Here is a guest post by author Mel Massey
I approached Badwitch a while ago and asked if she would allow me to write something for her blog. I’ve written many blog posts for different pages here or there, usually about writing the Earth's Magickseries and the craft of writing in general. Badwitch graciously said she’d be happy to have me and asked me to write about advice for Pagan authors.
I stared at a blank screen for a long time. A long time. What advice could I give that wouldn’t be a repeat of writing advice many of us have heard before? After a few false starts that sounded preachy and pretentious, I put it aside. Then, something amazing happened.
Before I tell you about what happened, let me give you some backstory. My book series is Earth's MagickIt is the tale of a 22-year-old girl, Mela Malone, who finds herself attacked every night by a supernatural being. With nowhere left to turn, she turns to magick to help protect herself. What starts as dabbling in protective magick turns her into a full-blown Witch. However, not just any Witch – An Elementai. The Elementai are an ancient order of warrior witches that are, let’s just say, total badasses. Mela becomes the child of Pan and the Daughter of Hecate – both of which play a prominent role in the series. She has to learn to juggle real life in her small Texas town while fighting supernatural beings and hanging out with part human creatures. It’s loads of fun. However, I honestly felt my series was primarily meant for Pagans and likeminded folks. Generally speaking, of course.
Going back to the amazing thing that happened… One evening I received a phone call from my stepbrother. My stepbrother, the Gods bless him, he’s a self-proclaimed hillbilly, redneck from the country that loves Jesus and guns. Yeah. When I picked up the phone, he promptly told me he wanted to talk about my book. Uh oh. He proceeds to tell me he read it and loved it. That’s right. He said he loved it. It was one of the best conversations we’d ever had. He asked me questions about Pan and Hecate. Mela’s transformation intrigued him and he even admitted to Googling a few points of interest to read up on later. He kept saying, “Wait, I’ve got one more question…” An hour and a half later, he one-more-questioned me to death. He had no idea what the Pentacle really meant until he read my book. He had no idea there were different kinds of Pagans either. (He assumed Wiccans were all there were) He loved the angels that play a role in the series. (Yes, there are angels in the books and mixing the two “heavenly” theological mythos felt very natural considering the urban fantasy setting.) In short, he is now a fan of a book about witchcraft.
I made the decision early on not to whitewash the magick in the books. If the story called for a lighter brand of magicks, all well and good. If, however, darker magick is needed, that was going in as well. I refused to change the world I created in my mind to make it more palatable to non-Pagan readers. In short, I made the decision to be honest. Unknowingly, this decision has brought me readers from all lifestyles and an array of faiths. Many readers have contacted me with questions about being a Witch that have led to wonderful conversations. The best, I think, was my stepbrother’s phone call. He’s anxiously awaiting the next installment in the series (DECKER – A Companion Novel) and is telling everyone he knows about the books.
I’ve found that writing as a Pagan has worked well for me because I was honest about Paganism and Witchcraft in the story. So, here’s my unsolicited advice to you: Write the book YOU want to read and you’ll find that your honesty and genuine emotion translates to the reader. That’s really our goal, right? To connect with each reader, in a different way, and retain that reader for the duration of our writing careers? If you’re writing a book with magick in it – make it YOUR magick. If you worry as you write, and you think too much about what people will say if you write those words – write them anyway. Go where your passion is and write from there.
Now go create a great story.
Visit www.melmassey.com for information on Mel’s books and forums where readers can chat about all things magick.