I love a good book about witches, so I am so excited to have Cory Putman Oakes on the blog today to chat about her new novel Witchtown, which is hitting bookshelves on Tuesday!
Author: Cory Putman Oakes
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
When sixteen-year-old Macie O’Sullivan and her masterfully manipulative mother Aubra arrive at the gates of Witchtown—the most famous and mysterious witch-only haven in the world—they have one goal in mind: to rob it for all it’s worth.
But that plan derails when Macie and Aubra start to dig deeper into Witchtown’s history and uncover that there is more to the quirky haven than meets the eye.
Exploring the haven by herself, Macie finds that secrets are worth more than money in Witchtown.
Secrets have their own power.
Q&A with Cory Putman Oakes
I LOVE the idea of a witch-only haven. Are there any real-world locations that helped inspire that idea?
Oh I wish!! Designing Witchtown was definitely a guilty pleasure for me – I got super into it (probably more than I really needed to!) but it was just so much fun! It was important to me that, for all of its magical qualities, Witchtown read as a real place. So I did all kinds of weird research on population demographics (like, how many people in the town would be married, single, divorced, living alone, kids, etc), different green building methods (I can tell you way more than you probably want to know about Witchtown’s sewage treatment plant!), and what sort of businesses a town of this size would likely have. I channeled all of that into the character of the Mayor. There’s a little bit of me in her – if only because we both know way too much about the details of this town!
It sounds like this story is absolutely brimming with quirky and interesting characters, which one was your favorite to write and why?
I think I have to say Aubra – the main character’s mother. Which is kind of odd, because I’ve never been the type of writer who really relishes writing villains. I enjoy writing heroes more. But Aubra was different. There’s something really freeing about writing a character who has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. She’s just awful in every conceivable way and that was very fun to put on the page. It was also strangely personal in that Aubra’s a mom, and I’m a mom, but let’s just say we have different ideas about parenthood. So taking what I would do in a given situation and warping it into what Aubra would do was extremely weird, but fun!
Witch books are so much fun to read. What are some of your favorite YA/MG books with witches in them?
I read Roald Dahl’s The Witches when I was young and it was one of those stories that had a really big impact on me. The part where someone was cursed to spend the rest of their life inside of a painting was very vivid for me – it was a horrible thought, yet, how cool to be inside a painting? And I loved the idea that there was this secret, underground society that walked around unnoticed among the “normal people.” I still love those kind of stories – ones that are contemporary except for a hint of something magic beneath the surface. That’s what I wanted to achieve with Witchtown – only with witches who are slightly less excited about turning children into mice!
I also love Practical Magic (Alice Hoffman), the Wicked books (Gregory Maguire), the Dark is Rising (and its sequels – by Susan Cooper) . . . oh there’s so many great witch books out there!
If you could have the ability cast any spell from Witchtown which one would it be?
Ohhh that’s a cool question. There’s one spell that Macie and her two friends (Talya and Kellen) cast in order to trap a ghost so they could talk to him. That one would be pretty interesting to do in real life! If I ever move into a haunted house, I’m definitely going to try it.
Since this is a book about witches, I have to ask the most important question of all, which Hogwarts house do you belong to?
Ha! Well, on Pottermore I’m a Gryffindor. But I just took that Time quiz everybody was talking about on Twitter (the one that’s supposed to be the “ultimate” sorting test) and I got Ravenclaw! I’m not sure what to do with that information! Honestly though, I’d take any house that would have me. I’m a huge, unabashed Potterhead. Right now I’m struggling with when to introduce the books to my daughter. She’s seven right now and I’m terrified she won’t love them the way I do. It would be very hard to have to disown her, you know, so I keep putting it off . . . 🙂
About Cory Putman Oakes
Sometime around sixth grade, Cory was forced to face the sad truth that being a heroine in a Tamora Pierce, Robin McKinley, or Madeleine L’Engle book was not, in fact, a valid future career choice. But since she thought it might be almost as much fun to grow up to be Tamora Pierce, Robin McKinley, or Madeleine L’Engle, she decided to do just that. She’s still working on it.
Cory’s path to being an author did not go in a straight line. There was the whole “maybe-I’ll-be-a-psychologist” thing (just on the side, until the writing took off) which led her to UCLA and an eventual B.A. in Psychology. Then there was the “maybe-I’ll-be-a-lawyer” thing (just on the side, until the writing took off) which led her to Cornell Law School, a J.D., and a year of working as a litigation associate at Sullivan & Cromwell. There was also a brief “maybe-I’ll-teach-law” phase (just on the . . . well, you know) where she taught business law to undergraduates at Texas State University.
But the writing thing was a bug that she just couldn’t shake, and she officially made her sixth grade dream come true in 2011, with her debut young adult novel, THE VEIL. Cory’s debut middle grade, DINOSAUR BOY, came out from Sourcebooks in February of 2015 and it’s sequel, DINOSAUR BOY SAVES MARS, launched in February 2016. Cory’s next young adult novel, WITCHTOWN, will come out from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers on July 18, 2017.
Cory lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Mark (who, luckily for all concerned, decided to stick with the whole “maybe-I’ll-be-a-lawyer” thing), their two kids, and their pets. In addition to writing, Cory enjoys running, cooking, and hanging out with her family. She is proud to be represented by Sarah LaPolla of Bradford Literary Agency. Photo by Sam Bond Photography
Enter the Giveaway!
3 winners will receive a hardcover of WITCHTOWN! US Only.
Follow the Blog Tour!
Thanks so much to Rockstar Book Tours for hosting this tour! Be sure to check out their website here as well as the other amazing posts on this tour!
7/10/2017- Brittany’s Book Rambles– Interview
7/11/2017- Book Briefs– Review
7/12/2017- Always Me– Guest Post
7/13/2017- The Blonde Bookworm– Review
7/14/2017- YA and Wine– Interview
7/17/2017- Savings in Seconds– Review
7/18/2017- Wandering Bark Books– Guest Post
7/19/2017- Eli to the nth– Review
7/20/2017- Don’t Judge, Read– Review
7/21/2017- YA Book Madness– Interview
Will you be reading Witchtown when it hits shelves on Tuesday? What is your favorite witchy YA book?