The future can be rewritten.
On the eve of her twelfth birthday, Beatrice Crosse runs away from her adoptive home only to encounter the ghost of England’s most famous prophetess. The witch offers her treasure, but can she be trusted? Bea must wrestle her past to discover the witch’s secret and find her way home.
– When and where do you prefer to write?
When I write my first draft, I love to go to a café by the river close to where I live, partly so that I’m not distracted by other jobs, and partly for the incentive of cake! Bea’s Witch is set in the town where I live, so I can look out across the river to Mother Shipton’s Cave, birthplace of the 16th Century prophetess, and the tourist park where much of the book is set. I also like to walk in between writing scenes – it gives me a chance to imagine and to think through the next section, and it keeps me awake, so it’s great to be by the river. I tend to write by hand in the café in the morning and then walk back up the steps to the town and my house, to type up what I’ve written and begin the first stage of editing that section.
– Do you need peace and quiet when you are writing?
I don’t need total quiet when I’m writing – in fact, I quite enjoy a bit of atmospheric buzz, but I find it hard if there’s one voice or a particular conversation I can pick out from the crowd. It’s the same with music that has lyrics. I find myself distracted by the words and homing in on the song or conversation rather than focusing on what I’m writing. If that happens, I have headphones with me and I’ll play some instrumental music, something in keeping with the scene I’m writing. Often, music can be helpful in terms of tuning into the story and firing my imagination.
– If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
Ooh that’s an interesting question. I’ve never co-written a book, but I have often devised theatre performances, which is a very interactive and collaborative process. My first thought is someone like Philip Pullman, as I love his books, but then I wonder if it would be better to work with somebody very different to me – perhaps someone with a background in science, somebody who writes a different genre, or who has a different cultural heritage or experience, somebody with a similar sense of wonder but who would bring a complimentary perspective. If there’s anybody out there who fits that description, get in touch!
– Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?
Well, I really love writing my ‘bad’ characters – they’re the most fun to write, maybe because they let me exercise that part of my brain! But probably, if it was me and not my alter-ego, I would rather be the ‘good one’. I like to be liked and I struggle with conflict, so I probably wouldn’t do too well as a baddie! Although I think I would need to be a flawed hero rather than your more traditional chisel-jawed, gun-wielding hero. So, perhaps a mix of both, if that’s not cheating…?
– Who would you like/have liked to interview?
There are so many people! I think maybe the psychologist Carl Jung. I’m really interested in his work, the concept of archetypal stories and characters, and the way he understood the psyche, growth, the unconscious and rationality. He lived an interesting life, not always conforming to socially acceptable behaviours, and yet he had a sense of spirituality which I find fascinating. Perhaps my choice relates to the last question too – Jung was a complex character, who had both angels and demons, and he interacted with both through his work.
His methods were very self-reflective and creative, and yet he saw his work as being scientific too. I think it’s those tensions I find interesting. It would have been fascinating to have dinner with him and to talk about alchemy, the inner ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’, his relationship with Freud, and the transformations of the Self, over a glass of wine!
– Where can I find you when you are reading?
I don’t really have a particular place to read – I like to read in my armchair at home, by the sea, on my parents’ window seat, in the castle grounds close to where I live, on the train, by the river. If I have a book with me, I can be in a different place anyway, so I’m happy anywhere!
– Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
Probably walking around Knaresborough, either down by the river or around the castle grounds next to my house – or in my favourite pub, Blind Jacks, with friends from the local theatre!
– What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
Did I write this? It’s always hard to believe the words are mine! And pride too. It definitely feels like an achievement to hold your own book – it’s such a long journey to get to that point. And maybe some nervousness as well – will other people like it – a book is such a personal thing, it’s like putting a little piece of your heart out there for others to judge.
– How do you come up with a title for your book?
With Bea’s Witch, I knew the title right from the start. I wanted the word ‘witch’ in there and I was playing with the word ‘bewitched’, which is how I settled on the name Bea. That’s quite different to all my other books, though, where the title came right at the end. I had lots of working titles for all of them and couldn’t settle on one until each story was finished. With a title, I’m looking for something that reflects the themes and genre, as well as something interesting and eye-catching. I’ll often list words that are connected to the book and then play around with them. Often, I’ll ask for feedback and see what people think before settling on a final title.
– How do you pick a cover for your book?
The cover is really important for me. As with the title, I want something that reflects the themes and genre, and is also eye-catching. I often look through stock photos and create a mood board, before sharing the images with my publisher’s designer. With Bea’s Witch, I knew I wanted Bea to be central – the story is about her – and I wanted the cover to look both realistic and magical at the same time. I saw the image of the girl underwater while looking through photos and made the connection to an event that happens at the end of the book. I think the image captures both a sense of identity crisis and the possibility of re-birth, which are both important motifs in the narrative. I hope you like it too!
Thank you, Daniel Ingram-Brown and Lola’s Blog Tours
About the author
Daniel Ingram-Brown is a First Story writer-in-residence for secondary schools in Yorkshire. He has a Masters in Creative Writing and Drama in Education, and is currently studying for a PhD exploring adoption through creative writing. He is also a playwright and is Artistic Director of Suitcase and Spectacles Children’s Theatre. Daniel’s passion lies in writing stories which inspire readers and audiences to think and wonder. Daniel is the recipient of the Taner Baybars award for original writing in the field of science fiction, fantasy and magical realism, awarded by the Society of Authors Authors’ Foundation. He lives in Yorkshire, UK
Amazon paperback: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1789046815/
Audiobooks Now: https://www.audiobooksnow.com/audiobook/beas-witch/4935970/
– 1 paperback copy of Bea’s Witch + vintage postcard from Mother Shipton’s Cave + book related pin (open International)
– 1 paperback copy of Bea’s Witch + vintage postcard from Mother Shipton’s Cave + book related pin (UK only)
– ebook copies of all three books in the Firebird chronicles by Daniel Ingram-Brown (open International)