Witch’s Brew, Spellspinners Series #1

A contemporary young adult series about a modern day witch who must betray everything she knows to save her magic and her forbidden love.

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Synopsis

The Spellspinners of Melas County is a fantasy YA romance series about a witch, a warlock, and their fight for their forbidden but prophesized love.

Once soulmates, the witch and warlock covens of the California coast have been estranged for a century. Raised to hate each other, their teenagers meet in the Solstice Stones, a magical battleground where they draw energy from each other to maintain their balance. 16 year olds Logan and Lily have spent years training for their first Stones…only to discover just days before that the enemy may not be what either of them had thought.

In Witch’s Brew, Lily is torn between her feelings for Logan and her coven’s need to know who—or what—he is. The young lovers race against time, their distrust for each other, and the powerful influence of their elders, to unravel the mystery of their pasts before their future is destroyed.

What’s Cool from Coliloquy:  In Witch’s Brew, Lily and Logan’s fate is already decided, but Heidi explores several different possible pathways for how they get there. She shares scenes that wouldn’t normally fit in a book format and gives readers more precious moments between the two young lovers. As the series progresses, you’ll see some normal narrative forms, interspersed with smaller scenes, alternate points of view, and a lot of “what if” scenarios.

Excerpt

Logan and I immediately stepped into each other’s orbit as if we were a planet and a moon with no other choice. Our arms were swinging together like two pendulums in sync. When my fingers accidentally grazed his, I felt his whole body–all tense energy–snap like a rubber band. Logan quickly stuffed his hands in his pockets, leaving me offended and nonsensically disappointed.

I stepped out of his orbit. I don’t like you, either.

“Untrue,” he said aloud with an eyebrow raised.

He was Reading me again.

“Well, I wish it were true.”

“No, you don’t. Remember, Lily”–he leaned into me–“I can Hear your every thought. Even when you try to block me.”

“No, you can’t.”

“Yes. I can.”

Logan resumed walking. I wanted to fill the silence, but didn’t know how. Didn’t know if I should try. He made it nearly impossible to stay on guard. It was the being around him, the vulnerability hidden behind his hard-eyed mask, the joking tone in his voice, the way he looked at me when he thought I wasn’t looking—he was just the opposite of someone I could manipulate. And anyway, making nice did get me ample opportunity to get closer to him, and closer meant an opportunity to catch him off guard, and later…

“Later what?”

“Stop it!” I pulled on my hair, and he elbowed me playfully, leaning his hip into mine and bending so close I could paint the dark of his eyelashes. “You aren’t supposed to talk to me in public. You can’t just approach me in broad daylight and start flirting like crazy–”

He pulled back, surprised. “I’m not flirting. I’ve been on my best behavior. My very best behavior.”

Flustered I stopped, cupped my hips with my palms, feeling the heat radiating where his bone had touched my skin moments before. “Right. You’ve been talking about milkshakes.”

“Exactly,” he held his palms up like I was pointing a sword at and he was surrendering. “Totally innocent of any kind of flirtation.”

I rolled my eyes, and walked over to sit on a bench and look at the sea. Immediately, he followed, sitting cautiously next to me. It was an incredible feeling, Logan’s energy so close to mine. His magic was so strong. Like nothing I’d experienced before.

Heat radiated from his body, and I knew what was coming. Scanning down his arm—his black tank top didn’t hide much—his ink appeared, running down his biceps, his forearms.

I couldn’t decipher the pattern, but it was stunningly brilliant in design. More than art, more than language. More like a message. A code.

Rubbing his arm, he noticed me noticing. Of course he noticed me noticing. There was no way not to notice. Me noticing. His sweat made the ink glisten. Then abruptly he untied the sweatshirt from around his waist and shrugged into it, pulling the black hood up and over his head.

Did he not want to admit I caused his ink to rise?

Then the windows closed; I’d reached in too far. Logan hopped off the bench, long strides crisscrossing in front of me with an old-fashioned almost cowboy-like swagger as he walked up to the wooden railing. Stared out at the sea.

I studied his face; the side of his etched jaw.

He waited until I was next to him, as if he knew I’d come.

Our forearms touching skin on skin, we both stared out at the sea.

“Since we met, everything’s been different. Heightened. I’m risking things I would never have before. Like this now. Talking to you here.”

“Why are you going along with it?”

So many reasons.

Because it feels good.

Because I want to.

Because for once in my life, I’m making my own choices.

“Because I like you,” I said.

Smiling shyly, he looked down. “I told you.”

Author

Heidi R. Kling earned her MFA in Writing for Children from the New School, and is the author of multiple-award nominated novel Sea (Putnam/2010). She’s published short stories and essays to anthologies Truth & Dare (UK/US), The Visitor’s Guide to Mystic Falls (Smart Pop), and The First Time.  Heidi loves to obsess over young adult lit and pop culture, so make her day by visiting her on heidirkling.tumblr.com or on Twitter at @heidirkling. She lives with her family in Palo Alto, CA, near the real Black Mountain and coastal towns much like Melas County. She hasn’t spotted a warlock in real life. Yet.

Author Q and A

Lisa:  First of all, I have to say that I CAN’T BELIEVE the ending of Witch’s Brew! “A bruise that cannot be erased…” So so devastating. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but…

Heidi:  I know…that scene was truly gut-wrenching to write, but also so exhilarating! Book Two, The Gleaning, deals with the aftermath and how to move forward, and without spoiling, it’s so exciting (and emotional) to write.

Lisa:  But you have a choice — You’re the writer.

Heidi:  Yes, that’s true, but as I write, the characters become real. They take my hand and lead me to where they want to go. All of my characters have nuances—each one is a balancing light and dark.  It would be unrealistic to only see the good or only the wicked. I love exploring the grey areas.

Lisa:  Tell us a little about the characters.

Heidi:  Lily is our heroine. She is a 16-year-old witch, and is the eldest daughter of a powerful Melas County (Melas is Salem spelled backward) witch named Iris. All of female Spellspinners are named after flowers, and have a scent to match their name that only warlocks and fellow witches can detect. Lily was named the leader of the Daughters of Light  (the witches), and feels an intense responsibility to maintain coven rules (which are very strict: i.e. no dating, no junk food etc.) The witches practice white or light magic. Lily has special gifts that the other witches don’t possess: namely “Breathing” the gift to breathe underwater. The teen witches attend public school and blend in with the human world, though they practice their magic in secret.

Logan is our hero. He is a sixteen-year old warlock who is the adopted son of Jacob, the nefarious master of the warlock academy. Logan showed up on the doorstep of the academy when he was around three years old, and under Jacob’s cruel hand has excelled at the practice of dark arts. Like Lily, Logan has special talents the other warlocks don’t possess. The warlocks—also coined Sons of Darkness—live outside the human world in a clandestine gothic/modern mansion on the boundaries of Melas County. Logan has Celtic symbols tattooed on his arms, back and chest that appear magically when he’s stirred or provoked.

Lisa:  What inspired you to write this story?

Heidi:  Star-crossed lover stories are my favorite—I’ve been wanted to write one, but wanted to explore something that hadn’t been done before. I came up with the idea of modern day witches and warlocks who were estranged because of long ago crimes their ancestors committed, and now, a hundred years later, are confused about the curse, and more importantly, frustrated as to why their generation must pay the price. I think that theme is something every teen can relate to…and there’s nothing hotter than an angsty young warlock and the girl who suddenly can’t live without him! Writing about spells and magic and curses (not to mention all of this through the eyes of such sexy, complex characters) is a blast!

Lisa:  One of the things I love about Witch’s Brew is that you give us different pathways in Lily and Logan’s love story. Is it a lot of pressure to write different permutations of their relationship? Or freeing to be able to explore those different scenes?

Heidi:  Not gonna lie, it’s challenging! But it’s also such a dynamic and fascinating challenge. Our feelings for people can change on a whim depending on an action or a misinterpreted word. Lily and Logan are born enemies so for them EVERYTHING is a fresh challenge.

Lisa:  I’m also obsessed with Logan and his ink. It’s a visually stunning metaphor. How do you come up with something so original?

Heidi:  Thank you! I find tattoos very sexy and the meaning behind them even more so. Rarely do you find someone who got a tattoo with little or no meaning behind it. I also love the way guys hide their emotions and let their true feelings show in these gestures that are so touching: a hand on your forearm, a look into your eye, a shy smile. With Logan, his ink reveals the feelings he’s been trained to avoid. Only someone who truly loves you will show you that part he keeps vulnerable, keeps hidden from public view—his rage, anger, frustration, as well as love and lust. Plus, it’s just super hot.

Lisa:  Indeed. Who will love this book?

Heidi:  I see The Spellspinners of Melas County as very much a cross-over series, speaking to both teenage and adult women. However, I also wanted the series to be accessible for male readers, so part of the story is presented from Logan’s POV. There’s just not enough material for boys that isn’t focused on action and violence. Just like Lily, Logan deals with common teen issues of identity, family, friendship, and love. I like that this series gives boys a window into those very real experiences.