If you pay attention to bookish things, you may have been seeing Deborah Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches, well, pretty much everywhere! We’re thrilled to have Deborah taking a spin around the dance floor today. Stick around after the interview for a chance to win a copy for your very own.
Deborah Harkness is a professor of history at the University of Southern California. Though she has written two non-fiction books, her first novel, A Discovery of Witches, came out on February 8 in the US and the UK.
The novel tells the story of a reluctant witch who discovers a lost alchemical manuscript at Oxford’s Bodleian Library—and finds herself unexpectedly at the center of an ancient struggle between daemons, humans, vampires, and witches. The one creature she can trust is an enigmatic geneticist named Matthew Clairmont who has been looking for this manuscript for a long, long time.
Deborah Harkness takes the Deb Interview!
Who is one of your favorite (fictional or non-fictional) characters?
Amy March in Little Women. I know, everybody likes Jo. But I always thought Amy was the take-no-prisoners sister among the March girls.
Talk about one thing that’s making you happy right now.
Meeting readers. It is amazing when a stranger shares how much they like someone who I’ve imagined into existence. To have someone else connect powerfully to a figment of my imagination is a kick. (This doesn’t happen to historians, by the way. Nobody rushes up to you after reading your article to say, “I love what you did with Isaac Newton.”)
Where do you love to be?
When I’m not at home, my favorite place on earth is Duke Humfrey’s Reading Room in the Bodleian Library. I love its age, how it smells, the hush. Everything. It really is the most magical place on earth to me.
Tell us a secret about the main character in your novel — something that’s not even in your book.
A Discovery of Witches is a book about the power of secrets, so I have a lot to choose from. OK, here’s one: Matthew Clairmont became a vampire on the 8th of June in the year 500 AD. Now all of the astrologers among your readers can work on ferreting out the secrets embedded in that date.
What’s your next big thing?
I’m working on the sequel to A Discovery of Witches—and writing in airports, planes, trains, and hotels while I’m on the road this month!
And we’re already looking forward to the sequel! Thanks for coming by, Deborah!
And if you’d like to enter to win a copy of A Discovery of Witches, leave a comment here. We’ll announce the winner in the February 20th News Flash!