I’m so pleased to have Lea Nolan, author of the Hoodoo Apprentice series as my guest. The series is about Emma Guthrie, her twin brother Jack and their friend Cooper who discover a treasure and unwittingly unleash an ancient Gullah curse that attacks Jack and promises to steal Cooper’s soul. Emma has to learn hoodoo magic and risk her life to save her friends. I love, love love this series!
Lea agreed to sit down with me and answer a few questions.
- In your Hoodoo Magic series your main character, Emma Guthrie, needs to learn hoodoo magic to save her friends. What exactly is hoodoo magic?
I’m so glad you asked! Hoodoo is a uniquely American folk-magic primarily practiced in the southern US that is a blend of African-American, Native American, and European magic systems. It is most often associated with the Gullah people of the Sea Islands off the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia, but others practice it too. In hoodoo, practitioners use herbs and roots, along with some minerals and animal curios such as feathers, chicken bones, alligator paws and teeth for a variety of ends. A unique blend of Christianity, herbalism, and folk magic, Hoodoo can be used as a healing medicine but is also employed as a practical magic to protect against evil, bring love, draw money, assure personal success, or lay jinxes. Sometimes Hoodoo is confused with Voodoo. They couldn’t be more different. Voodoo is a religion that is predominantly practiced in the Caribbean, New Orleans, and “Santería” in Cuba.
I spent a lot of time researching Hoodoo because I wanted to faithfully represent it and be respectful to its practitioners. All of the spells that appear in CONJURE and the other books in the series are based on authentic Hoodoo rootwork. If you’re interested in learning more, check out Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic: A Materia Magica of African-American Conjure byCatherine Yronwode and the Lucky Mojo Curio Company.
- You grew up on Long Island and now live in Maryland and say you love the water too much to live inland. You’re a girl after my own heart! What is it about the water that you find so appealing?
Oh, I love the peace and tranquility I feel whenever I’m around or in water. It speaks to a deep place in my soul and helps to center me. I even enjoy watching the sea during a storm or just after one. The raw, churning power is truly awesome. And who can resist watching the sun rise or set over the water? Whenever I’m fortunate enough to see either of those, I’m filled with gratitude.
- Besides Young Adult, you also write contemporary romance. Do you favor one genre over another? Is it difficult for you to switch genres?
I do write both and it’s honestly very difficult to pick a favorite. In many ways YA feels like my home genre. It’s what I first started writing and it brings me back to my own teens when I was a voracious reader. YA is great because you get to explore all the firsts—first kisses, hand holds, crushes, and sometimes heartbreaks. Also, there are fewer limits on what you can do in a book for teens. It’s acceptable to mash genres, like romance, paranormal, and suspense elements, while also tackling tough coming-of-age issues. On the other hand, contemporary romance is great because I get to focus on grown-up characters with grown-up problems who are looking for the one person in the world who will make them whole and give them their happily ever after. The hardest thing about switching between genres is the tense change. For YA I write in first person/present tense; but I write contemporary romance in third person/past tense. Sometimes it’s hard to change gears.
- What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love being with my family especially since my kids are getting older and they’ll be leaving the nest before I know it. My oldest heads to college in a couple weeks and my middle child is already a junior in high school. If it wasn’t for my baby, who’s about to start middle school, I’d probably be losing it. I know we’re supposed to want our birdies to fly the nest and be successful on their own, but I confess I’m not ready for it! When I’m not with my husband or kids, I’m indulging my love of true crime stories either by watching shows like Cold Justice or anything on the ID Channel, or listening to my new favorite podcast, My Favorite Murder.
- What’s next for you? What are you working on?
I’m working on a new project that I’m really excited about. It’s a women’s fiction novel about three suburban best friends, each of whom has a deadly secret.
Conjure (Hoodoo Apprentice Series Book 1)
Be careful what you search for…
Emma Guthrie expects this summer to be like any other in the South Carolina Lowcountry–hot and steamy with plenty of beach time alongside her best friend and secret crush, Cooper Beaumont, and Emma’s ever-present twin brother, Jack. But then a mysterious eighteenth-century message in a bottle surfaces, revealing a hidden pirate bounty. Lured by the adventure, the trio discovers the treasure and unwittingly unleashes an ancient Gullah curse that attacks Jack with the wicked flesh-eating Creep and promises to steal Cooper’s soul on his approaching sixteenth birthday.
But when a strange girl appears bent on revenge, demon dogs become a threat, and Jack turns into a walking skeleton, Emma has no choice but to learn hoodoo magic to undo the hex, all before summer—and her friends–are lost forever.
I’ll give away an ecopy of Conjure to someone who leave a comment. (Sorry, but this giveaway is for U.S. residents only. If you’re reading this on Goodreads, you need to go to my blog page to comment.)