Witch-y Wednesday: Guest Post: The Lit Coven

Guest Post, October Spooky Features

logo_Lit-Coven.pngMeet The Lit Coven.

The Lit Coven is an adults only book club centered around the fantasy genre, that started in 2015. This post was written by Paige (@moonst0rm on Twitter) on behalf of The Lit Coven. Paige is a founding member, witch, and graphic designer (moonstorm.design).

Social Links:
Twitter @thelitcoven
Instagram @thelitcoven
Goodreads “Lit Coven” https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/49431126-lit-coven
http://www.thelitcoven.com

The Guest Post.

“What are you reading?” isn’t the always the easiest question to answer when asked by a non-bookish person, or a stranger, when you are deep into a fantasy world with its own magic system. Do you answer excitedly and start explaining everything that is going on? Do you try to explain what magic even is? Because honestly sometime it depends on the book. Personally, my answer in the past tended to be “A book”, “A mystery”, “It’s about witches”. Which would generally lead to someone making fun of me for just reading in general (wut?!). Let’s not even get started on the whole “adults-reading-YA” debacle (which is ridiculous).

 

When you find people who happen to be reading the same magical book as you, I recommend holding on to them. That is just how The Lit Coven came to be.

In February 2015, While reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, I shared with a friend who I knew I could trust with my book interests because she had the same tastes. She knew of a few more people that love fantasy and this led to 4 of us creating a group chat to talk about the series. Our group chat was originally titled “Book Worms” until a few months later the idea for a name change to “Lit Coven” sparked and it stuck ever since. Then, we’d just go with the flow of whatever we felt like reading, but as we talked about our new book club online, others started gaining interest. We decided to plan books a bit in advance, create discussion questions for when everyone finished, and have an organized calendar for everyone to keep up with reading goals.

Within a year, The Lit Coven grew to 20 members and a single group chat was no longer feasible to hold everyone with the book discussion and side discussions going on. We then made the decision to migrate to the BAND app, where we could have a general feed and as many members and chat rooms as we wanted. BAND has been our home base since 2016.

Since then, our membership has grown to 68 members. There are generally only about 15-20 members active at a time, depending on time of year, the books being read, or when they can fit a book club into their life. We are firm believers in putting life first, so everyone is completely understanding if someone goes silent for awhile. A lot of our members reach out to each other via other social platforms and stay in touch when not participating in The Lit Coven activities, which to me is beautiful.

 

We created The Lit Coven to be a fun space to share our love for fantasy novels and it has evolved into a growing, caring community where people from around the world are connecting with each other and forming friendships, stemming from our favorite books.

 

Here’s a sneak peek at our 2019 TBR. Be sure to check out our website or social on October 31st, the witches new year, for the official release to see the full list!

  1. The Wicked King (The Folk in the Air #2) by Holly Black
  2. King of Scars (Nikolai Book #1) by Leigh Bardugo
  3. Hollow Crown (Hollow Crown #1) by Zoradia Cordova
  4. Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw
  5. Seafire (Seafire 1) by Natalie Parker
  6. The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1) by N. K Jemisin (3 book series)
  7. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
  8. The Poppy War (TPW #1) by R F King
  9. We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
  10. Furthermore (Furthermore #1)  by Tahereh Mafi (2 book series)

 

Which Witchy book is a favorite of The Lit Coven?

(Poll options chosen from our 5 star witch-centered books; 23 votes)

39% The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

35% -All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

26% -Brooklyn Brujas Series by Zoradia Cordova

 

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Fun Facts

  • Throne of Glass chat is our longest running chat, being open since 2015
  • As of this post, we’ve read about 70 books together.
  • We have quite a few witches in our ranks.
  • Launched our website, thelitcoven.com in August 2018.

 

 

Meet Laurie Forest

Author Interview

Meet Laurie Forest.

author.png

Laurie Forest lives deep in the backwoods of Vermont where she sits in front of a wood stove drinking strong tea and dreaming up tales full of dryads, dragons and wands. The Black Witch (Book One of The Black Witch Chronicles, Out Now, Harlequin TEEN) is her first novel, and Wandfasted (The Black Witch prequel, Out Now as an e-book, Harlequin TEEN) is her first e-book novel. Coming in Summer 2018 is Light Mage (e-book novel, Harlequin TEEN – Sage Gaffney’s story) and The Iron Flower (Book Two of The Black Witch Chronicles, Fall 2018, Harlequin TEEN).
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
Now onto the interview!

Let’s start with something fun. What is your favorite social media outlet and why?
Pinterest! Because I love pulling visual ideas from it. For an idea of what I mean, see my page at: https://www.pinterest.com/forestlaurieann/
So… your Goodreads bio says you enjoy sitting “in front of a wood stove drinking strong tea and dreaming up tales full of dryads, dragons and wands.” What dragon, dryad, or wand (aka experience or person) first inspired you to start writing The Black Witch?
It was a werewolf, actually. Remus Lupin. I started writing spin-off romantic fan fiction about him just for fun. I had a literary crush on him and that was my first foray into fiction 😊
The Black Witch, itself was inspired by all the wonderful fantasy fiction that my then pre-teen daughters were handing me to read (I had never read fantasy before – I was reading non-fiction pretty exclusively). Harry Potter was my first experience with modern fantasy – I adored it. That was one influence. The other influence was an experience – being involved fighting for marriage equality here in Vermont and seeing how much horrible prejudice gripped the state during that struggle. During this time, an idea for a fantasy story lit in my mind – a world where there are winged people who are reviled by all the religions of the realm for absolutely no sound reason. I envisioned the first scene and the story spun off on its own trajectory from there.
What author or book has impacted your life the most recently and why?
A Girl Like That, by Tanaz Bhathena. It doesn’t come out until 2018, but everyone should put this on their TBR shelf. It’s one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever read. It’s about teens in Saudi Arabia, and its uplifting message of choosing humanity over division is universal. It’s on par with The Hate U Give, another important and brilliantly written book. Both these books had a huge impact not only for the flawless writing, but for their beautiful and important messages.
When you began your journey with The Black Witch what did you envision happening in the novel and how has that changed as you work on book two?
I actually wrote Book One (The Black Witch) and Book Two (The Iron Flower) of The Black Witch Chronicles as one book. But no one will publish a 1,200 page book by

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a new author (well, usually, anyway). So we had to split it. What’s developed since then is my prequel Wandfasted (which is out now as an e-book and tells the love story of Elloren Gardner’s parents, 20 years before The Black Witch takes place). I’ve also written another side-e-book called Light Mage which is out this summer (the story of Sage Gaffney, the girl who has the Icaral baby and who gives Elloren the White Wand in the beginning of The Black Witch). When my book was picked up, my publisher asked me to write the two novellas. What’s changing is the narrative for Books Three and Four (half of Book Three is written and only an outline for Book Four, so I’m in the discovery phase there, which is exciting).

What social constructs did you try or want to tackle in The Black Witch? Spinning off from that, what would be the main thing you wanted readers to take away from their journey with MC Elloren Gardner?
I’m tackling a lot in The Black Witch – prejudice based on religion and the rise of fascism, mainly (I hope in an easy to read and entertaining framework). But also homophobia (again, mainly based on religion in my world), sexism, classism, exploitation of workers, abuse of refugees and immigrants and in later books – sexual assault (which is aided and abetted by religious systems that oppress women), early enforced marriage, drug addiction (and compassion for addicts) and then a huge turn in the narrative towards environmentalism (spoiler alert – it is a story about Dryads – some readers have seen this coming from a mile away, so perhaps it’s not the spoiler I think it is). So, basically everything that’s troubling me in the world.
The main thing I want readers to take away from The Black Witch is that people can change. People raised with prejudiced ideas can change. But it takes time and the road is rocky. And that it’s a good thing to be open to being schooled, especially about other people’s historical, religious and cultural viewpoints. Confusion is good.
Is there anything else you’d like to share or say?
I want to thank all the fans who have contacted me or posted reviews – you inspire me with your enthusiastic embrace of The Black Witch’s anti-prejudice message. Getting to know so many of you has been the highlight of this journey so far.

 

Thank you Laurie for joining us at A New Look On Books!

 

Want your copy of The Black Witch? Click on the links below!
Amazon Link – THE BLACK WITCH
Amazon Link – WANDFASTED