As a newbie to the Indie-author scene, it can be pretty daunting to come across someone like JT Lawrence. Janita Thiele Lawrence is a Joburg based author – and mother of 3. Not only does she write, she is also owns a book dealership, Pulp Books. Janita and I frequent the same online writers group and I’m always just in plain awe of how hard she works and how driven she is. When Janita asked who in the group would be keen to read her new novel, I signed up. Mainly, I just had to know what her writing was like. And WOW – I didn’t just read Grey Magic, I gobbled it up over a weekend and fell in love with a female witch! Seriously, I have not had this hard a crush on a paranormal character since Edward in the Twilight series.
After reading Grey Magic, I knew I just had to get to know JT better. I invited her to be interviewed for my blog, and as always, it’s a treat to talk to other writers about their work.
CP: I loved GREY MAGIC so much! What inspired the story?
JT: I’m so glad! I’ve always loved the idea of everyday magic, and am fascinated by modern-day witches (and horrified by stories of witch hunts, past and present). I wrote a short story to explore the idea of a witch who lives by her own set of morals, who isn’t dictated to by others, and enjoyed it so much that it turned into a novel.
CP: Raven is such a chaotic and complicated mess, with the best of intentions, and yet…she constantly finds herself in trouble (from all sides), in what way can you identify with Raven?
JT: Like Raven, I try to live by my own rules and subvert the status quo when it’s not working for me. Forging a career in indie publishing is part of that disruption: when I realised that gatekeepers were keeping me from my dream job of being an author, I decided to make my own way through the porthole. Regarding Raven being a hot mess, well, life is chaotic and complicated, isn’t it? And I wouldn’t have it any other way!
CP: I loved the plot line of the connection between Raven’s grandmother, who was also a witch and th e priest – will there be a second book exploring that?
JT: I’m planning a 5-book series for Grey Magic, a book for each element. I have a feeling we’ll definitely be revisiting their relationship.
CP: What scene in the book did you have the most satisfaction writing?
JT: The ending! It was a such a relief that (most) people survived. I also loved writing the Viking and Medieval past lives. I’d never tried writing any kind of historical fiction before and I really enjoyed it.
CP: Tell me about how you did your research for the book?
JT: I read loads of books on witches, and the history and practice of witchcraft. The most interesting of all was ‘The Spiral Dance’ by Starhawk which I found absolutely fascinating. I identified with so much in the book, especially her special brand of feminism, which is inherent to neopagan beliefs.
CP: Do have a book playlist, like some authors do?
JT: I listen to white noise while I write, for minimum distraction. Rain or thunderstorms, depending on my mood.
CP: So do I! This one is my favourite:
CP: How does it feel, knowing your book is such a sensation on Amazon?
JT: It’s wonderful! When Amazon chose it as a Hot New Release I was absolutely thrilled. Still kind of pinching myself now as it continues to sell. Talk about everyday magic!
CP: When you are not writing, what kind of books do you like reading?
JT: I read everything. I especially love books that feed my brain: interesting facts, new perspectives, or just plain delicious storylines.
CP: Tell me about the cover design (I know there’s a story behind this).
JT: Last year I was completely over committed: I tend to set almost near impossible deadlines so that I can meet my ambitious publishing schedule. I also run a business and have three kids under 5! So I had a deadline and a new baby and serious sleep-dep so my secret weapon (my husband) offered to design the cover for me. He’s a talented man!
CP: Any new projects on the horizon?
JT: I’m relaunching my futuristic thriller, ‘Why You Were Taken’, at the end of the month, then releasing the sequel, ‘How We Found You’, in May. The SABC has optioned it for a radio serial so I’ll be working on that, too. I’m busy planning the third book in the series and I’m starting to get excited/terrified, as I always do before a first draft. As for Raven Kane, I’d like to write four more in the series, a book for each element (and there are five in wicca).
GET A FREE COPY OF HER BOOK ‘WHY YOU WERE TAKEN’
You can visit JT Lawrence’s website here – and take advantage of her free book offer!
CP: If you could be stuck in a lift with any author, who would it be? What would you dare ask?
JT: This is such a tough one! I guess it would have to be JK Rowling because I just admire her so much. I would ask her what her One True Thing is.
CP: Thank you for taking the time to chat to me! It was lovely getting to know you.