of all my books. I loved the cat face cover Zebra did for it (a rare occurrence as I’d learned the hard way that covers weren’t always what I’d envisioned and in the early days I had no choice but to accept whatever the publisher’s gave me…and some weren’t so hot, let me tell you!).
Witches came out in 1993 and did well. I noticed soon after as I went on to publish other books that I got the most response and admiration for it. Readers loved the three sisters, Amadeus and Amanda, Gibbiewackett and Tituba. In those days I was too busy working full time as a graphic artist, living my life and writing new books to notice. It went into a second printing in 2000 and after that, sadly, went out of print. But my fans never forgot it. I’d find comments on it and discussions on the Internet…even customer reviews raving about it years and years later. I tried talking Zebra into reissuing it but after Zebra and I parted ways there was no talking them into it.
Then in 2010 when Damnation Books contracted my 13th and 14th novels, the publisher, Kim Richards, asked about all (there was 7 at the time) my out-of-print Zebra and Leisure backlist novels and if I’d like to have them reissued as new paperbacks and, for the first time ever, in e-books. Sure, that’d be great! I told her. And, as they say, the rest is history. Between June 2010 and June 2012 all 7 of them (and another 3 of my The Wild Rose Press novels and two short stories from 2007) updated, rewritten and with stunning new covers came out again. And all in e-books for the first time.
Of course, that meant a heck of a lot of rewriting. A lot of work. Those early novels went back twenty-seven years and were first written in the days of snail mail and on an electric typewriter before the Internet, e-mails and Windows Track Changes (for editing). Oh, boy, did they need revising. As of today I can happily say they’re all rewritten and out now, even the first one, 1984’s Evil Stalks the Night.
I’ve often been asked what I think of e-books and I have to say it feels strange, all these years later, to be so into them. I think it’s fantastic to be able to put thousands of books on one little lightweight hand-held contraption and sell them as inexpensively as we do. I started publishing e-books six years ago and have seen such great changes in even that short a time. I loved the editing process. With Track Changes it was truly a collaborative effort between the editor and the writer and it taught me far more about the craft of writing than the old way of just sending off the manuscript, being asked to change certain things, but then never seeing any of those changes or the basic edits until the book was printed and in my hand. Now, no more pages added by an editor. That actually happened in Evil Stalks the Night. The editor, who I’d never met, added three pages of his own and I hadn’t even known about it until I held the finished book in my hand. And the three pages hadn’t made any sense…ech! For the revised version I yanked them out.
With a chuckle I recall a writer’s convention I attended in 1990 – yes, that far back – and the main topic back then was…OMG the electronic books are coming! They’re going to make us authors obsolete! Print books are going to die a terrible lonely death…etc., etc. Lack and alas, what are we going to do? Ha, ha. It’s ironic that 23 years later I’m in love with e-books. They’re the future. And I think there’ll always be room for print books as well as electronic ones.
So Witches…(Damnation Books) was rereleased in 2011. I was thrilled. The cover is still of Amadeus, the cat, and Dawne Dominique did an amazing job on it. My editor, Alison O'Byrne, helped me make it a better book than twenty years ago. I’m very proud of it. It’s held up pretty well. And I hope it finds many more readers and fans.
So that’s the story of Witches…the little book that wouldn’t die.
Thank you! E-mail me at email@example.com
There are witches in the world…some are good and some of them are downright evil.
Amanda Givens is careful how she uses her powers. She doesn’t want the people of Canaan, Connecticut, to know they have a witch among them...even a good, white witch. For years, she’s lived quietly in a remote cabin in the woods with Amadeus, her feline familiar.
When she’s wrongly blamed for a rash of ritualistic murders committed by a satanic cult, she knows she can’t hide any longer. She’s the one the cult’s after. More than that, she’s the only one who can stop them and prove her innocence. In doing this, she’s drawn back in time by the ghost of the malevolent witch, Rachel Coxe, who was drowned for practicing black magic in the 17th century. Now, as Amanda tries to rehabilitate Rachel's reputation in an effort to save lives, as well as her own, she has to rely on a sister's love and magical knowledge, and a powerful sect of witches called the Guardians, to help her get home safely.
Buy ‘Witches’ at Damnation Books or Amazon.
About Kathryn Meyer Griffith...
Since childhood I’ve always been an artist and worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world and for newspapers for twenty-three years before I quit to write full time. I began writing novels at 21, over forty years ago now, and have had seventeen (ten romantic horror, two romantic SF horror, one romantic suspense, one romantic time travel, one historical romance and two murder mysteries) previous novels, two novellas and twelve short stories published from Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books/Eternal Press and Amazon Kindle Direct.
I’ve been married to Russell for almost thirty-five years; have a son, James, and two grandchildren, Joshua and Caitlyn, and I live in a small quaint town in Illinois called Columbia, which is right across the JB Bridge from St. Louis, Mo. We have three quirky cats, ghost cat Sasha, live cats Cleo and Sasha (Too), and the five of us live happily in an old house in the heart of town. Though I’ve been an artist, and a folk singer in my youth with my brother Jim, writing has always been my greatest passion, my butterfly stage, and I’ll probably write stories until the day I die…or until my memory goes.
All Kathryn Meyer Griffith’s Books available at Amazon.com. Visit Kathryn at myspace for book trailers, Facebook, or Goodreads.