Q&A with Jan Eldredge
Welcome back to our author Q&As! This month we’re welcoming Jan Eldredge, author of the wonderfully spooky Witch Girl.
Jan lives in Florida with her husband, their children, and a house full of cats. When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading, going to theme parks, and exploring old cemeteries. She is particularly fascinated with monsters and magic. Witch Girl is her first book.
Why write a book about witches? What was your inspiration?
I’ve always been drawn to dark fairytales and spooky stories, particularly to the wicked witches that inhabit them. I definitely have a soft spot for literary villainesses, but I thought it’d be interesting to show what life was like for a good witch. Evangeline and her gran are haunt huntresses, good witches who answer the call when they’re needed, sort of like supernatural first responders. Spooky stories can serve as great reminders that not everyone in any particular group is evil.
Did you enjoy reading ghost stories as a child?
Oh, yes! When I was a child, I loved scary stuff. I think a lot of kids do. My older brother had a collection of Scholastic Book Club mysteries and spooky stories, and I have very fond memories of reading them. One of my favorites was 13 Ghostly Tales, edited by Freya Littledale. I was mesmerized by that creepy book, particularly by its ghostly, atmospheric pink cover. I recently purchased a vintage copy of it that I found online. Reading the tales now as an adult, they’re very corny, but I still love them just as much.
What’s your favourite spooky book?
I’m going to cheat and give you two answers. And it was very difficult limiting myself to just two. My favorite standalone spooky book is Coraline by Neil Gaiman. My favorite spooky series is The Lockwood & Co. books by Jonathan Stroud. Both authors create their spooky atmospheres to perfection, completely immersing readers into the characters’ scary worlds. That’s what I love about reading spooky fiction, that ability to escape to dangerous, exciting worlds while exploring them from the comfort of my safe, everyday life.
Witch Girl explores themes like friendship, loyalty and determination. What message would you like young readers to take away from this book?
I hope the book will inspire young readers to believe in themselves. As Evangeline’s wise gran says,
I also hope they’ll learn to be persistent when pursuing their dreams; that they won’t give up after the first failures. If a banshee knocks you down, you get right back up, dust off the seat of your pants, and try again. Like Evangeline, young people will certainly experience failures in their lives, but also like Evangeline, they should not let those failures define who they are.
“Power comes from belief. If you don’t believe you have it, then you don’t. But if you believe in yourself, amazing things will happen.”
How do you celebrate Halloween?
Halloween is my favorite holiday; we do it up big. We have a party and invite lots of friends over to help us celebrate. Our side yard is transformed into a creepy graveyard filled with fog, eerie lighting, haunted music, and a tall, silent grim reaper handing out candy. At the front of our house are our demented doctors asking visitors to donate spare body parts. We get a large number of local trick-or-treaters, but since we live near a popular tourist destination, we also get a lot of vacationers stopping by. For many of those visitors from other countries, it’s their first time experiencing Halloween in the U.S. We have such a great time explaining the concept of trick-or-treating to them. Last Halloween we gave out candy to over 1,200 people. There were so many smiles, so many great costumes, and so many happy people having fun. For me, it truly is the best night of the year.
BUY THE BOOK
For more fabulous insights into Jan’s world, head over to her Facebook , Twitter & Instagram or make your way over to her website…