The Ladies of Horror Fiction team is hosting a readalong of The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson over on our Goodreads group. The readalong is taking place throughout the month of December so you still have time to join in and discuss it along with us.
We were given the opportunity to send over our burning questions to Alexis Henderson, and she gave us the inside scoop on The Year of the Witching, her process, what she’s reading, and what’s next! Here is what she had to say:
If The Year of the Witching had a playlist, what would be on it?
“Seven Devils” by Florence + the Machine, “Which Witch”, also by Florence + the Machine, “Ain’t No Grave” by Johnny Cash, “God’s Whisper” by Raury, “Freedom” by Beyoncé, and “Zombie” by The Cranberries to name a few!
Who is your favorite side character?
Immanuelle’s grandmother Vera! I really admire her strength/grit. I often say that I want to be like her when I grow up.
What was it like to publish a book in 2020?
At first, it was daunting, I felt like my book would be lost amid all of the chaos of this year. But I’ve been so surprised by the way people have supported me/my book this year. I have a great team in my corner and so many readers have been enthusiastic, kind, and supportive. So all in all, despite how terrible this year has been, debuting has been a pretty wonderful experience for me.
What is your writing process like?
At this point, I’m not even sure I have a process. I’m not a big outliner so usually I dive into stories headfirst with sort of vague, half-formed ideas about where I envision the story going. But often, what actually ends up on the page is as much a surprise to me as it is to my characters. After I finish the first draft, I do a lot of rewriting and editing to really hone the plot, character arcs, and other elements I may have neglected to refine.
What authors have most influenced your writing?
Probably, Margaret Atwood, N.K. Jemisin, Cormac McCarthy, and Shirley Jackson.
What are you reading right now?
TENDER IS THE FLESH by Agustina Bazterrica. It’s horrific and wonderful. I highly recommend it!
If you can tell us anything, what do you have planned next?
Right now I’m working on THE DAWN OF THE COVEN, the sequel to THE YEAR OF THE WITCHING.
Thank you so much, Alexis, for doing a Q&A with us!
Alexis Henderson is a speculative fiction writer with a penchant for dark fantasy, witchcraft, and cosmic horror. She grew up in one of America’s most haunted cities, Savannah, Georgia, which instilled in her a life-long love of ghost stories. When she doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, you can find her painting or watching horror movies with her feline familiar. Currently, Alexis resides in the sun-soaked marshland of Charleston, South Carolina.
Her debut novel THE YEAR OF THE WITCHING will be published by Penguin Random House (US) and Penguin Books (UK) in summer 2020 with a sequel to come in 2021.
A young woman living in a rigid, puritanical society discovers dark powers within herself in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut.
In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.
But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.
Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.
Jen is one of our LOHF Admins. Jen manages the web content and the technical side of the Ladies of Horror Fiction website. She also keeps a spotlight on middle grade and young adult horror each month.