The Nature of Witches is a young adult contemporary fantasy, but there are many things I learned that speak to the world we currently live in. Here are seven lessons I learned while writing about the Earth, magic, witches, and change.
1. Witches are the natural heroes of this book
The first several drafts of this book didn’t include witches, and looking back, I’m not surprised the story didn’t click for me until I realised witches were the obvious heroes. When I started to think about what kind of people would have magic over the seasons and the climate, it became clear that witches were the obvious ones to wield that magic. They have a strong connection to the natural world and deeply respect the Earth, and when I rewrote the book with witches at the forefront, that’s when the story fully clicked for me.
2. Magic isn't infinite
When I started writing this book, I poured all of my love and awe for the natural world into its pages. But I quickly realised that if there truly were witches who could control the climate, it wouldn’t be all about the beauty of the world. There would also be some subset of people who wanted to take that power and push it to the extremes, and at some point, the Earth would start pushing back. That conflict became the backdrop of this book.
3. There is magic in every season
In The Nature of Witches, each witch has magic tied to the season of their birth. One of the things I had the most fun with while writing was coming up with the magic system for each season. How would winter magic differ from spring magic? What qualities and feelings would be more present in each? Being able to look at the seasons in that way and magnify the traits of each one was a total delight.
4. The seasons show how change can be beautiful
The initial spark for this book came in the form of a question: “what if there was a girl who changed with the seasons?” We often view change as a bad thing, and whenever someone is told “you’ve changed,” it is almost always said as a negative thing. I wanted to challenge that. One of the most beautiful things about being human is our ability to change and grow, and setting this story against the changing seasons gave me the perfect opportunity to highlight the beauty of change.
5. Nature is the ultimate teacher
There is so much we can learn from the world around us. We need periods of rest (winter) before periods of growth (spring), there is beauty in letting go (autumn), and there’s enough light for us all (summer). Nature is always teaching us.
6. There is a season for everything
Our lives echo the world around us in that way. Our souls crave the quiet of certain seasons and the intensity of others, the deep focus certain seasons demand followed by the beautiful wandering of others. Seasons change and so do we.
7. Magic is everywhere
Thunderstorms. Solar eclipses. The first bloom on the rose bush. Wind. Old-growth forests. There is so much magic in the world we live in, and we never have to go far to find it. At its heart, The Nature of Witches is a love letter to the Earth, and I hope it highlights the truth that magic really is all around us.
The Nature of Witches is out now.
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