Quirky. Droll. Snarky. Those traits best describe Linda Bell.
Seconds after Linda Bell was ushered into life, she knew she had the creative stuff to write fiction. She yelled at the top of her lungs, “I want to be an author.”
Be careful what you wish for, came a whisper.
Does any one of us know whom we will become when tossed into the new circumstances of Life? Those traits, wired into her personality, gave her a unique way to explain the events in her life. A small shift from how the others saw the world outsized her basic traits.
During the whirlwinds of life, she devoured myths and monsters, history, and fantasy.
Now her muse (aptly named Muse) is regurgitating the soul food mixed with her quirkiness, drollness, and snarkiness.
I do not approve of the above message, but Muse insists it is true. Not!
♦ ♦ ♦
Linda Bell Brighton writes a historical fantasy series set in Europe 1560, The Witch Burning Times, about a Sorceress who tries to save the multiverse from Annihilation.
Linda Bell fell in love with myths, magic, monsters at an early age. On a thunder-storming day in the Keys, her father—in his bass reading voice—brought The Hound of the Baskerville to too-vivid-life. Greek and Roman myths merged with Wonder Woman and Super girl and all fantasy. After studying medieval and Renaissance literature in college, she moved to the magical backwoods of Florida. Days, she writes what her Muse dictates during the night. She combines her loves by writing what she calls magpunk: real history with myths, magic, monsters—and daemons, too.
Power. The elixir of wars. But what creates the insatiable thirst for it? Perhaps daemons with their own agenda. Daemons who set humans against humans over the slightest reason. Or make that slightest reason the most important. Or make humans believe it is the most important.
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I’m so excited to be a part of this blog tour for Linda Bell Brighton’s debut novel, Wolgast Castle! It’s the first in the Sidonia The Sorceress series. Witches, magic, shapeshifters, and ancient prophecies set against the backdrop of witch burnings and fear. Sounds pretty awesome, right? Right you are!
Q: I’ve been enjoying your recent blog entries about gods and goddesses of the ancient world, everything from Mount Olympus to Asarte. Is this a series you plan to continue?
A: Oh, yes! This is important to me because I really do love myths, monsters, & magic. And I realize some readers don’t know them well. The better they know the myths–even those not in my book–the happier their lives will be.
Q: Who are some of your favorite authors? Who are your writing influences?
A: I’ll take those in reverse order, if that’s alright. Andre Norton’s Witch World series was the first fantasy series I read (though not when it came out). Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour was another. But I was unhappy that it was such a dysfunctional family.
Clive Barker’s Weaveworld made me angry. I knew he was a horror writer, but I wanted the Weaveworld to be–well, like my tapestries are in Wolgast Castle. But the strongest influence was Wilhelm Meinhold, the author of the so-called femme fatale book of 1848. That book made Muse so furious she forced me to write this. He was a Pomeranian priest. Muse thinks he was a misogynist.
My favorite authors are new and ancient. Since you didn’t limit the question to fiction, I can stick in Aristotle. He’s really great at twisting your thoughts into Gordian knots! Ulysses is great. I only read it in English. My husband learned Modern Greek, so he could learn ancient Greek and read it in its entirety in its original format!
I formed a habit years ago to read 1) all of “The Best of” books, fiction & non fiction, and 2) to at least read the winners of all the awards, not only Hugo & Nebula, but the Pulitzer for fiction and non fiction, the Booker, and many more. Now I’ve added the Independent Book Awards. But I don’t limit it to other people’s opinions. I love to hunt bookstores to this day.
Q: What’s “magpunk”? Are there other authors writing in that genre?
A: The short answer:
If I was showing the Renaissance history with steam engines, it would be considered Steampunk.
If I was showing it with advanced sciences–information technology and cybernetics–it would be Cyberpunk.
It’s magic in history with the punk attitude of the 80s.
The longer answer:
I’m showing magic that could–and in some cases did–exist. The Renaissance was very big on magic. Magic was the worldview as science is our worldview. This was the time of John Dee who had a companion who talked with angels. John was a consultant to Queen Elizabeth I and visited other kings and queens. He had notebooks about magic, a complete system of Renaissance Magic, including Planetary spirits, Zodiacial spirits, and the spirits of the Four Quarters as well as Dee’s famous 48 Angelic Keys. It’s published today as “The Enochian Evocation of Dr. John Dee.”
Also, I answer the question: Why did people believe in witches? Because they really existed, of course!
As for other authors, there will be more authors calling their works “magpunk.” I’ve talked with several authors who, when I mentioned magpunk, said, “Yes! That’s what my story is.”
Q: Why did you choose the mid-1600s for your historical epic? Why not a different time period?
A: First, it’s one of the strongest Witch Burnings Times.
Next, it’s the time period leading up to one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in European history, and one of the longest continuous wars in modern history, The Thirty Years’ War. As a teenager, I wondered why Catholics and Protestants were killing each other in Ireland. I find out why by writing these books–and you won’t believe the answer! The answer is in this first book.
But also because some of the most fascinating, larger-than-life characters lived then. A lot of them we Americans don’t know, or don’t know well.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your path to getting published? What advice do you have for hoping-to-be-published authors?
A: My path isn’t any different than most. There was no manuscript tossed in the garbage that Hubby found and will be coming to a movie theater near you soon.
I was beginning to write a mystery and asked Muse about the prosecutor protagonist. Up came images of Samantha Stephens and her mother Endora floating by the coach. (I loved those Bewitched TV reruns!) Oh Boy, I thought, I’m in Trouble here! When I started writing it, Muse insisted I research that protagonist’s prior life as Sidonia the Sorceress. Outline.
I’m an outliner to the Nth degree. It’s a much better book because of it.
Q: Here at Bookstore Bookblogger Connection, we love good old fashioned bookstores. What’s a great experience you had at a bookstore? Can you tell us a little bit about your current favorite bookstore?
A: I have lived in bookstores all my life. Growing up in St. Petersburg we had (still have!) Haslams. At the time it was owned and operated by an older couple who loved books. They allowed that love to grow in me by letting me browse for hours. My favorite independent bookstore was sold out recently. It used to have a vegetarian lunch place. My friends and I used to go there. The other is Wild Iris, “last feminist bookstore in the state of Florida.” My latest find there: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars By Ian Doescher. (I’m not kidding!) Doescher’s parody is a retelling of George Lucas’s epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon.
<This interview was on: BookStore-BookBlogger Connection>