Down here, we have a saying: “Here in the south we don’t hide our crazy, we parade it around on the front porch and give it a cocktail.” Truer words have never been spoken, but this saying holds especially true for certain cities. Cities like our beloved Asheville, NC and Austin, TX proclaim on t-shirts and bumper stickers to keep their cities weird. They have built tourism around quirky museums and breweries and art districts that are anything but pretentious. However, no city has quite embraced its strangeness like my favorite city (which happens to be just down the road) New Orleans.
As friendly and upbeat as New Orleans is (and believe me—it is a friendly city) certain aspects of its tourism are not only tied to the odd, but to the macabre. Tourists pay money to parade around sites of murder and gore, and to hear about deals with the devil. It is this fascination with darkness, I think, that has been an idea breeding ground for authors. With above ground tombs, the eerily beautiful architecture of the French Quarter, and free-flowing cocktails, it is easy to get inspired. Anne Rice made the Crescent City a mecca for vampires and witches, and the city embraced the reputation with open arms, soon after offering witchcraft and vampire tours to boozy out-of-towners.
When I first got the idea for the Murphey women in THESE ROOTS RUN DEEP, I knew one thing, and that was I could absolutely not, under no circumstances, no way no how, house them in New Orleans. It has been done many times since Anne Rice first created the seductive world of the Mayfair witches, a family of connected witches with a rich back story and a deep mythology. I would never dare to write about witches and stick them in the same city as Anne Rice’s intricate, well written story. I especially wouldn’t do so with short fiction. But then…
But then a friend visited from Canada and we spent six days in New Orleans, and I got to enjoy my favorite city with the fresh perspective of someone who’d never been. We played tourist and sipped pimms cups and hurricanes while touring around town. We visited cemeteries, learned the history of New Orleans’s voodoo-doo, got lost in the Garden District, and listened to the music of Frenchman.
Suddenly, I couldn’t picture my family of Irish descendant witches anywhere else. I knew exactly what their house looked like, a raised center hall cottage, pink with white scroll work and a big porch. I could see a yard filled with oleander and hydrangeas and pink crinum. I knew their neighbors couldn’t be concerned with living next to a family of witches, after all, what was one more witch in city that prides itself on the different and dark?
I also knew my witches weren’t your typical bunch. I couldn’t write about yet another group of dark, skilled, beautiful witches living in New Orleans.
The Murphey sisters…well…let’s just say they don’t have it together. Their family is dysfunctional to say the least, and they pride themselves on pulling themselves up from the trailer park. Each sister escaped childhood, but not unscathed. They are a tangle of trust issues and defensiveness, wearing chips on their shoulders like badges of honor. Cheyanne over-compensates by being the best at everything—the prettiest woman in the room, the smartest at the table, and the fiercest at work. Marchland does her best to do no harm, an easy going vegetarian who never raises her voice. But she looks outwardly to fill the dullness that plagues her heart. Bradley does her best to slip by under the radar, never making waves, her sharp tongue and sullen nature is her defense against the world. For all of their problems, the women love each other with a fierceness that rivals even the healthiest family dynamic.
These are three very different women with one thing in common: magic refuses to behave for them and for them, things always have a way of turning out wrong. Even when they know it is a bad idea, they don’t hesitate to help each other cast. When Cheyanne, New Orleans’s own top weather girl, finds out her fiancé may be cheating, her sisters put aside their opinions of the good-for-nothing man and do what Cheyanne asks. Of course, Cheyanne has never had an eye for detail. And if one thing is true—it is that magic requires an eye for detail… And maybe there are more to those live oaks you see around the parks of New Orleans than meets the eye.
When tattoo artist Marchland needs help casting a spell to keep an obsessed man at bay, of course her sisters help her out. But magic knows intent and can read the message of your heart…so what happens when your heart is hollow?
And poor, poor Bradley. Killing a man in self-defense is still killing and killing is scary…scary enough to panic and bring a person back from the dead. There is a reason necromancy is forbidden, and Bradley soon learns that every spell has a price. And every price must be paid.
The women bumble their way around the city and through their spells, and when their story is finished, no one will be left unchanged.
Em Shotwell is a Mississippi native turned Louisiana local who writes about misfits and the people who love them. You can learn more about her books at her website, www.emshotwell.com, or visit her on Facebook at facebook.com/emshotwellauthor.
The first of a trio of trilogies by three amazing romance writers. These stories all have two things in common: magic and romance!
“These Roots Run Deep” by Em Shotwell:
Spitfire, New Orleans weather girl, Cheyanne Murphey has everything, and that is exactly how she likes it. When she discovers evidence of her fiancé’s philandering, she refuses to let her perfectly cultivated image fall to pieces. Cheyanne has worked too hard, dragging herself up from the trailer park into New Orleans’ society, to give in without a fight…even if that means trading a year of her life in exchange for a love incantation from her ancestor’s spell book.
A skyclad, moonlit dance, a mysterious potion, and magic gone awry leave Cheyanne with a very peculiar life lesson: love can take on many forms, so be careful what you wish for.
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