Thrilled to have Anne Armistead join us on the blog today to talk about her novel, Dangerous Conjurings. Welcome, Anne!
Author Name: Anne Armistead
Book Title: Dangerous Conjurings
Book Genre: Historical Romance with paranormal elements
Release Date: April 18, 2018
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
So please tell us about your book!
With the mysterious and handsome Civil War veteran Marcus Quinn at her side, Leah Sullivan chases after the evil conjurer who has kidnapped her brother. DANGEROUS CONJURINGS is a historical paranormal romance set at the end of the American Civil War against the backdrop of hanging moss and murder, hoodoo and voodoo, hexes and the grotesque. Enter this story at your own peril. Remember…hoodoo only works if you believe.
Ooooh, sounds intriguing! What sparked the idea for DANGEROUS CONJURINGS?
The antagonist of the story is a hoodoo conjurer, and my hero and heroine face much danger while falling in love during their pursuit of her. The title DANGEROUS CONJURINGS seemed to perfectly capture the story’s elements as well as “conjure” readers’ interest.
How long did it take for you to write the book? Did you do have to do any research?
This story took over a decade to pull itself together and get published! It grew organically out of a workshop writing assignment that I completed while in residency in London for my MFA in Creative Writing. We were to write a scene with supernatural elements. My fascination with hoodoo led me to create a scene where my protagonist visits a conjurer for a fertility spell. Writing that scene had me delving into hoodoo hexes, spells, tarot, and conjurings. I enjoyed writing the scene, but I had no story arc, just a stand-alone scene. It kept percolating in the back of my mind, waiting for a story to take shape around it. Reading a biography about Marie Laveau, the New Orleans Queen of Voodoo, entitled Voodoo Queen: The Spirited Lives of Marie Laveau by Martha Ward, motivated me to go back to my hoodoo scene and somehow come up with a plot that would include this fascinating woman. To coincide with the time era Laveau lived, I decided on the end of the American Civil War as the setting, which meant my hero and heroine would be pretty unfettered from societal norms in the aftermath of the devastation. I descended into the research rabbit hole over and over to get details right, including Civil War battles in which my hero would have fought; how many miles one could cover on horseback daily; elements of the New Orleans Voodoo underworld; and Marie Laveau’s “Maison Blanche” (White House) on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain, where I have my story’s climax take place.
For you, what’s the hardest thing about writing?
When writing historical romance, the hardest thing is to not allow myself to keep spinning my wheels in research mode and shift to actually writing the story!
I can totally see that! What do you love most about it?
I love how my characters become part of me and me of them, how they use me as a conduit to tell their stories.
If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read DANGEROUS CONJURINGS?
If you grew up like I did reading Victoria Holt and Daphne du Maurier or, like me, love Heather Graham’s Krewe of Hunters series, enjoy movies like The Skeleton Key or the Oscar-nominated Get Out , you should give my book a try!
How does your day job inform your novel writing?
I teach American Literature to high school juniors, so my days are spent discussing literature and teaching writing and grammar, all of which obviously is in tune with my own creative writing aspirations. We are finishing up The Scarlet Letter right now and having in-depth discussions about how social media has made public shaming part of our lives in such an overt and negative way. Teaching literature classics whets my creative writing appetite!
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
I enjoy traveling, with my most recent trip being to Las Vegas for the first time ever. My bucket list includes wandering around the western USA and traveling internationally to Ireland; the Normandy region of France; WW1 sites in Europe (the hero of my WIP is a shell-shocked returning WW1 veteran); Salzburg, Austria (for the Sound of Music tour!); and Australia.
Where can readers find you (website, blog, social media, etc.)?
Thank you, Anne! Dangerous Conjurings is out now.
Eighteen-year-old Leah Sullivan lost both her brother and her childhood sweetheart on the same Civil War battlefield. Left a spinster, she dutifully cares for her parents while trying to survive on their farm in Georgia after the South’s surrender. With her now-barren mother believing a fertility spell to be the only way she can bear another family heir, Leah acts in secret to obtain the mojo from the dangerous conjurer Kali Despierre.
When handsome veteran Marcus Quinn comes calling to deliver her brother’s last words, sparks fly between the mysterious soldier and lonely Leah. To her delight, Marcus accepts her father’s offer to remain as a hired hand.
Although they are falling in love, Leah keeps from Marcus what haunts her: will her mother’s “conjured” babe be cursed? Her fears seem realized when Elijah is born with the birth sac covering his face. Suspicions plague such newborns, known as caulbearers.
The strangeness of Elijah’s birth convinces Kali that she has conjured a special voodoo babe. She kidnaps him and heads to New Orleans, certain the Queen of Voodoo, Marie Laveau, will pay gold for him. Rumors abound that the Queen sacrifices infants to the voodoo gods on October 31, the Day of the Dead, only weeks away.
Leah, with Marcus at her side, chases after Kali to save her brother from the voodoo underworld. The couple’s passion heats up while sleeping under the stars only inches apart and surrounded by peril. However, through a cruel twist of fate, Leah discovers the devastating secret about Marcus’s past that breaks her heart and jeopardizes her brother’s rescue.
Will Leah’s love for Marcus be powerful enough to overcome his betrayal? Or will dangerous conjurings doom their future together?