The Witch of Luna Hill (The Witch of Luna Hill #1) by Neel Kay
Published: 14th February 2013
A year ago, Aia was found dead in a lake. Fortunately, her rescuer managed to resuscitate her. But how she ended up in the water in the first place, she doesn’t remember. Actually, she doesn’t remember one single thing about her old life from before she died.
Now she lives her monotone life by the edge of the Great Forest in which she works hard day in and day out. Up there in Northland beyond the mountains, the war against supernatural beings, humans with strange abilities and all who side with them isn’t quite as visible as in the rest of Bragimark.
But when she meets Merian Storm, a privileged student trying to escape her dysfunctional family and the memory of the man she loved, Aia is jerked out of her comfort zone and thrown into a journey across the haunted mountains in search of her past.
When entering Merian’s war-torn home in the south, Aia’s role in the war becomes significant and so does her presence in the lives of the Storm family and vice versa – especially Merian’s rogue brother.
Interview with Neel Kay
Give us a brief 2-3 sentence overview of The Witch of Luna Hill.
In a world where witches and people with supernatural powers were once nothing out of the ordinary, they are now being hunted down, stripped of their magic and left for dead. Two very different young women of the realm of Bragimark embark on a quest to bring back peace and save their country and loved ones from a malicious enemy.
Where did you get the idea for The Witch of Luna Hill series?
It actually started out as an idea for a children’s story, about a girl who mowed the lawn in front of a haunted castle. The final story has absolutely nothing to do with that, but that is how it started out. There are still ghosts in the story, though. I actually don’t remember what initially sparked off the idea.
Did you have any difficulties switching from writing contemporary (Out of Context) to fantasy (The Witch of Luna Hill)?
No. I think the fantasy genre is my right shelf. The contemporary, although I love reading contemporary, wasn’t what I was supposed to be writing, and I was struggling with it. I’m finding it very enjoyable to write in the fantasy genre.
Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
I guess there are some traits in my characters that I recognize in myself. And a whole lot of traits that I wished I possessed, but don’t. Of course I’m not sure how I’d react in a sword fight to the death. But I’m generally a bit suspicious about people I’ve just met; who are they, what do they want from me, do they have a hidden agenda? I know – I’m borderline paranoid. But that is a trait I’ve passed on to Lyder Storm of The Witch of Luna Hill. I think Aia and Merian, though, are both much braver than I could ever be. So, I write about people who are like me, nothing like me, like I want to be, and how I could never be.
I noticed you are a trained milliner! Can you tell us a bit about that?
Yes, I’m a trained milliner, but I haven’t made a hat in years. I guess it wasn’t really in the cards for me to stick with that. But I’ll tell you a story of when, during my training, I was sent to work for a milliner in Copenhagen who created a lot of the Danish queen’s hats. And one day, she’d ordered some hats that I was supposed to deliver to the royal palace. It wasn’t a long walk from the shop, but it was snowing heavily and my umbrella had seen better days. Amalienborg, where the Danish queen lives, is big – it has a lot of doors, and of course I walked up to the wrong one and rang the doorbell. The guards were eyeing me suspiciously, as I was struggling with my umbrella and trying to keep the snow out of the bags with the hats. In the end, however, they didn’t kill me, or even threatened to, and I found the right door, said the right thing to the man with all the fancy decorations: “I’m here to deliver hats for her Majesty” (it was VERY important that I said HER MAJESTY). And that was it, really. Wasn’t an exciting story, but I got to ring the doorbell of the royal palace. Two doorbells, even.
What do you love most about writing/being an author?
Sometimes, I wish that when I think of an idea, it would just magically spill out onto the page. The hard part is the actual writing. But it is also what I love the most. Yes, sometimes the process is slow and frustrating, but it’s the part of creating something that is amazing. And then when people I don’t even know, read my book, and they actually love it - that is a brilliant feeling – makes it all worthwhile.
What works are in progress and what do you have planned for the future?
I’m working on a stand-alone fantasy novel called ZOE AND THE DEMON SLAYER. I hope to have it ready for publication in August. It’s about a book worm (Zoe) who suddenly finds herself in the dead center of her favorite book saga, but nothing is as she thought it was.
After Zoe I have plans for the third instalment of THE WITCH OF LUNA HILL. It was only supposed to be a two-book series. But when I finished up book two (THE WITCH’S STORM), I felt there were some untied ends that needed attention, and I wanted to know more about what happened to the main characters – they had more to say. Whereas book two is a direct continuance of book one, book three will take place six years after book two ended.
Thanks for the great interview Neel! Unfortunately, I haven't rung any royal doorbells but it sounds like quite an exciting (and scary!) experience.
Author Bio - Neel Kay
Neel Kay lives with her husband and two kids in rural surroundings in the south of Denmark, not far from the German border. She’s a trained milliner, studied English at university, and now works a day job as a web editor. But she’s been writing always.
Love coffee, scarves and sea views. Oh, and butt-kicking heroines who know how to swing a sword and aren’t afraid to get a little dirty.
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