To kill a Beast, he must first unravel the mystery of a strange and savage Beauty
Many years have passed since a merciless dragon known only as the Beast blazed a path of destruction across a once peaceful land, and although he now sleeps beneath the earth, his wicked influence continues to spread, corrupting everything and everyone it touches.
In a neighbouring kingdom, a naïve young knight named Eoin hopes to finally break the dragon’s curse, as well as win the respect of his family and the heart of his Queen. He’s always been taught that morality is as absolute as authority, but after crossing paths with a beautiful yet notorious witch, Eoin discovers that the line between good and evil isn’t as clear-cut as he was led to believe.
Though tempers flare, their attraction to one another cannot be denied, and when Eoin is ambushed by a horde of monsters with eerily human eyes, it is the witch who rescues him from the brink of death. What does she want from him? Is she friend or foe? While recovering under her care, Eoin begins to suspect that the witch is also the keeper of a truly horrifying secret, one that could throw the entire world into chaos. And meanwhile, the Beast is waiting.
“FOR THE LOVE OF A WITCH is an intelligent, well-crafted novel that draws on myth and classical romance in a way that feels fresh and modern. This heart-wrenching story gripped me as much with its empathy as with its wonderfully multifaceted characters and satisfying plot.” Roisin Heycock, former Publishing Director at Quercus and Hachette
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I’d written and published a few fantasy novels back in the early 2010s but my career was put on hold due to a long, difficult battle with mental illness. When I was finally ready to start writing again, I decided to write something that was purely for me because I knew that if I worried about things like marketability or publishing trends, it would sabotage my efforts. I thought about the sort of stories I love best and decided that I would write a fairy tale.
I’ve always been fascinated with fairy tales and folklore. I’m not referring to Disney movies, (though I do enjoy those, of course) but the old, old, old stories that our ancestors passed down from one generation to the next. We think of them as children’s stories today, but in their purest forms, these stories are actually quite dark and don’t always have a happy ending.
So I took elements from fairy tales that are so familiar to all of us (knights, dragons, witches, haunted forests, etc.) and blended them together with more modern themes of personal growth and the consequences of trauma. FOR THE LOVE OF A WITCH is a combination of the things I love and the things I’ve learned, and after years of hard work, I’m thrilled to share it with the world
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
As written above, I wanted to use character archetypes commonly found in fairy tales. So the book is told by the point of view of Eoin, a naive young knight, who sets off on a quest to defeat a dragon. The other main character is a witch named Cinnia, but there is far more to her than meets the eye. I really enjoy reading about love/hate relationships (for example, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy), so I wanted Eoin and Cinnia to be foils for one another. I think I was successful as one reviewer has already made note of the Pride and Prejudice vibes of their relationship. 🙂
Once upon a time, in a kingdom of silver trees and golden meadows, crystal waters and diamond skies, a Beast was born from fire and rock and hate. He was a foul, nameless horror that coveted the beauty of the world above, wishing to both possess and destroy it. Aeons passed under the watch of his unblinking eye, for although his body was that of a monster, he had a tactician’s mind and the greed of a soulless and predatory child. He plumbed fathomless depths of darkest imagination, plotting wicked schemes while amassing the strength of centuries until finally, having grown to the point that he had no mortal equal, he ripped himself free from the belly of the earth.
His rise to power was an indulgent game. There were no limits to his cruelty, no misery he wasn’t ecstatic to inflict. He devoured all he desired, leaving little more than ash in his wake. A brave few tested their courage against the Beast, yet neither blade nor arrow could pierce his ancient hide. No spell slowed his devil’s pace. Armies fled, castles crumbled, and the people were abandoned to his mercy, though of course he had none.
Then one night, after even the memory of hope had died, a single scream, more piteous than any that came before, rang out through the moonless sky. The scream was a pact, a treaty signed with virgin blood. Content at last, the Beast slithered back underground, and there he stayed.
Years went by. The world should have begun to heal, to forget the Beast and his crimes as one forgets a nightmare upon waking to the safety of daylight. Yet this did not happen. He wouldn’t allow it. He did not stir from his lair, no, but the damage he wrought would not be undone. Evil leached from him as he slept, corrupting all it touched. As the land itself twisted into his likeness, desperation drove the survivors of his tyrannical rule into madness and savagery. They plundered, pillaged, branded, and burned without fear of reprisal, for in truth, there was no one left to stand against them.
The chaos spread, as chaos is wont to do, eventually spilling across the border of the neighbouring kingdom. Then did Queen Muireann summon her court to discuss what had come to be known as the Accursed Lands. Assembled from all corners of her realm, these well-born men, adorned in colourful finery and elegant manners, went round and round the issue.
“We must act immediately,” said those closest to the turmoil.
“We mustn’t charge headlong into war,” said those who were furthest away.
Hours inched into days, yet still, a consensus could not be reached. The finery drooped. Manners took on a much less appealing form.
While her court echoed with opinion, Muireann sat frozen in tongue-tied dismay. She’d been just a maid of fourteen when the crown was placed upon her fair head, and because of this, she had relied heavily, too heavily, on the counsel of her advisors for the whole of her reign. They had more than her trust; they had her utter dependence. With these same advisors squabbling amongst themselves like a gaggle of ganders, she was at a loss, very nearly reverting to the small, inconsolable girl she was when her father the King had suddenly died of fever.
From across the room, one man worried over her every frown. Eoin, the newly knighted son of Sir Ualtar, had loved Muireann since they played together as children. Even though they’d always understood he was too far beneath her for her to return his affections, he never quite persuaded his heart to believe it, and she dreaded the day he would. He was her shadow, her confidant, the hand that steadied her, and the ear that held her secrets.
I have to help her, he thought, as her mouth trembled in warning of tears. Somehow, I have to save her.
As if he’d called out her name, she turned towards him. “What say you, Sir Eoin?”
Her question, although softly spoken, quieted the impassioned gentry. Their attention fell to Eoin, and its weight settled uncomfortably onto his shoulders.
“My Queen?” he mumbled, only to have his foot crushed under his father’s heel.
“I’ve noticed you haven’t said your piece, Sir, and would be most grateful to hear it.”
His father’s heel dug in further. Beating back a wince, Eoin cleared his throat. He poured a glass of wine and drank it slowly, gaining precious seconds to think. He knew what his father wanted. Ualtar had recommended the construction of a fortified wall between the two kingdoms. A foolish plan. Something as simple as a wall couldn’t stave off the advances of famine and disease, and Eoin couldn’t in good conscience pretend that it would. Yet that was precisely what was expected of him. Ualtar had no care for Eoin’s conscience. He was a difficult man, proud and petty. Anything less than total deference to his will would be considered an act of treason.
“My Queen, the wall…”
He stopped. Glancing at his father, Eoin noted the vein throbbing on Ualtar’s temple and the threats swimming in his eyes. Then he looked at Muireann. She smiled weakly.
“My Queen,” he began again in a rush. “I must confess I fear each measure put forth will come to nought.”
The room resounded with protest, but Muireann extended her hand, bidding Eoin continue, and the wave of noise receded.
“We cannot halt the spread of this evil ’til the source of it is defeated.”
Heavy was the silence that followed, for in his boyish naiveté, Eoin exposed a truth even the boldest amongst them wouldn’t admit, and he, mistaking the hush for confusion, was compelled to put it to them again in plainer terms.
“So long as the Beast draws breath, we will never have peace.”
Ualtar’s simmering anger boiled over. “And?”
“And?” Eoin repeated with a slight stutter.
“How do you propose to accomplish this when legions of your betters have failed?”
“Well, I… We…”
“Go on then, boy. Spit it out. Share with us what I’m sure will be an ingenious and expertly crafted strategy.”
It was painful, the disgust in his father’s voice. More painful still was the disappointment Eoin saw on Muireann’s face. A knife sunk into his back would have been easier to endure, but he didn’t allow this to show. He lifted his chin and held fast to his conviction, no matter the cost.
“I do not know how to kill the Beast. I only know we must try while we can. When he was awake, he was hungry for the fight, yet now that he sleeps, we might have the advantage. We shouldn’t waste it, small as it may be.”
“Hah!” Ualtar barked out after another stretch of silence.
Thanks to this, the others found their tongues again and wagged them readily, perhaps to shame Eoin into recanting or to ease the bitter taste of cowardice. Ignoring Muireann’s call for civility, they thumped on the table with closed fists and shouted out every conceivable manner of abuse.
Needles seemed to stick in Eoin’s mouth. Humiliation hammered against his heart, but there was something else building inside of him, something that promised to make all of this torment worthwhile. Was it right to submit to it and give it control? He didn’t care. He liked how it felt, and for once, that was enough. Somehow, he knew that the life he’d now live was vastly different than the one intended for him from birth. His words had set a new destiny into motion. He leapt to his feet, shocking the wind from his detractors’ lungs.
“We’ve an opportunity to put an end to years of suffering, and if you won’t seize it, then I will!”
Eoin stared eagerly at Muireann, willing her to understand that the opportunity he spoke of had as much to do with the stolen kisses of childhood as it did the Beast. Should he succeed, he’d become a hero such as the kingdom had not seen since ages past. And a hero like this would undoubtedly be granted many freedoms, many rewards, including perchance the hand of a woman far above his station.
“I will go, my Queen, at your command.”
Yet his newfound hope, shining as it was, did not lift Muireann from the gloom into which she’d fallen. It was with regret that she gazed upon him, fixing his handsome face into her memory, because she also sensed the change of his destiny and saw with it a cruel, fruitless end. She thought of refusing him, of insisting he remain a shadow forever kept at arm’s length, but as she’d broken his heart too many times already, she couldn’t bear to break it again. Better to let him die while he was still revelling in the raptures of youthful idealism than to condemn him to decades of lonely despair.
“Go,” she said, mustering just enough composure so as not to betray her sorrow. “Go and kill the Beast if you can, and may the grace of the gods go with you.”
Thus, Eoin rode from the castle soon thereafter amidst flowers and fanfare. His smile was so bright with happiness and his cheeks so rosy with pride that no one dared tell him that he rode not to glory but certain death. Only once he disappeared into the horizon did the wailing begin. It was said Muireann wept loudest of them all, for she mourned the loss of a treasured friend as well as a life that she, as Queen, could never have. She then removed herself to her chambers, remaining sequestered there in her grief for a fortnight, and when she finally emerged, she was a changed woman, decisive, cold, and convinced that no good could ever come of love.
Links to Purchase eBooks – Click links for book samples and reviews
Buy For the Love of a Witch On Amazon
Buy For the Love of a Witch on Barnes and Noble/Nook
Have you read this book? Tell us what you thought! All information was provided by the author and not edited by us. This is so you get to know the author better.