Return to the world of A Secret History of Witches with the spellbinding story of Ursule Orchière and her discovery of magical powers that will not only change the course of her life but also each generation that will come after her.
We chat with Louisa Morgan about her latest outing The Great Witch of Britainplus writing, book recommendations and more!
Hello, Louisa! Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?
Salvation! I’m a mom, a yogini, a dog lover, and a writer, not always in that order. The first half of my taste (started at the age of five) I was a professional singer, both folk and classical. The second half (so far) has given me the great blessing of a second artistic career, and I’m very grateful for that. I like to write books. And I love – and am often surprised – that there are readers for them! Not sure that many people are so lucky.
How was the first month of 2022 for you?
He’s been busy! With the release of a new book, there have been lots of people to talk to, interviews to do, plans to make. Also, my familiar, Oscar, needed physical therapy, so that kept me busy. He is my constant companion and I need him in optimal health! I’m also getting used to the spectacular but freezing northern Idaho weather. Brrrrrr.
When did you discover your love for writing?
I was an avid reader from an early age, and because I’m used to doing the things I love, writing came naturally, in its time. I always intended to write, then my musical life took over, but here I am! For me, writing is like acting. I love having an audience, and I love honing my performance – my novel – to the highest possible level.
Quick Lightning Ride! Tell us about the first book you remember reading, the one that made you want to become an author and the one you can’t stop thinking about!
Smoky, the story of a horse. Will James was the author. My father, a horse lover, gave me the book when I was very young (a precocious reader) and I probably read it twenty times before my teens. Even today, the voice of this novel is inspiring, authentic, fluid, a typically Western story but absolutely readable. The book is facing me from my library right now, with my father’s inscription.
your new novel, The Great Witch of Britain, is out now! If you could only describe it in five words, what would they be?
Biography of a working witch.
What can readers expect?
They can expect to know the ancestor of the Orchière witches they met at A secret history of witches. I hope they like it as much as I do.
Where does the inspiration come from? The Great Witch of Britain comes from?
This inspiration was a first for me! A number of readers have wondered about the first Ursula, wanting to know her story. I loved discovering her, and as often when I develop a character, I miss her! She is the epitome of the powerful women I have known and loved.
Can you tell us a bit about the challenges you faced while writing and how you managed to overcome them?
There were personal challenges, as so often happens to all of us. And as I wrote in 2021, I had the same challenges and difficulties as all of us, created by the pandemic. It was a difficult time for everyone. A friend said the other day that she couldn’t see how I could write in the middle of such a difficult year, but the truth is that my work saved me. Turning to the past, meeting a character I cared about so much, developing his story, all of this made me come out of myself. I won’t pretend it was easy, but as my wonderful mother used to say, “one foot in front of the other”. This maxim works for both writing and life.
Are there any favorite moments or characters that you really enjoyed writing or exploring?
There were a lot of them, but I think the one that surprised me the most, and that I loved making, was the return of Remy, the farmer Ursule worked with for many years, towards the end of the book. He was a good man in a world where many men were cruel to Ursule, and I have fond memories of him.
What’s the best and worst writing advice you’ve ever received?
Worse: write quickly. (I have an entire presentation I give at workshops to demystify this.)
Best: Dramatize, don’t narrate. (I know we all hear that all the time, but when I get stuck, that’s the principle I come back to. I could expand on that!)
What’s next for you?
I’m writing a new novel, not a witchcraft novel, but a ghost story. I hope readers enjoy something different! I’m also already planning another book on witches, set in the time of Eleanor of Aquitaine – I’m working on developing it. The witch element will be a bit different I think.
Finally, do you have any 2022 book recommendations for our readers?
Don’t miss Violence, by Delilah Dawson, if you can tolerate a touch of horror in your story! I had the privilege of reading it in manuscript, and I loved it. I also loved a book that came out in 2020, which is now available in paperback. It is You let me in by Camille Bruce. Oddly enough, as I don’t read a lot of horror, there are also strong horror elements, but an absolutely fabulous mystery and an unreliable narrator that I envy. Very well done. Another book I’ve had the chance to read in manuscript is a literary novel, but I’m not sure it will come out before early 2023. It’s not two people, by the wonderful writer Erica Bauermeister. When it happens, don’t miss it!