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.
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.
The plain truth is that the period I study is the 16th century, and they were absolutely obsessed with witches and spiritual beings.
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.
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.
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.