Firstly, I love the cover. Did you have a hand in its design? Can you share a little bit about what choices went into its creation?
Thanks! I also love the cover. It was designed by Dave Johnson, who also did the cover for Shadows. Dave is one of those artists who actually reads the book first and then comes up with a few concepts that Adele Wearing, my publisher, and I get to choose from. He gives us loads of different options and all of them tend to be amazing, which makes choosing incredibly difficult. If Adele and I have trouble making a decision we get him to wade into the conversation. His input always seems to make perfect sense and makes the decision process somewhat easier. But what is great, is that I get to make the final pick.
With Burning we’d whittled it down to two choices. The one with the tarot card - the lovers, which was the final cover. The other had a ceremonial dagger and was far darker. In the end we all felt that the burning tarot card was just more representative of the book and the story.
I think we made the right choice. It’s a stunning image and makes for a wonderful cover.
Can you tell us a little bit about how your witches operate? What do you love about writing witches?
What’s not to love about witches? Witches are awesome and under-utilised in horror fiction. The witches in my story are not the all-powerful ones you often see in fiction. These are your run-of-the-mill kitchen witches and wicca practitioners who dabble with forces they can’t control and get their fingers burnt, quite literally.
Who is Marcie Grove? Was she always a witch? Is this something she had to have a talent for?
Marcie Grove is a nurse and a witch searching for more profound magical experience. She wants to experience true power and goes looking for it within the pages of an old magical text. She’s also lonely and horny which, let’s face it, often leads to very bad decisions. She wasn’t always a witch; she found wicca and witchcraft later in her life. She’s not a powerful magical being. She isn’t supernatural in any shape of form. She’s just a normal woman dabbling with magic.
Were there any scenes that were particularly tricky to write?
Yes! The sex scenes. I always find sex scenes difficult to write. I never know how graphic to go or where to gloss over things. I also think finding a balance with sex scenes is difficult. You don’t want it just to be a blow-by-blow description or one of those badly written sex scenes where you can see that the author was uncomfortable writing it, or one of those overly romanticised sex scenes which make you want to throw up just a little bit.
What are some of the underlying themes in your story?
I think the themes at the heart of the story are sexuality, obsession, and addiction.
The coven surrounded the altar. The flames from the tiki torches flickered in the breeze. The circle had been cast and the quarters called. Ghosts began to gather at the edge of the circle. Sandra's Shaman with dreadlocks down his back stood beside Raven, who held the ancient tomb open at the requisite ritual. Marianne, the midwife, stood in front of Marcie, holding her knees apart. Greg stood next to the altar holding Marcie’s hand while another contraction wrenched her insides. A scream erupted from her core. It was all wrong. This was not how her vision had looked. The Shaman had not been there and Greg had been outside the circle. Marianne had not been there to help her give birth. It was all terribly wrong.
What if it wasn’t all wrong? A voice at the back of her mind penetrated through the pain. What if this was how it was supposed to be? What if the vision was just one alternative future she had seen? What if this was right? What if this was the only way she and the baby would survive? Hope flooded through her. She grabbed onto the feeling with both hands. It was like nectar to a person dying of thirst in the desert. But the feeling of hope dwindled with another contraction that made her feel as though her body was splitting in two.
Blood flooded the altar.
way to mess with her already screwed up characters.
Joan is interested in some seriously weird stuff. That’s probably also one of the reasons she writes horror.
Joan is deep, dark and seriously twisted and so is her writing.
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