I recently saw a tweet about Amber Argyle's debut novel, WITCH SONG, and decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did! I really enjoyed this young adult novel and am pleased to host its author today. Welcome, Amber!
Who or what inspired you to write?
I grew up saying I wanted to be an author. But success was so significant to me that I didn’t—simply because the thought of failure was just too devastating. Then came my second son. He suffered from colic, often crying and fussing for 18 hours a day. By the time he was three months old, I was in a VERY dark place. Writing is what got me out of it.
What is Witch Song about?
Witch song is a fun quest by land and sea, and also a journey of the heart. A girl who grew up as an outcast discovers she is a powerful witch and a leader--and takes on the task of freeing her fellow witches to bring peace to a ravaged world. Senna's power comes from her voice---but she learns it also comes from within.~JoLynne Lyon (used by permission)
Who’s your favorite character, and why?
My main character’s love interest, Joshen. He’s easy going and like most teenage boys, loves to eat just about anything that holds still long enough. He’s also loyal and compassionate to a fault. The kind of guy anybody would want to be friends with. He's the kind of guy that gets hotter every time you see him.
Who’s the most challenging character to write?
My MC, Brusenna. It’s really hard to write a shy heroine. Because the heroine has to MOVE the story, not hang out in the background. And because I’m kinda the opposite of shy. More like that really annoying person who wants to chat with you at the checkout line. Talk about drawing from hidden reserves.
What inspired you to write about witches?
The whole concept of the book came to me with one line: I am a witch. I got all tingly and the plotting gears started spinning. I sat down to write and write and write. I finished the whole first draft in a month. Of course, as anyone who writes a book knows, the first draft is less than an 1/8th of the work involved in creating a book.
Please provide a favorite excerpt from your book:
The Witches in WITCH SONG aren't your average Witches. Their songs control nature—storms, season changes, plants. Here’s an excerpt that shows Brusenna (Senna) controlling nature:
As she’d seen her mother do so long ago, Senna spread her arms and sang, “Wind, lift me high, that my words reach to’rds the sky.” The violent wind slowed, like a herd of raging colts pricking their ears to listen to her song. She sang again. Slowly, it bent and began circling her. As she continued the song, it became a lazy whirlwind that twisted her hair up and made the trees at the edge of the circle sway as if entranced. The air thickened, tentatively testing her weight.
She sang one last time. And this time, the wind lifted her. Her feet dangled above the ground. “Higher,” she sang. The wind obeyed, twirling her skyward as easily as a handful of dandelion fluff. She didn’t stop until she could see the churning sea beyond the island walls.
When she’d reached the apex, the wind carried her voice over the world, “Though Espen’s curse that nature break, I beg of thee hold thy stake. Seasons stay in thy place, winds blow in pace. Weather hold thy climes, plants keep thy times. Not to break but bend. Until at end, I bring thee mend.” She repeated the song over and over again, until her words came through her throat raw and her voice broke.
When she could sing no more, the wind hesitated, as if loath to part with her. She hung suspended, watching the boiling seas and raging storm settle. She looked for any sign of a struggling ship, some proof she wasn’t completely alone, but there was nothing but the empty sea.
She wished she could stop the storm completely. But though the strength of her songs had grown, Espen was stronger. Much stronger. But as long as the other witches resisted, Espen couldn’t have total control.
The wind set Senna gently down. “Thank thee wind, for heading my call. For holding strong, so I did not fall.” She waited as it slowly faded, caressing her face one last time before retreating all together and leaving only the ever constant thunder and rain.
And another that shows Senna using her song to use the plants as weapons:
The dogs streaked through the trees, their baying increasing to a fevered pitch as their quarry came into view. Reaching inside her pouch, Senna drew a Barrier Seed. She forced a hole in the soil and pressed the seed down. “Back up,” she said, gripping Joshen’s arm and pulled. As she moved, she sang, “Take in light, take in air; spread thy roots, thy leaves grow fair.”
She kept repeating the song over and over. A green shoot burst from the earth. Within moments, it was taller than Joshen. “Just a few more songs,” she thought. But the first dog sprang past the tree. Joshen swung the tree branch, catching the dog in the ribs. With a yelp, it backed out of his reach and barked like mad.
Too late to grow it to full maturity! Senna’s song changed into something deeper and darker. This wasn’t a song, so much as a chant. She cringed at the animosity and menace in her voice, “Let nothing pass.” The other dogs slowed, sensing the danger, but not understanding it.
They didn’t have time to do more than flinch as the tree’s branches wrenched them from the ground. Barks of excitement changed to howls of terror as they writhed to free themselves. But the tree didn’t even pause as it flung them back in the direction they’d come. Tail between their legs, the others fled—terror plain in their wild eyes.
Where can readers find you and your book?
I recommend WITCH SONG and am looking forward to the next book, WITCH BORN. Thank you, Amber!