Welcome to the Katherine Eddinger Smits blog. I’m inspired by interesting and unusual locations and my favorite books include settings so fascinating that they make the story indelible in my mind. So, I decided to write a series of blogs about books from some of my favorite authors. They were kind enough to answer a series of questions about the settings of their books. The first I would like to share with you is my interview with Loretta Rogers, author of The Witching Moon and 17 other novels.
The Witching Moon by Loretta Rogers
Book blurb: Sheen O’Reilly considers her gift of second sight a curse. Branded a witch, she wears a rope burn around her neck as a reminder of what happens to people who are considered different. Now settled in a remote homestead where she tends her animals and concocts herbal remedies, she knows “he” is coming but is powerless to stop him. “He” is Guthrie Tanner, who blames himself for the murder of his wife and the kidnapping of his young daughter. After an unsuccessful year of tracking his enemies, he has heard about a witch who lives alone on the prairie. While he doesn’t believe in supernatural nonsense, he is willing to do whatever it takes to find his daughter. What he doesn’t count on is the effect Sheen will have on his heart.
Please tell readers a little about The Witching Moon.
As a toddler, Sheen O’Reilly, witnessed her mother being burned at the stake as a witch. To save Sheen from the same fates as her mother, Sheen’s father brings her to America. As she develops into her teenage years, her supernatural abilities increase. Due to superstition and the ignorance of town folk, Sheen and her father are hanged. By happenstance, Sheen is rescued, but tragically her father dies. Considering her gift a curse, she travels to the western territories determined to live a life of solitude and away from civilization…until her empathic powers begin to intrude into her dreams and she is sought out by the hero, Guthrie Tanner.
What is the setting for the book? Please describe it.
The Witching Moon begins its journey in 1848 Ireland when the belief in witches and witchcraft was rampant. The story setting moves to Salem, Massachusetts. Although the witch trials took place two hundred years before Sheen and her father settled in Salem, the small villages were rift with superstition and cruel people who exploited those superstitions for personal benefit. Due to this turn of events, the heroine flees to Montana territory, 1868.
Why did you choose this setting for your story?
Although Ireland wasn’t as rampant with witchcraft as England, Ireland is rich in Celtic history. The Irish believed more in Fairy Doctors than witches. Because the main theme of the story pertains to witchcraft, I moved the setting to Salem, Massachusetts, well-known for its witch trials; and then I chose Montana territory due to its isolation from nearby towns and civilization. Sheen O’Reilly is an empathic fairy doctor. Fairies generally live in caves and came out only at night. Montana is known for its underground caverns, caves, and even hidden strongholds.
Is this a real place, or did you create it for the story?
All settings for The Witching Moon are real places, including the underground caverns, and the hidden stronghold where the antagonist hides and eventually meets his demise.
Have you written other books in this setting, or do you plan to write more in the future?
Bitter Autumn, a historical romance that I’ve recently submitted to my editor is set in Montana. Montana is rich in Native American history; and Fort Ellis, which is primary to the story and is one of the few surviving frontier forts from the 1800’s.
Is this the start of a series or a standalone?
The Witching Moon is a standalone book.
Anything else you want readers to know about the book?
The Witching Moon delves into the life of a young woman who was bullied, and almost hanged because she was different and because of the ignorance of people. Sheen deals with guilt and shame, and wants to hide from who she really is. The hero, Guthrie Tanner, also deals with guilt for events that were beyond his control. He must put aside his own prejudices to seek help from someone who is different.
Overcoming adversity and survival is the central theme of The Witching Moon. Perhaps readers will see a little bit of themselves when reading Sheen and Guthrie’s story.
Thanks so much for sharing about The Witching Moon. Here’s an excerpt:
A hideous mass of blackened, puckered flesh ringed Sheen’s neck. His blood turned cold. Guthrie had witnessed hangings when the Yankees had raided his father’s plantation in South Carolina. He’d seen the gruesome effects of a noose cutting deep into the flesh.
Fury flared in Guthrie’s soul. He lifted the coat from the ground and brushed it free of dirt and leaves, and then draped the garment around Sheen’s shoulders. He tried to hold her close. She drew back.
His gaze met hers. “My God, Sheen. Tell me.”
She gulped the sob building in her throat.
Sheen, breathing hard sank to the ground. She fingered the top button of her coat; closed now to hide the rope burn around her neck. She admonished herself to tell Guthrie the truth about her gift and be done with it.
Her voice quavered. “Are you in a mind to listen without judging me?”
Guthrie eased to the ground. He uncorked the canteen and poured water into the coffee pot, setting it on a flat rock next to the fire. “Tell me all of it, from the beginning. I need to understand who you really are and why anyone would want to put a noose around your neck.”
About Loretta C. Rogers:
Loretta is a fourth generation Floridian. She is proud of her Scots-Irish, English, German heritage. Once an avid horsewoman, she trailer trained horses, competed in endurance trials with her pinto mare, as well as rounded up cattle. Loretta was a certified diver and worked with the sheriff’s search and rescue dive teams; she was also a rape-crisis and suicide prevention counselor. Life experiences and the people she met along the way often show up as (fictitious) characters in her stories. She is a bestselling author of eighteen novels. Her books span the globe from the UK to Africa.
Buy The Witching Moon here:
Author Website: www.lorettacrogersnovels.com
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