“Creating Believable Magic and Magical Rules” With Molly Cochran + Giveaway!
Please welcome today’s guest author, Molly Cochran to Mother/Gamer/Writer for the Poison Blog Tour. For our tour stop, Molly will be chatting with us about what it takes to “”Create Believable Magic and Magical Rules”. And enter for your chance to win SIGNED copies of both Legacy and Poison!
About the Book:
Arthurian legend mixes with modern-day witchcraft in this haunting sequel to Legacy, which Publishers Weekly said “should please the legions of paranormal fans looking for a sophisticated supernatural thriller.”
After the riveting—and romantic—events of Legacy, Katy has won Peter’s heart and is nowclaiming her place in the magical world. Though half the students at her boarding school come from witching lines, the use of magic is expressly forbidden at Ainsworth, so as to keep the witching world hidden from the blue-blooded preppies, aka Muffies, who also walk the halls.
But the Muffies have at least a notion of magic, because Katy catches them staging a made-up ritual—and to her astonishment, the girls collapse at Katy’s feet and fall into comas. When Katy is blamed, she becomes desperate to clear her name and finds herself battling all odds to harness her growing magical powers in order to save the Muffies and dispel the Darkness once more.
“Creating Believable Magic and Magical Rules”
Let’s compare literary magic to perfume. Stephen King’s Needful Things would be a dark fragrance, belladonna streaked with red blood. Twilight would be night-blooming jasmine, with a hint of old-fashioned violets. The Harry Potter books would start out as daisies and end up as a weedy meadow with some sharp pepper notes among the hay and wildflowers.
My own books, Legacy and Poison, would be floral without being lush: Orange blossom rather than gardenia, tulips rather than roses, green grass and a shot of bright lemon, all underlaid with a whiff of earthy patchouli. Of course, I know more about the composition of these fragrances than I do about the others I’ve mentioned. That’s because I imagined these particular scents and how they interact, just as I imagined what the “feel”—or rather, the “scent”—of my stories would be.
Every writer of magic has a unique take on the magic she creates—how it feels, what it does. Some books require whole worlds to be built, complete with a new language and/or creatures that appear nowhere on the planet we know. Others—like mine—need a lighter touch. The community I’ve invented, Whitfield, Massachusetts, seems like a typical New England town at first, with an outer perimeter of shopping malls and fast roads and an inner village preserved from its founding in early America.
There it departs from anything typical. Whitfield’s 27 founding families, which occupy all of that inner village, are all magical. That is to say, the members of these families all have paranormal abilities, and each one is unique. This is the central theme of Legacy—the oddity of the town of Whitfield, where no one is considered too weird to belong—and essential to the events that appear in the sequels Poison and the forthcoming Seduction. Through this one idea, the “magicalness” of the town, and the books, develops.
I call Whitfield’s residents witches only for want of a better word. They’re certainly not the spell-casting, Latin-spouting Wiccans we’re accustomed to seeing on TV. They are, in fact, quite normal, pleasant people until it becomes necessary to, say, raise someone from the dead. Then an 11-year-old boy—the only person in town with this particular talent—must be called. The assistant headmistress of the town’s venerable boarding school can place ideas inside people’s heads. The town misanthrope (and, not surprisingly, the richest man in Whitfield) is a gold-making alchemist. There’s a wing of the local hospital devoted to alternative medicine, where people are healed by touch, crystals, sound, and light. The best restaurant in the inner village has no menu because its customers get what they need, whether they want it or not.
My main character, Katy Ainsworth, is a telekinetic who can move objects with her mind. Although she came to Whitfield feeling like a freak and determined never to let anyone know about her “affliction”, she soon learns that, in a place where the extraordinary is commonplace, there are no freaks. So far, she’s fixed a boat, slowed the descent of a falling building, entered a 1600-year-old beer tankard, wrecked the Winter Frolic school dance, and creamed an evildoer with a mahogany table. And she can cook, too!
That’s how I create magic… one magician at a time, like individual scent molecules that together create a distinctive perfume. My perfume is called “Whitfield”. And to the final mixture that is the fragrance of this series, I add a little apple pie spice, something that smells like hot cocoa, a few tears, and, oh yes, just a dash of Poison.