My ideas about vampires may be romantic, but your attitudes toward women need a major overhaul.
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed (Albert Einstein)
I'm entranced by Amanda Lovelace's work. She wrote two wonderful books, 'The Princess Saves Herself in This One' and 'The Witch Doesn't Burn in This One.' You can feel your heart opening because she says things that you thought only you felt.
I re-read the books I assign to my students. Each time I do, I learn something new.
After finishing 'The Book of Life,' I needed a bit of a break from the Bishops and de Clermonts. Honestly, I wasn't sure when - or even if! - they would capture all of my attention again.
Often, in books, I find female power to be cartoonish - power is a process, an evolution - it has responsibilities. It's not as simple as picking up your lightning bolt and throwing it at someone.
I couldn't resist hiding some historical details and a few clues relevant to the plot and characters of 'A Discovery of Witches' throughout the pages of the novel.
I think you can learn a lot from primary sources. 'The Penguin Book of Witches,' which is edited by novelist Katherine Howe, is a wonderful compilation of primary sources about witchcraft.
Once upon a time, about 10 years ago, I thought maybe I could write a mystery series about a midwife in Elizabethan England. I had an elaborately convoluted title and an elaborately convoluted plotline, and at that point I got stupendously bored.
I'm a storyteller, and I have really good material to work with: I've been studying magic and the occult since about 1983.
Films are wonderful but they do fix an identity. I can't read 'Pride and Prejudice' anymore, for instance, without imaging Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy.
As a historian, I love every little detail, but whole long passages about wood paneling and journeys on horseback and every stop at every inn had to go out the window. I decided the history in the books should be like spice in a soup - a little went a long way. Like cilantro.
I never had a plan to be a fiction writer. It's something that happened to me. Sometimes I think maybe it was my spectacular mid-life crisis. Some people buy expensive cars, and I wrote a novel.
My niece was very much caught up in the vampire craze for young adults, and she thought having a vampire boyfriend would be a cool thing. What do you do on a first date? The more I thought about it, the more fun I had imagining what you'd serve a vampire for dinner.
The occult sciences were simply ancient technologies for making the occult or unseen manifest in the world - whether that was the influence of the stars and planets, the mysterious meanings of lines inscribed in your palm, or forms of action at a distance like magic and spells.
There is a lot of talk in the academy about the death of the humanities. Based on my readers' response and their interest in history and literature and art, the death of the humanities has been grossly overstated.
We live in a world where we think the mysterious is retreating farther and farther from our lives and eventually we will know all there is to know. I love the idea that somehow, there are still things that can be magical.
The plain truth is that the period I study is the 16th century, and they were absolutely obsessed with witches and spiritual beings.
I teach 18- to 21-year-olds - the 'Harry Potter' generation. They grew up as voracious readers, reading books in this exploding genre. But at some point, I would love for them to give Umberto Eco or A.S. Byatt a try. I hope 'A Discovery of Witches' will serve as a kind of stepping-stone.