The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.
If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.
There are no strangers in the town of Near.
These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.
The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.
As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.
Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.
THE NEAR WITCH comes out August 2011 with
(pitch borrowed from the author's website)
Victoria Schwab’s debut novel The Near Witch is generating a lot of positive buzz, placing it among the most highly anticipated YA releases of 2011. I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to ask the author some questions and get to know a little bit more about the woman behind the book.
In the bio posted on your website, you list six very different fields of study you pursued in college. What have you taken away from each of these fields?
Is it sad that I had to look at my own bio to remember all 6?? Not because I didn't take things away from them, but because there were 2-3 more I didn't list, because they were only Minors. In school, I wanted to try, to taste, as much as possible. And I did. Physics taught me problem solving. In Film and Art History I learned to be observant and detail-oriented. Set Design helped me visualize worlds. In English, I fostered a love of children's lit, and in Communication Design I learned to fuse my passions for art and English, and find ways to educate using creative and accessible models (in my thesis, I explored Campbell's Archetypes using a color wheel). And from it all, I learned to be always absorbing something new.
Who are your literary influences?
My greatest literary influences have probably been Shel Silverstein (so not kidding, that man taught me how to see the world, and how to hear rhythm), and Neil Gaiman. Talk about two extremes, but just as odd. I guess I'm a little odd, too.
You describe yourself as someone who loves fairy tales and folklore. What is your favorite fairy or folk tale?
I am lover of the components of folklore and fairytale, the archetypes that make them up, the way stories are passed down, etc. Some of my favorite folklore comes from the early notions of the northern lights being a path for the dead, but one of my favorite fairytales has always been Little Red Riding Hood. Its origins, aside from being much darker than its later incarnations, also dealt with witchcraft more than hunters and axes!!
Did this tale in anyway influence The Near Witch?
Nope! I was influenced by the structure of folklore and the nature of fairytale, but the story itself is all my own.
What can we expect from Victoria Schwab in the future?
My next project is called THE ARCHIVED (Disney*Hyperion), and it's very different!! I like that it's different. It's still a ways out, so all I can say is that my agent and I are constantly trying to come up with a mash-up to describe it, and the current one is: Buffy + The Matrix + If I Stay.
Buffy + The Matrix + If I Stay? What’s not to love about that?
My thanks to Victoria for being so gracious with her time. You can pick up your copy of The Near Witch here.