A synopsis of a book can only tell you so much, so on today’s tour stop I wanted to tell you a bit more about Illicit Magic and some of the themes it contains. Predominantly the book is about witches and magic, and is told from the point of view of novice witch Stella, who is just coming to terms with her magic after a lifetime of causing accidents. When we first meet Stella, she’s lonely, she’s working at a temp job and she lives in a fairly awful, tiny apartment… to make matters worse, she’d being chased by a group of scary men who want to kill her. So let’s talk geography, alienation, friendship and staying true to yourself.
Geographically I wanted to make very important distinctions in where Stella started, where she went and where she ended up. We start with her in London; it’s cold, it’s wet, it’s dark. She’s not so much at home, but treading water, waiting for something to happen. Then her rescuer gathers her up, puts her on a plane and takes her to a place that is a stark contrast to everything she has experienced. New York is opulent and bright, the people charismatic; then there’s the safe house that is teeming with people just like her, people who want to be her friend, and this place is warm, comforting and embraces her. The contrasts between these places really reinforce the feeling of alienation Stella has experienced, the slightly bewildering world she’s come from and moved to and the choices that have now become open to her.
As we move through the novel, Stella finds what it is like to make true friends. Friends who understand her, accept her and are part of a world that she’s only just finding out existed. She’s a little wrong-footed to start with, she doesn’t understand the power struggles that are going on, or why, and those are things we’ll find out with her, but the connections she is now able to feel, are truely enabling.
Love and acceptance are very important to Stella – two things which really help her become more comfortable in her own skin and help her realise the magic that she’s always struggled with. Just as she accepts her magic, she also accepts herself, gaining confidence, and enabling her to find the truth and being able to lay her past to rest so she can really start living her life.
It was also very important that Stella stayed true to herself. Despite her past she’s a kind-hearted, loyal person because she’s already made the choice that that’s who she wants to be. She doesn’t allow herself to be blinded by what she’s offered, instead remaining true to the compassionate, intelligent and loving person that she is. Above all else, she is hopeful, she’s making her own decisions and she’s determined – qualities that make her a true heroine in my book.
What makes a true heroine for you?
More than three hundred years after the most terrifying witch hunts the world has ever known, it’s happening again.
Young witch, Stella, has to put her faith in strangers just to stay alive but she might not be any safer in their midst than from the danger she is running from.
There is more than one dark secret in her new family: Étoile’s sister is spoken of in fear and sadness; Marc is supposed to be a powerful witch but is missing his magic; where does the owner of their safe house vanish to every day and why does Evan have the eyes of someone not quite human? There is only one secret that someone will do anything to keep quiet, but whose secret is it and will Stella have to pay the price for silence?
About the Author:
I live in London, UK but I try to travel as often as I can – lately I’ve been to Paris, all over Denmark, Luxembourg, and several US states. In my day job I’m a journalist and editor so I write for magazines, newspapers and websites throughout the world (my favourite assignment was spending a week riding rollercoasters – if you listen carefully you can probably still hear me screaming).