Please welcome Suzanne Palmieri to The Qwillery. The Witch of Belladonna Bay was published on May 13, 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin.
TQ: Welcome back to The Qwillery. Your new novel, The Witch of Belladonna Bay, was published on May 13th. Has your writing process changed (or not) from when you wrote The Witch of Little Italy (2013) to The Witch of Belladonna Bay? What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Suzanne: I am SO happy to be back! It's a funny thing, writing. Publishing too. We are usually writing books a year out, so there is a moment when one book is published and the other has already been written. I was done with The Witch of Belladonna Bay last year... but I will say... that this book was a little different. This book is linear, where The Witch of Little Italy went back and forth in time. And there's a murder mystery too! It was so much fun to write.
TQ: What do you wish that you knew about book publishing when The Witch of Little Italy came out that you know now?
Suzanne: I was very new to this industry. So I think the answer to this question is EVERYTHING.! I didn't understand how publicity and marketing worked. I didn't fully appreciate how much time we need to dedicate to the marketing of our own books even if we are with a traditional publishing house. I also didn't realize how amazingly supportive other authors would be. (My heart is with Elin Hilderbrand as we speak... Love and Light, Friend. Love and light.)
TQ: Tell us something about The Witch of Belladonna Bay that is not in the book description.
Suzanne: It's a story about homecoming. About how to forgive and understand the errors you've made in the past. It's a story about learning how to appreciate your true self. Bronwyn must forgive herself and allow the beautiful moments of her past shine, in order to unravel the mystery and heal her family.
TQ: Which character in the The Witch of Belladonna Bay has surprised you the most? Who was the hardest character to write and why?
Suzanne: Byrd surprised me and continued to surprise me throughout the narrative! She's a pip. The hardest character for me was BitsyWyn... I know... She's the main character! But I feel as if I finally got her right. We struggled, but not too much...
TQ: The Witch of Belladonna Bay and The Witch of Little Italy are infused with magic and deal with family, love and crisis. What appeals to you about including magic in the novels?
Suzanne: Most of my work is autobiographical... I think most fiction is. Anyway, because I like to take real, sensory moments from my own life and fictionalize them for layers inside my stories, the magic is a way for me to fix what went wrong. If that makes sense. I do believe that we are capable of far more than we give ourselves credit for.
TQ: The Witch of Belladonna Bay has been described as "Southern Gothic." Is that an apt description? What is Southern Gothic?
Suzanne: I think the term Gothic has to do with the following elements: A house that becomes so real it has its own character. A family secret that must be unearthed. Ghosts... and a whiff of romance. Lush garden settings are usually part of this as well. The Witch of Little Italy would have also fallen into this category. And I suppose that because The Witch of Belladonna Bay is set in the Deep South, that's what makes it Southern Gothic! Right? I'm open to interpretation.
TQ: Please give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Witch of Belladonna Bay.
Suzanne: "Mermaids don't drown." And: "I used to think it was terribly romantic being half stardust and half southern magnolia." (Thanks for that opportunity!)
TQ: What's next?
Suzanne: 2015! THE WITCH OF BOURBON STREET!
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Suzanne: Thank you so much!
The Witch of Belladonna Bay
St. Martin's Griffin, May 13, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages
It’s the trouble you aren’t expecting that gets you. And it’s all around you, Bronwyn, it’s all around you like the air.…
Bronwyn "BitsyWyn" Whalen hasn’t set eyes on the red dirt of Magnolia Creek, Alabama, for fourteen years—not since her mama died. But with her brother, Patrick, imprisoned for the murder of her childhood best friend, and her eccentric father, Jackson, at his wits’ end while her eleven-year-old niece, Byrd, runs wild, Bronwyn finds herself once again surrounded by ancient magnolia trees and the troubled family she left behind. She becomes immersed in a whirlwind of mystery and magic as she tries to figure out what really happened that fateful night her friend died.And as her bond with Byrd deepens, Bronwyn must face the demons of her past in order to unravel her family’s uncertain future.In Suzanne Palmieri's thrilling new novel, The Witch of Belladonna Bay, readers will learn if love and magic are enough to bring a broken family back together.
The Witch of Little Italy
St. Martin's Griffin, March 26, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
In Suzanne Palmieri’s charming debut, The Witch of Little Italy, you will be bewitched by the Amore women. When young Eleanor Amore finds herself pregnant, she returns home to her estranged family in the Bronx, called by “The Sight” they share now growing strong within her. She has only been back once before when she was ten years old during a wonder-filled summer of sun-drenched beaches, laughter and cartwheels. But everyone remembers that summer except her. Eleanor can’t remember anything from before she left the house on her last day there. With her past now coming back to her in flashes, she becomes obsessed with recapturing those memories. Aided by her childhood sweetheart, she learns the secrets still haunting her magical family, secrets buried so deep they no longer know how they began. And, in the process, unlocks a mystery over fifty years old—The Day the Amores Died—and reveals, once and for all, a truth that will either heal or shatter the Amore clan.
SUZANNE PALMIERI is the author of The Witch of Little Italy and the forthcoming The Witch of Belladonna Bay (May, 2014). She is also the co-author of I'll Be Seeing You and Empire Girls under the name Suzanne Hayes. She lives by the ocean with her husband and three darling witches. She is currently hard at work on her next novel.