Tag: deborah harkness

Exclusive Interview with ‘A Discovery of Witches’ Author Deborah Harkness

AMC’s adaptation of Deborah Harkness’ bestseller A Discovery of Witches, the first in the All Souls Trilogy, has been gaining critical acclaim since it aired on AMC on April 7th, and currently holds at 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The show, which follows Diana Bishop, a reluctant witch who discovers a bewitched manuscript which throws her into the world of magic, and compelling her to form a forbidden alliance with a vampire…

We were lucky enough to catch up with author Deborah Harkness to get her thoughts on the show, on writing, and on what’s happening with her wine blog…

 

 

 


 

  1. The first book in your All Souls Trilogy, A Discovery of Witches, has been adapted for TV and brought to AMC and BBC AMERICA in the US. How has the process been for you? Were you involved?

Yes, I was involved. I’m an executive producer on the project and I also wrote the initial series document or “bible” for the show. It’s been exciting to be part of a collaborative creative project. I try to approach each day as a learning experience. There’s so much to discover and all kinds of new challenges to explore.

 

  1. What has been the most exciting thing to come of the adaptation?

 

For me personally, it has been most exciting to see the characters come to life on screen.

It is also wonderful to have a whole new audience come to the stories through the television adaptation, and then to follow them as they find the books and the energized fan community that has sprung up around them.

 

  1. Was a possible adaptation on your mind when writing the book?

 

No, not at all. I thought it was a long shot the books would even be published so I was just focused on telling the story. I’ve been told I have a cinematic imagination, which I think is a fancy way of saying that I see the story in my head and try to capture what I see in words on the page.

 

  1. Have you always been interested in the supernatural?

 

I’m not sure what you mean by supernatural. I am interested in how hard it has been, historically, for humans to figure out their place in the world and how to thrive in it. One of the techniques that they use to cope is to imagine a world outside of the one they occupy and to invest that world with all sorts of powerful beings. In my stories there is only one supernatural element—magic. Similarly, there is only one creature with supernatural abilities: the witch. The rest are preternatural. So by that standard, I guess I’m less interested in the supernatural than many other people!

 

  1. You’ve said the success of novels like Twilight got you thinking about what it is that has always fascinated humans about the supernatural. Can you talk a little bit about what inspired you to try your hand at fiction, after publishing several non-fiction titles?

 

I found the modern interest in the supernatural puzzling, and wanted to be able to figure out how that could be sustained given that our scientific worldview doesn’t seem to support the existence of a world outside our own. So I started imagining – what if magic could be part of the modern worldview? What would that look like? How would someone with supernatural power fit in? It started out as an intellectual mystery to be solved, but as it progressed,  my “what ifs” got more detailed and I realized I was writing a novel. It wasn’t planned or inspired in a traditional way.

 

 

Teresa Palmer as Diana Bishop – A Discovery of Witches _ Season 1, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Robert Viglasky/SundanceNow/Shudder/Bad Wolf

 

 

  1. Would you return to non-fiction, or is fiction the way forward for you now?

 

Sure. I wrote two non-fiction books and many non-fiction articles. I was also a wine journalist. One thing I’ve learned about myself is that my “way forward” has lots of twists and turns in it.

 

  1. What is your writing routine like? Does it differ between fictional and non-fictional works?

 

I don’t have a writing routine. For me, a writing routine is something that gets in the way of actually writing. So many steps. So many rules. I used to feel a bit bad about that, and tried to distill a list of “a perfect day”. Even I found it intimidating. Writing is, and has been since 1982 when I went to college, part of my daily life. I do it as often as I can in a day, wherever I am, however it happens. I’ve written in my home office, my campus office, on airplanes, in trains, on napkins waiting at the drive-thru, and in cafés. You have to take the time when you can. And it’s no different whether I have an article due, a lecture to give, or a chapter of a novel that I’m trying to finish.

 

  1. As well as your amazing writing career, you also have an award winning wine blog! Could you tell us a little about this? Is it important to you to have hobbies outside of writing?

 

I haven’t had much time to blog since I started writing fiction, so sadly my wine blog is on indefinite hiatus. Like all of my writing, it started out with me trying to solve a problem (namely, how to set up a blog for work more than a decade ago when there were very few of them). I had just come back from wine shopping, wrote about that, and then wrote about drinking the wine I bought over the next few weeks. Pretty soon, I had a wine blog. As for hobbies, I think it’s important to have a LIFE outside of writing. If not, what on earth are you going to write about? It’s pretty easy to see how my love of wine influenced the All Souls books, in all sorts of ways.

 

  1. Can you tell us some of the books and authors who have inspired you?

 

I am mostly a non-fiction reader. My most important years as a reader of fiction were from the ages of five to thirty. During that time I devoured books, mostly biographies and novels. Clearly, I was most interested in people and their lives. I loved the Nancy Drew mysteries, and historical fiction (before I became a historian) most notably the works of Dorothy Dunnett, and the novels of Anne Rice. The only book I have ever stayed up all night to read was Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour. One of the last novels I remember making a huge impact on me was A. S. Byatt’s Possession. I was a graduate student, and the ethical and scholarly dilemmas in the book were a perfect companion to finishing my PhD.

 

  1. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

 

Write. Edit. Rewrite. Repeat.

 


 Tune into A Discovery of Witches on AMC Here!

Don’t miss your chance to win $500 courtesy of AMC’s A Discovery of Witches! 

 

This Bestselling Supernatural Trilogy Is About to Become Your Favorite Show!

The first novel in scholar Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy, entitled A Discovery of Witches, was published in February 2011 to great acclaim, debuting on both the New York Times and USA Today best-seller lists. A Discovery of Witches was Harkness’ first foray into the world of fiction after publishing several non-fiction books during her career as a historian. (A career that, by the way, explains Harkness’ immersive attention to detail!) Karen Valby of Entertainment Weekly noted that “Harkness writes with thrilling gusto about the magical world. Whether she’s describing a yoga class for witches, daemons, and vampires or Diana’s benignly haunted house, it’s a treat to suspend disbelief.”

 

The three covers of the All Souls Trilogy
Image Via Fangtastic Fiction

 

Peep the blurb and get excited:

 

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

 

 

Her smash hit debut was followed by The Shadow of Night and The Book of Life, both of which were also exceptionally well-received for a debut fiction writer. (Yep—she’s really that good.) Her audience needed more, and that’s exactly what we got! In 2018, filming wrapped on AMC’s adaptation of the series, which stars Teresa Palmer and Matthew Goode. That’s right: A Discovery of Witches is coming to your screens, courtesy of AMC. Despite comparisons made between A Discovery of Witches and Twilight, Collider calls Discoverysignificantly sexier, scarier and more stylish than the Twilight films” and says it will be “the next show to cast its spell over viewers.” 

 

 

 

The show has something for everyone, from fantasy, to romance—The New York Times states that “lovers don’t get much more perfect than the vampire aristocrat Matthew Clairmont,” while the Austin Chronicle comments that the show “is perfectly willing to show off what 1,500 years of sexual experience can do for a vampire’s bedroom moves.” Catch us moving closer to the screen! Apparently, a vampire’s game is nearly as impressive as the show’s settings: The Hollywood Reporter notes that “the directors make gorgeous use of filming locations in Oxford and Venice and Scotland.” Where there’s fantasy and romance, there’s plenty of drama—enough to keep you coming back for more.

The show currently has a whopping 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and we are 100% ready to sit down and watch! In addition to Palmer and Goode, the star-studded cast includes Alex Kingston, Valerie Pettiford, Edward Bluemel and Sherlock‘s Louise Brealey. All these gorgeous people are sure to make for a flawless adaptation!

Check out the trailer below, and get excited for the premiere of A Discovery of Witches.

 

 

Don’t miss your chance to win $500 courtesy of AMC! 

 

 

Tune in Sundays 9/8c on AMC!

Follow A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES on Facebook and Twitter!

Teresa Palmer as Diana Bishop reading a book - A Discovery of Witches

5 Magical Book Series With Enchanting Future Adaptations

Spring is here, the time of new life, so it’s time to spring-clean your must-watch and must-read lists before summertime! We’ve got five enchanting book series for you to read, each of which you can expect to see coming to your screens. Some will show up sooner than others (like A Discovery of Witches which premieres April 7 9/8c on AMC), but as for those adaptations without official release dates—we’re sure you’ll have fun looking forward to them!

So, without further ado, here are five magical series that are certain to enchant you.

 

1. Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Series / AMC’s A Discovery of Witches

Teresa Palmer as Diana Bishop with hand on the nose of white horse
Teresa Palmer as Diana Bishop – A Discovery of Witches _ Season 1 – Photo Credit: Adrian Rogers/SKY Productions/Sundance Now

 

Based on Deborah Harkness‘ bestselling All Souls trilogy, AMC’s upcoming TV adaptation A Discovery of Witches follows Diana Bishop, a historian and reluctant witch who accidentally calls up a bewitched manuscript. This mistake will propel her into a world of dark magic and forbidden love… thereby introducing her to the intriguing, mysterious geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont.

This is a thrilling series to both read and watch, so get turning those pages before A Discovery of Witches premieres April 7 9/8c on AMC.

Follow the show on Facebook and Twitter! And don’t miss your chance to win $500 by entering below!

 

 

2. Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking series 

 

Patrick Ness's Chaose Walking Trilogy | Image Via The Edge
Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking Trilogy | Image Via The Edge

 

Upcoming film Chaos Walking is based on Patrick Ness‘ The Knife of Never Letting Go, the first in his bestselling YA Chaos Walking trilogy. The story is set in a dystopian future where children are raised to believe that a virus killed off all the women in their colony, which caused a mass unleashing of psychological “noise,” the ability to hear the minds of people and animals. When Todd happens upon an unknown person who is two remarkable things—silent and a girl—he realizes that the stories about the virus may not be what they seem.

The film adaptation, on its way in 2020, stars Daisy Ridley, Tom Holland, and Nick Jonas.

 

3. Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl Series

 

Artemis Fowl book covers
Image Via Collider

 

The Artemis Fowl franchise currently boasts no less than eight instalments in addition to a collection of graphic novels and a spin-off, The Fowl Twins, in the works. The beloved and long-running series follows the adventures of a boy genius who, in the first novel, kidnaps a fairy in the hopes of extorting ransom from the Fairy People and restoring the Fowl family fortune. It gets weirder—and even more awesome—from there.

A film adaptation was first announced all the way back in 2001, but it wasn’t until Disney took over the project in 2016 that things really got moving. Starring newcomer Ferdia Shaw in the titular role, Artemis Fowl comes out August 9th, and is sure to be worth the long wait!

 

4. Victoria Aveyard’s The Red Queen Series 

 

VICTORIA AVEYARD'S THE RED QUEEN SERIES 
Image Via YouTube

 

Victoria Aveyard is only twenty-eight-years-old, but she’s the bestselling author of Red Queen, the first instalment of an amazing (and amazingly popular) fantasy series. Mare Barrow lives in a profoundly stratified society, a seemingly irreparable schism between the upper-class people with silver blood and the poorer people who have red blood. The catch? Silver blooded people have magical abilities. Poor people have nothing. That is, except for Mare, who has red blood and a superhuman power…

Universal Studios purchased the rights, and The Hunger Games‘ Elizabeth Banks has signed on to direct the movie adaptation!

5. V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic Series 

 

V.E. Schwab's trilogy book covers
Image Via Tor/Forge Blog

 

A Darker Shade of Magic, the first in V.E. Schwab‘s Shades of Magic series follows Kell as he travels through four different Londons, each of them distinct in their levels of magic. Kell is from Red London, an extremely magical city that may not be quite as safe as its residents seem to believe. When Kell, the only remaining magician who can move between these worlds, meets a human woman from our own ordinary London, they’ll have some universe-saving to do. NPR says the hit series is compulsively readable, “with the ease of a young-adult novel, with short paragraphs, quick-moving prose, and plenty of action;” at the same time, “it’s grimmer even than the current bout of post-Hunger Games YA.” We can’t wait to get our hearts crushed!

We don’t yet have a cast or official dates for the Sony Pictures adaptation, which will be produced by Gerard Butler. But hey, that just means you’ll have more time to get reading!

‘A Discovery of Witches’ Author Deborah Harkness Is the Magic Expert You Need to Know About

AMC’s adaptation of Deborah Harkness’s bestselling All Souls trilogy premieres April 7th, and if the books are anything to go by, it’s going to be BIG. Not only due to their enormous popularity—the first in the series, A Discovery of Witches, was an instant New York Times bestseller, and more than thirty-seven foreign editions and translations of volumes from the trilogy have been published—but also due to their fascinating origins.

Author Deborah Harkness did not start out life dreaming of fantasy writing. Quite the opposite. Harkness came to fiction through nonfiction; academic research, to be exact. A professor of history, she teaches European history and the history of science at the University of Southern California, and it was, as she puts it, “a kind of logic problem” that led her to writing fantasy….

Read on for some fantastic facts about the creator of one of fiction’s most innovative and beloved contemporary fantasy worlds.

 

Matthew Goode as Matthew Clairmont and Teresa Palmer as Diana Bishop – A Discovery of Witches Season 1 – Photo Credit: Robert Viglasky/SKY Productions/Sundance Now

All Souls has its roots in Harkness’ PhD research.

 

Teresa Palmer as Diana Bishop – A Discovery of Witches _ Season 1 – Photo Credit: Robert Viglasky/SKY Productions /Sundance Now

 

As part of her research, she studied “the history of magic and science in Europe, especially during the period from 1500 to 1700, ” working in some of Britain’s most illustrious libraries, including “Oxford’s Bodleian Library, the All Souls College Library at Oxford, the British Library, London’s Guildhall Library, the Henry E. Huntington Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Newberry Library.”

Prior to All Souls, Harkness published two works of historical non-fiction: John Dee’s Conversations with Angels: Cabala, Alchemy and the End of Nature in 1999, and The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution, in 2007.

 

It was the success of Twilight that got her thinking…

 

Edward, Bella, Jacob in Twilight
Image Via Movifone

 

According to the L.A. Times, in 2008, Professor Harkness was on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, and in the airport she was struck by the current obsession with Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight novels.

“To walk through the airport was to be hit with vampires, witches, ghosts and demons at every angle in the bookstores,” Harkness says. “It was so huge — it seemed to me much bigger than what had happened with Anne Rice. And as a historian of science, trapped in Puerto Vallarta during what turned out to be the rainy season, I thought, ‘Why do these creatures still exert such a pull on us?'”

This question got her thinking.

“People believed that the supernatural and the natural existed, intermingled. We think of ourselves as having very little in common with people in 1558. And yet there were walls of this stuff. What if 16th century people were right, and the supernatural and natural coexisted? How would that play out? It started out almost like a kind of logic problem.”

 

She has some amazing advice for aspiring writers…

 

Teresa Palmer as Diana Bishop – A Discovery of Witches _ Season 1, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Robert Viglasky/SundanceNow/Shudder/Bad Wolf

 

Due to her unconventional path to writing bestselling fiction, in the For Aspiring Writers section of her website, Harkness regretfully expresses that her experience is not of much use to anybody else, in terms of taking the correct steps in order to achieve successful in the field of creative writing. She does however, have some excellent advice for aspiring authors:

“Say yes.” The world is asking you to try new things, have fresh experiences, meet people, see foreign places, and learn things. Most of the time we say no. Say yes. Go for it. Try. Live. Dream. Refuse to be negative. Be generous with your own time and gifts. See what happens then.

Amen! Harkness also gives a very amusing, three-possibility answer to the question “What is your day like as a writer?” in which she details what it’s like on a good day, a normal day and a very bad day.

She is a voracious reader.

 

Deborah Harkness looking at ancient text in museum
Image Via Los Angeles Times

 

Unsurprisingly, this doctor and bestselling author is a devotee of the written word. But not only that! On her website, Harkness has a book recommendation section for fans of All Souls, with suggestions falling under categories such as Mysteries, Witches & Magical Beings, Parallel Worlds, and The Magic of Childhood. Phew! So if you’re looking for some additions to your To Be Read pile, look no further. Deborah’s got you covered.

She runs a successful wine blog!

 

Harkness and a friend cheers glasses of red wine with red wine bottle in foreground on table
Image Via A Word on Words

 

That’s right: Harkness runs a multi-award-winning wine blog, Good Wine Under $20, about which Harkness writes:

“I first became interested in wine when I was teaching at UC Davis, where I took an intensive weekend class on wine, and was close to Napa and Sonoma. Now I’m teaching in LA, and I started this blog to share my wine journeys and my passion for everyday wine culture. In addition to this blog, I have contributed to Wine & Spirits magazine; the Serious Eats blog; and my recommendations have been included in the Washington Post Express.”

Is there NOTHING this woman can’t do?

 


 

A Discovery of Witches Premieres on AMC April 7 9/8c on AMC

https://www.amc.com/shows/a-discovery-of-witches

Follow the show on Facebook and Twitter!