Witches by Kathryn Meyer Griffith kept me spellbound and here is some insight into…
Why I wrote Witches By Kathryn Meyer Griffith
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 run 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.
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. In my head I’d always called that possible book Rachel’s Diary.
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 possibly, unless Amanda can change the evil witch’s history, 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, in other words, a story of 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 ancient 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 one of the jewels of my writing career and a book my fans would love as much as they did. I loved the cat face cover Zebra did for it in 1993 (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!); but I love Dawne Dominique’s new 2015 cover just as much with the witch and her cat.
Witches originally came out in 1993 and did well. I noticed soon after as I went on to publish other books I continued to get admiration for it and requests for a sequel (though I haven’t been able to do another one so far…but maybe in the future). 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 until 2010. 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 in 1994 there was no talking them into it.
Then in 2010 when Damnation Books contracted my 13th and 14th novels, the publisher asked about all (there was 7 at the time) my out-of-print Zebra and Leisure paperback 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 them. And, as they say, the rest is history. Between June 2010 and July 2012 all 7 of them were updated, rewritten and came out again. Of course, that meant a heck of a lot of rewriting. A lot of work. Those early novels went back thirty-two 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 all my fourteen older novels have been totally rewritten, even my very first published romantic horror novel, Evil Stalks the Night (originally a 1984 Leisure Books paperback). Then, later, between 2012 and 2015 I finally (after much fighting with my old publishers) got all my rights back to all my old novels and self-published ALL my 23 novels myself in eBooks, paperbacks and Audible audio books. I will never go back to publishers again because I’m finally making a living with my books–and it’s great to have complete control for the first time in 45 years of writing.
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 hundreds of books on one little lightweight hand-held contraption and sell them as inexpensively as we do. I started publishing e-books four years ago and have seen such great changes in even that short a time. 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 26 years later I’m in love with e-books and self-publishing. It is the present and the future. Though I think there’ll always be room for print books as well as electronic ones as many people still like to feel a real book in their hands.
So Witches…I rereleased it again in 2015 with a brand new cover and I’m thrilled. The cover is still of Amadeus, the magical cat, but now Amanda, the white witch, is also on it. As always my cover artist, Dawne Dominique, did an amazing job. I’m proud of the book, it has held up pretty well, I think. I hope it finds many more readers and fans.
So that’s the story of Witches…the little book that wouldn’t die.
She always has such amazing covers that depict the story inside.
Cover: Dawn Domique
A curse, reincarnation, familiars, a battle between good and evil, Witches by Kathryn Meyer Griffith is loaded with many witch things that tease and titillate your paranormal and supernatural desires.
I have been watching Charmed (a TV series) reruns for a long time now, so it is easy to visualize all the going on, from familiars to scrying to all the powers needed for the battle coming Amanda’s way.
Amanda is a good witch and a good person, lonely since the death of her husband. She has her family and some friends in her isolated surroundings and she will need them. The selfless love she spreads and gives to others freely, asking for nothing in return makes me feel she deserves only the best.
The familiars are faithful companions and can be amusing at time. I couldn’t help but laugh at Tibby, a mouse familiar. I can see him throwing his little paws in the air in frustration.
It will be Amanda and her familiar, Amadeus, against the diabolical cult that is killing the residents of Canaan. She is a bit naive, unwilling to believe the danger that stalks her and I want to be with her, fighting at her side, making things right for her.
The witch hunt puts a target on her back and it is worse than she thought. The battle between good and evil will take all she has to survive.
The sense of evil and foreboding of what is to come was present from the opening pages. The grisly murders, the impromptu storms, and the death and destruction run rampant in Canaan.
I didn’t see the direction Kathryn would take for this unusual witch’s tale and the world I would be in. Her vivid descriptions and detailed, complex characters make me love and hate them…but Amanda…
The terrible things Kathryn puts her through come alive on the pages. She is not afraid to make her characters suffer, sometimes killing them off, making me love her writing, because I have to stay on my toes and be ready for the surprises she will spring on me.
The writing is outstanding, but I am not surprised by Kathryn’s ability to bring this magical world to life, making me devour the words, unable to stop, wanting to know…
Kathryn Meyer Griffith takes WITCHES to a whole new level, keeping the suspense rising,the pacing constant. I am anxious, curious, suurprised, amazed, fearful, terrified as read of Amanda and those around her as demons and black magic rise and good magic fights back.
BLURB FROM KATHRYN MEYER GRIFFITH
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 with Amadeus, her quirky feline familiar. At first with her husband, Jake, the love of her life, until a car accident; but now alone after his death. But when she’s wrongly blamed for a rash of ritualistic murders committed by a satanic cult, she knows she can no longer hide. She’s the one the cult’s after and she is the only one who can stop them and prove her innocence.
As punishment for fighting and destroying the cult, she’s drawn back in time by the ghost of the dark 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, and falls in love all over again with Joshua, her reincarnated dead husband from the future, she has to rely on a sister’s love and magical knowledge, and a powerful sect of witches named the Guardians to help her get home safely. ***
Now, with her heart breaking, her eyes shut, her hands waving languidly over the fire, she chanted the nefarious words that would bring her husband back from the dead.
Something crashed against the door, as if something or someone were throwing themselves against it. Wood splintered, but the door held. Amadeus, who had powers of his own, was fighting mad now. It was his responsibility to protect her, protect her from herself, if need be. She heard him growling at her through the door.
Open up, Mandy. Open the damn door!
“No. I told you, Amadeus, either help me or go away.”
The cat grumbled beyond the door, hissed and spat as loud as any big cat, and the battering resumed.
Amanda’s eyes flew open, widened as the apparition began to take form inside the pentagram—the outline of a man, tall, his arms thrown over his face as if in defense.
“Jake?” She moaned, staring at the thing.
It lowered its hands and a ghoulish, misty face peered out at her, a face so full of torment and fear, Amanda fell back in shock.
“Don’t do this, Mandy, I beg you! Remember me as I was. I don’t belong there anymore.” She heard the plaintive whisper, an echo on the still air. Its hands reached out to her. “Let me go. You don’t know what you’re doing.”
She couldn’t stop. The enchantment wasn’t complete. It would be better when it was. He was between two worlds now and he would be frightened. Half-formed. Between two worlds.
If she wasn’t careful, those unearthly denizens—shade demons, she called them—that haunted that dead world could escape into hers. So dangerous. What the hell was she doing opening the forbidden portals like this?
What happened if she was a moment off, a word wrong and the demons came through? If she unleashed them? A disaster.
Amanda steeled herself, wiped the fresh tears from her face with the back of her hand. “Damn it, I want you back, Jake. I’ll have you back,” she swore.
She took up where she’d left off, knowing if she stopped at this point of the spell, it could ruin everything. Everything.
The door groaned behind her under its assault (damn but that cat was strong), the wind screamed outside the windows. The candles placed around the pentagram fluttered in a strange breeze in the shadowy room.
Amanda’s heart froze. She stopped in the middle of the spell, her eyes going wide with fear, her hands half-raised before her, and her head thrown back as the flames from the fire glowed more brightly across her tense face.
What was that word? Suureerustus? Summertus? Or…
She stared at the blurry figure trying to form in the circle. It was yelling at her now…something…something…she couldn’t make out the words.
It was no longer alone.
Things writhed around its melting feet, flew about its head. Terrible things. Things from the dead world. Unholy things. Gaping mouths with sharp bloodied teeth, glittering fiendish eyes in deformed, hideous bodies. Some almost human, some insect like. Others indescribable. Some growing before her eyes to be taller than she was.
Monsters. Coming through the barrier, crossing the lines of the pentagram, into her world.
Amanda grabbed the nearest thing with which to fight them off, a broom, and started swinging at them.
She was so busy hitting and spewing out new spells to keep the shade demons from coming through that she never heard the door burst open; never felt the cool storm wind enter the cabin until something determined and furry flew by her face toward the pentagram, hissing all the way.
Then Amadeus was helping her herd the malignant spirits back from where they’d come. All claws, teeth, and unearthly glowing eyes. He snarled the word Sutterus at her in passing and Amanda quickly supplied it in the spell where it belonged.
The demons began to slowly dissolve in shrieks of rage.
Don’t send us away! Don’t send us back there! Let us out. Out!
Jake’s figure returned. A shadow with hanging head. Just one or two sentences and the incantation would be complete. Jake would be there, solid, before her.
Amanda hesitated. The thing in the circle looked so pitiful. So unnatural.
Before she could finish, soft, but strong paws clamped tightly around her neck and wouldn’t let go. Something howled like a banshee in her ear, as sharp teeth angrily nipped it. She couldn’t breathe.
“Amadeus! Get off!” She screamed, tumbling to the floor with the huge cat on top of her, still holding on like a leech, its yowling and screeching enough to wake the dead—instead, it woke her.
By the time she’d yanked the cat off, throwing him roughly against the opposite wall so that he yelped in pain, and she’d crawled back to the pentagram, Jake was gone. The enchantment broken.
ABOUT KATHRYN MEYER GRIFFITH
Since childhood I’ve 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. But I’d already begun writing novels at 21, over forty-four years ago now, and have had twenty-two (ten romantic horror, two horror novels, two romantic SF horror, one romantic suspense, one romantic time travel, one historical romance, two thrillers, and four 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. But I’ve gone into self-publishing in a big way since 2012; and upon getting all my 22 books’ full rights back for the first time in 33 years, have self-published all of them. My Dinosaur Lake novels and Spookie Town Mysteries (Scraps of Paper, All Things Slip Away and Ghosts Beneath Us) are my best-sellers.
I’ve been married to Russell for thirty-eight years; have a son and two grandchildren and I live in a small quaint town in Illinois. We have a quirky cat, Sasha, and the three of us live happily in an old house in the heart of town. Though I’ve been an artist, and a folk/classic rock 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.
2012 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS *Finalist* for her horror novel The Last Vampire ~ 2014 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS * Finalist * for her thriller novel Dinosaur Lake.
*All Kathryn Meyer Griffith’s books can be found here:
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Novels and short stories from Kathryn Meyer Griffith:
Evil Stalks the Night, The Heart of the Rose, Blood Forged, Vampire Blood, The Last Vampire (2012 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS*Finalist* in their Horror category), Witches, The Nameless One erotic horror short story, The Calling, Scraps of Paper (The First Spookie Town Murder Mystery), All Things Slip Away (The Second Spookie Town Murder Mystery), Ghosts Beneath Us (The Third Spookie Town Murder Mystery), Egyptian Heart, Winter’s Journey, The Ice Bridge, Don’t Look Back, Agnes, A Time of Demons and Angels, The Woman in Crimson, Human No Longer, Four Spooky Short Stories Collection, Forever and Always Romantic Novella, Night Carnival Short Story, Dinosaur Lake (2014 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS*Finalist* in their Thriller/Adventure category), Dinosaur Lake II: Dinosaurs Arising and Dinosaur Lake III: Infestation, Dinosaur Lake IV: Dinosaur Wars.
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