I was able to get my hands on an arc of Star Cursed in January. When I was done with it, I had no one to flail to since I didn’t know anyone who had read it yet. So, I took to twitter and was vaguely flailing about when Jessica Spotswood told me that I could email her.
I ended up sending her this ridiculous email with all of my flails and as an afterthought, added a request for an interview. I never expected to hear back from her, let alone for her to say yes! [I swear, one of these days, I’m going to get served with a restraining order. Elizabeth Norris, Sarah J Maas & Tamara Ireland Stone, I’m looking at you.]
Before we get to Jessica, let’s check out Star Cursed.
With the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate’s friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers—if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.
Cate doesn’t want to be a weapon, and she doesn’t want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood’s schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she’ll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.
In the highly anticipated sequel to Born Wicked, the Cahill Witch Chronicles continue Cate, Maura and Tess’s quest to find love, protect family, and explore their magic against all odds in an alternate history of New England.
Sounds amazing, right? [It totally is]
1. What prompted the story and why witches?
Well, like Cate, I’m the oldest of three sisters. I had a dream in which my sisters and I were fighting over a magical locket we’d inherited from our mother. There is no magical locket in the Cahill Witch Chronicles, but the idea of writing about the complicated mix of love and competition between sisters really intrigued me. As for why witches…historically, the women accused of witchcraft tended to be outsiders. I liked the idea of taking women who were too educated or eccentric or powerful and making them actual witches in a society where that’s the ruling male class’s greatest fear!
2. Which sister is the easiest for you to write?
Cate, because I’m in her head / point of view, so I’m most familiar with her thoughts! But Maura is always FUN to write because she’s so…er, opinionated. Yes. I’ll go with opinionated. And I am probably most like Tess in that I am bookish and observant and always want everyone to get along. I love all three of them!
3. When you wrote the ending of Star Cursed, did you sit back and laugh knowing you’d be killing people with the cliffhanger? [You guys. Be prepared for this ending.]
No! But that specific plot point was intended from the beginning. I rewrote probably 75% of the book during revisions with my editor, but that stayed. It’s tricky – I wanted people to feel all the feelings, but I also wanted to make sure it didn’t feel sensationalistic or gimmick-y, because it was a very organic and important part of their story from the beginning. (Ack, it’s hard to talk about without spoilers!)
4. You said in your email that you rewrote 75% of it in edits. Can/will you share something that happened that didn’t make it in the book?
In the original first scene, mean girl Alice was cruel and gossipy toward Cate and Lucy, and Lucy lost control of her magic and almost set Alice on fire. It was a bit of an echo to what happens with Maura losing control at the end of Born Wicked. Lucy was more of a little-sister substitute for Cate because Maura and Tess didn’t show up until 2/3 of the way through the book. There was also a super-convoluted plot involving secret papers in which Maura and Finn worked together to rescue them and Finn got shot! It was very exciting but it never actually made sense, so that all got scrapped.
5. Will there be kissing in book 3?
Oh yes. :) Two of the Cahill girls get kissed! I also have a new favorite minor couple who don’t kiss, but they banter deliciously and were so fun to write.
Speed [ish] round:
1. What’s your go to guilty pleasure thing to eat?
Vegetarian nachos with pinto beans & queso. Or brownies. Or both.
2. What are you reading right now?
The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr. I love it! Next up: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.
3. Who are your favorite swoony boys?
Eldric from Chime by Franny Billingsley and Po from Graceling.
4. Are there any authors that you fangirl over?
Yes! Kristin Cashore! I love her series and I was such a dork when I went to one of her signings – like, “Hi. I LOVE YOUR BOOKS. I’m a Penguin author too?” I also adore Sara Zarr, E. Lockhart, Ruta Sepetys, and Carrie Ryan.
Huge thanks to Jessica for dealing with all of my flails fangirling questions.
Now. To celebrate the book birthday of Star Cursed, I’ve got a signed hardcover copy of Born Wicked to give away!
Rules for the giveaway are listed under the “terms and conditions” on the Rafflecopter widget.