I would like to introduce you to Finbar Hawkin’s new title and in particular to the themes in “Witch”. The author is kindly sharing those below and a bit of how the story came together.
When I started writing Witch, I knew from the outset that sisterhood and persecution, the rule of the mob against the few were important themes. The first chapter encapsulates this – as Evey and her little sister, Dill witness the murder of their witch healer mother. The implications of this beginning – Evey and Dill now alone in the world, Evey furious for revenge – I knew would reverberate though the story. But as I wrote more, I realised how mutually exclusive these would be, and for a writer that’s conflict catnip! Evey’s responsibilities to her sister would collide with her own personal ambitions, and this collision would give me a rich seam to mine – stories being largely about conflict with an external problem, or an inner struggle.
But Evey and Dill are also female, and being of witch caste, women whose lives were considered dispensable. This theme grew stronger for me. I wanted to see how other characters, from other social spheres would deal with the prejudice they encountered. That’s how the character Anne came about, she’s of noble class, but I wanted to see how she coped with male autocracy, how it had shaped and curtailed her life. Similarly with the character, Jessica, who Evey encounters when she reaches town. Jessica is Catholic, and at that time, due to the dominance of Puritanism, her religion was subject to persecution. In this way all of the women in my book struggle – to not be subjugated, or be abused, or be banned from their beliefs – in essence to be free, which their time in history would not permit.
But while I felt all these difficult themes were necessary, for balance it was also important to celebrate womanhood and its place at the heart of family. Evey and Dill’s family is ripped apart – they lose their mother, they lose each other. Anne has lost her sister and the respect for her father, is desperate for connection. And Jessica is the mother to two young children amidst the chaos of Civil War. But they are all successful in building and protecting their loved ones, and in Evey’s case ultimately realising the power and enduring love of family. I knew that this theme would give my troubled characters the perfect weapon, and one that no one could take away from them – their ability to love and be loved.
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