Today I’m very excited to be hosting an interview with debut author Lea Nolan as part of the CONJURE blog tour. Keep reading to learn more about the book and Lea! Make sure you visit the other tour stops for more guest posts, interviews, excerpts and more!
Series: The Hoodoo Apprentice, Book 1
Release: 12 October 2012
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Be careful what you search for…
Emma Guthrie expects this summer to be like any other in the South Carolina Lowcountry–hot and steamy with plenty of beach time alongside her best friend and secret crush, Cooper Beaumont, and Emma’s ever-present twin brother, Jack. But then a mysterious eighteenth-century message in a bottle surfaces, revealing a hidden pirate bounty. Lured by the adventure, the trio discovers the treasure and unwittingly unleashes an ancient Gullah curse that attacks Jack with the wicked flesh-eating Creep and promises to steal Cooper’s soul on his approaching sixteenth birthday.
When a strange girl appears, bent on revenge; demon dogs become a threat; and Jack turns into a walking skeleton; Emma has no choice but to learn hoodoo magic to undo the hex, all before summer—and her friends–are lost forever.
INTERVIEW WITH LEA NOLAN
Please give a warm welcome to Lea, who has kindly agreed to answer a few questions about getting her book to publication, her inspiration for the story and her desert island read!
Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Daphne. It’s a pleasure to be here!
Thanks for being on the blog Lea! Tell me, what did you do to celebrate when your book was picked up by Entangled Teen?
My husband and I went out to dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant in Annapolis, Maryland. They make an amazing dish with sautéed shrimp, chick peas, and escarole in a white wine sauce. It is divine. And now my mouth is watering!
You’re definitely making my mouth water too, that sounds yum. So, what was the toughest thing about getting your book from draft to the final story?
Being patient! Bringing a book to publication takes a long time. There are many steps along the way and lots of people involved so nothing happens overnight. But I had great beta readers and a fantastic editor who helped push me to make the story bigger and better. All that extra effort was worth it.
It was definitely worth it. I was really intrigued by the premise to your story. What inspired you to write about Gullah culture and hoodoo?
Before I knew the story would involve the Gullah and hoodoo, I knew it had something to do with pirates. That plot point came from a fast food kid meal bag. There’s a restaurant here called Chick Fil-A that prints little facts on their packaging. My daughter read one aloud as we drove down the road: “Pirates used to send messages in a bottle.” That got me thinking about why a pirate would do such a thing. The answer was obvious (at least to me): His ship and crew were in trouble, and they were probably cursed. Armed with that information, I started to research where pirates were most active off the American coast during the 18-century. That quickly led me to South Carolina’s Sea Islands where I already knew the Gullah lived. I’d studied them in collage as a history major and was always fascinated by their distinct language and culture. So I did a little more digging and quickly learned about their folk magic which is called hoodoo. It was so cool, I knew those elements had to be included in the book.
There is a lot of herb lore in the book. Do you like plants? How much research did you have to do?
I do like plants and I have a fairly nice garden, but that’s mostly due to my husband’s hard work. Most of the plants featured in Conjure are species native to the southeastern region of the US and aren’t likely to show up in a typical home garden. I did a lot of research on hoodoo medicine and magic, but I mostly benefited from the exhaustive work done by two writers in particular. Catherine Yronwode’s Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic: A Materia Magica of African-American Conjure and Faith Mitchell’s Hoodoo Medicine: Gullah Herbal Remedies are extremely informative and did most of the heavy lifting for me. If you’re interested in Hoodoo root work, I highly recommend these great resources.
Thanks for the recommendations! Now, Emma and Jack spend every summer on the island and love it. Did you have a favourite place to holiday when you were a kid?
Unfortunately we didn’t have enough money to take a vacation every summer, but I was lucky enough to live on the north shore of Long Island, NY in a house that over looked the Long Island Sound. As a young teen, I spent most of my summers at the beach. It was idyllic. My memories of that beach informed Emma and Jack’s experience.
That sounds really beautiful, and it translated beautifully to Emma’s feelings about the island. And since we’re on the topic of islands, if you were stranded on a deserted one, what book would you take with you and why?
I’d bring a compendium of Shakespeare’s complete works and read it over and over again. I can’t think of a better way to pass the time and I’d learn a lot!
Thanks again, I loved stopping by!
I loved having you, thank you again for letting us know a bit more about you and your book!
About LEA NOLAN:
Find Lea on:
Believe it or not, Lea couldn’t read until she was in the third grade. After a lot of hard work she finally got the hang of it, and quickly learned the best way to get out of doing chores was to tell her parents she was reading. Soon she was hooked, devouring books by Roald Dahl, E.B. White, Judy Blume, C.S. Lewis, and anything she could find with a shiny Newberry Award sticker on the cover. Books provided a portal to enchanted lands where anything was possible and characters relied on their wits to wiggle out of sticky situations. Today, even though she’s all grown up, Ishe writes the kinds of stories she sought as a teen — smart paranormals with bright heroines, crazy-hot heroes, diabolical plot twists, plus a dose of magic, a draft of romance, and a sprinkle of history. She’s got an undergraduate degree in history and a master’s in public policy and women’s studies, which believe it or not, helps a lot in her fiction writing. She lives in Maryland with her heroically supportive husband and three clever children, who’ve figured out how to get out of doing their chores.