Any witch fans out there? I don’t mean the Hocus Pocus kind (although they’re an undeniably awesome coven). Today’s author brings us a story based on a real married couple from the mid 1600s – and one of them is accused of witchcraft. Nearly forty years before the Salem Witch Trials began! Welcome Jean M. Roberts!
Would you rather sleep in a coffin for one night or spend the night in a haunted house?
I think I’m going to have to go with the coffin, unless I had to sleep with the lid closed. Did you ever see the Vincent Price movie, Pit and the Pendulum, where the girl is buried alive in a casket, hooey, scary. I’m not sure I’d survive a haunted house, depends on the ghosts. What are the odds I’d get Casper?
Has a movie or book scared you so much you couldn’t sleep? Which one?
When I was a teenager, I watched the TV adaptation of Salem’s Lot. I swear I couldn’t look out a window after dark for a year or more. The vision of that dead boy hovering outside scarred me for life.
Would you rather use a Ouija board or participate in a séance?
Going to go with a séance here. I am into genealogy and would come prepared with a list of questions that are driving me crazy.
What was the hardest scene to write in your featured book?
In Weave A Web of Witchcraft, one of my characters kills her own child and that was very difficult to both plot and write. As a mother, I could not imagine doing this to my baby so it was especially painful to put down in writing. I came up with multiple scenarios which might lead to a woman to murder and I think the one I went with is both compelling and horrifying.
Which comes first for you – plot or characters?
The characters in Weave a Web of Witchcraft are, with only a few exceptions, real people. I was handed a slate of characters who lived in the mid 17th century in a small rural puritan town, Springfield, Massachusetts. My two main characters were charged with and tried for witchcraft. I had to flesh out their lives to create the plot line. Luckily, I had depositions from a 1650 witch trial to use to drive the narrative.
My second book, Blood in the Valley, is set during the American Revolution. It is also based on real people, so again they were the impetus of the story. I knew the storyline would be their experience during the war, so they came as a package deal.
In my current WIP, to be published next year, the story slowly evolved and then the characters came to me. It was fun to see a different side to the creation of a story.
What are you working on now?
My next novel, The Heron, is a blend of historical fiction, and time travel with a paranormal element. It was a lot of fun to write and I’m looking forward to getting it published. The Heron is the story of two women, one a college professor in modern time and the other an abused wife living in the 1690s New Hampshire. Their lives intersect in an ancient house on the banks of the Oyster River. It’s a creepy, atmospheric and bit dark and it may or may not have a happy ending.
This is the haunting tale of Hugh and Mary Parsons of Springfield, Massachusetts. Using actual testimony recorded in their depositions and trials, the book recreates the story of this ill-fated couple. Happily married in 1645, their life slowly disintegrates into a nightmare of accusations, madness and death. By 1651, Hugh is accused of witchcraft by his own wife and soon the entire town turns against him. Hugh’s friends and neighbors tell outlandish tales of unnatural occurrences, ghostly lights and mysterious beasts then point the finger of blame squarely at Hugh. In a wild turn of events Mary confesses that she too is a witch and has danced with the devil. Both Hugh and Mary are deposed and sent to Boston to stand trial for witchcraft before the General Court of Massachusetts; one is charged with murder. Their very lives hang in the balance. Exhaustively researched, this book is filled with vivid details of life on the frontier of Massachusetts, and brings to life the people who struggled for existence in the harsh world that was Puritan Massachusetts. Predating the famous Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692 by almost forty years, this is the page turning story of a tragic couple whose life is overtaken by ignorance and superstition.
Jeanie Roberts, a proud mixture of English Puritan Great Migration Ancestors and Irish Immigrants, makes her home outside of Houston, Texas. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas, Houston with a BSN. Following in her father’s footsteps, Jeanie served in the United States Air Force where she met and married an Air Force pilot. After touring around the world, her family settled in Texas, where she worked as a Nurse Administrator for a non-profit. She has one son, a soldier in the U.S. Army.
Jeanie divides her time between writing, family history/genealogy and traveling. She is currently working on her third novel. When not writing novels, Jeanie reviews books on her blog, The Books Delight, researches and posts about her ancestors on her blog, The Family Connection, and investigates mythical Native American Ancestry on her blog, Indian Reservations.