ABOUT THE BOOKS:
Q. Will there be a sequel to A Discovery of Witches and when will it be published?
A. A Discovery of Witches was the first book in the All Souls Trilogy. The second volume, Shadow of Night, will be published in the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand on 10 July 2012. It will be published in other foreign territories as translations are completed. Please see the foreign editions and translations pages for A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and book #3 for information as it becomes available.
Q. In how many countries is ADOW available now?
A Discovery of Witches has been sold into thirty-eight foreign territories at the time of writing. Check our list of foreign editions for further information.
Q. I don’t live in the U.S. How can I find out if and when Shadow of Night will be available in my country?
A. As foreign rights to Shadow of Night are sold, we post them here. When foreign rights to book #3 sell, we will post them here on this website.
Q. Why isn’t there a mass market paperback edition of A Discovery of Witches in the US?
A. The publishers decide when and if there will be a mass-market paperback. Currently, there are hardback, audio, electronic, large print, and trade paperback edition. If a mass-market edition is planned for the US, I will let you know in the news updates.
Q. I thought Jennifer Ikeda did a wonderful job reading the audio version of ADOW! Will she be reading the rest of the books in the trilogy?
A. I agree! Ms. Ikeda has agreed to read Shadow of Night for the English-language audio version. We’ll have to keep our fingers crossed that she’ll be available to read book #3 in due course.
ABOUT THE WRITING PROCESS
Q. Did you know the end of the book when you started?
A. I knew the end of Diana and Matthew’s story very soon after I started. I wrote the first three lines (“it begins with absence and desire…”) first: that was my outline. Then I wrote chapter one of A Discovery of Witches. Then I wrote what I believe is the final chapter of book #3.
Q. Where do the characters come from?
A. If I ever figure that out, I’ll let you know!
Q. Who is your favorite character in ADOW?
Q. Do you believe in magic?
A. Yes. I never disagree with Albert Einstein.
Q. Do you believe there are witches and vampires in the world?
A. Absolutely. They’re not always known as witches and vampires, though.
Q. Do you see yourself in Diana?
A. I would like to think we can all see something of ourselves in Diana.
Q. How did you research the book? How long did it take you?
A. I’ve been studying European history between 1400 and 1800 since 1982. I have lots of notes.
Q. Where did the idea to write the book come from?
A. From a vacation in Puerto Vallarta, where I walked through the airport and saw all the books about witches and vampires on the shelves. This made me wonder if there really are witches and vampires, what do they do for a living?
Q. What made you decide to make Satu a Finn?
A. Members of my family and close circle of friends are Finnish. Besides, Satu means ‘fairytale.’ Who could resist naming a witch ‘Fairytale’?
Q. Do you know that AB- is not the universal blood acceptor? That would be AB+.
A. Yes, I do know that. I can even track the moment in the writing process when I transposed the bloodtype from my notes to the computer and reversed it. I didn’t catch it. No one caught it. Except for the hundreds of nurses and medical professionals who read the book, brought it to my attention, and got me to correct it. If you have a later printing of A Discovery of Witches, or the paperback, it will be correct in your copy. Thanks to all of you who let me know that it was wrong.
Q. How did you learn about the ancient language of Occitan?
A. I’m pretty sure I first encountered it as an undergraduate in a medieval literature course, then again as a graduate student.
Q. Why the Knights of Lazarus? Where can I learn more about them?
A. They are the least-understood medieval crusading order. Very little is known about them. That’s why they were irresistible.
Q. Where did the inspiration of a vampire that does yoga come from?
A. I was in a yoga class trying to do downward dog and while upside down I spotted someone who seemed to be balancing on a bit of their forearm and their ear. Obviously that person was not human.
Q. Why is Diana so independent? Why is Diana so dependent (on Matthew)?
A. Different perspectives are a beautiful thing, yes? I put these two questions together—the most often asked about Diana—just to show you that independence, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
Q. How would you classify the novel?
A. Fiction. Plain old fiction.
Q. How do you plot the book?
A. Through a combination of careful planning and complete accident.
Q. How do you handle the complicated backstories?
A. Through a combination of careful planning and complete accident.
Q. What chapters of ADOW were the hardest to write?
A. The chapters when Matthew abandoned Diana at Sept-Tours.
Q. Does it feel like your characters are real?
Q. How long did it take to write ADOW?
A. I wrote the book in nine months and revised it for submission over the course of three months. Then I spent a further six months editing the book for publication.
Q. How did you feel when you were done with ADOW?
A. Incredulous and numb.
ABOUT SIGNED BOOKS
Q. Can you sign my book? Can I purchase a signed book from you?
A. I cannot sign your book unless I see you at a bookstore visit or you purchase a signed book in advance from a bookseller with a scheduled tour visit (see here for current schedule). Bookstore policies vary with respect to advance orders, shipping, and how many books can be purchased/signed/personalized. Our friends at Pages Bookstore in Manhattan Beach California have agreed to fulfill signed book orders for those of you who would like a signed/personalized copy of the US edition. Please see the detailed information here for more information.
Q. If I come to a book signing event, is it okay to request a photo with the author?
A. Absolutely. I’m happy to have my picture taken with you—singly, with book groups, etc.
ABOUT THE MOVIE:
Q. I am very worried about Hollywood ruining the story. Please tell me that you’ve not signed away all control over it.
A. I sold the rights to the trilogy to Warner Brothers because I trusted the producers, Denise DiNovi and Alison Greenspan, and the studio to take care of my characters and story. I do not have any control over the movies. I am not a filmmaker. I am a historian and a novelist. In order to keep teaching, researching, and writing, I need to keep doing what I do well and let others do what they do best, i.e. making movies. That said, when the production team asks for my opinion, I give it to them.
Q. Who would you like to see play Diana and Matthew if a film of ADOW were made?
A. Imagine for a moment you are the actor cast to play Matthew, and in your first interview you are asked ‘how do you feel about the fact that Deborah Harkness saw X as Matthew and not you?’ If you can imagine that, you can imagine why I’m not going to tell you!
Q. Can you put me in contact with the producers of the (proposed) film?
A. I’m pretty sure that some careful detective work online will get you an email address for Warner Brothers. After that, you’re on your own!
Q. Can I work for you?
A. It’s very kind of you to want to work for me—especially since you don’t know me or what I’d be like as a boss! I am, however, not hiring at this time.
Q. Do you row?
A. I DID row. I was in the Keble College Oxford Novice, 2nd Eight, and 1st Eight. I was also invited to be on the Women’s Blue Boat Development Squad but had to decline so I could finish my doctoral dissertation! I am a port/stroke side rower, and sat at various times in seat numbers 6, 4, and 2.
Q. Do you ride?
A. I do ride. I rode as both an undergraduate and graduate and, after a twenty-year hiatus, recently started again. I began in hunter/jumper and progressed on to dressage. I’ve never ridden Western.
Q. Do you do yoga?
A. Yes. I have practiced Iyengar, Anusara, and Vinyasa Flow.
Q. How important is music to your creative process?
A. Music is essential to writing, living, and breathing—at least it is for me. I’ve never written without music in the background. I find inspiration in it, and it helps me maintain a consistent emotional tone as I work on a chapter over the course of days or weeks. (I’m listening to music as I answer these questions!)
Q. How autobiographical is the book?
A. Every character has a bit of me in them, and many of them do something I enjoy doing or have done—cooking, rowing, riding, etc. But the book is NOT autobiographical. It’s fiction.
Q. Has the success of ADOW surprised you?
A. Yes. Who is prepared for success like that? It’s been an amazing and humbling experience.
Q. How has the success of ADOW changed your life? Your writing?
A. It’s not the success that’s changed things so much as becoming a novelist has changed things. I find it harder to read fiction, almost impossible to sit through a movie, and never watch TV (though I dearly loved TV before). As for the writing, it’s not the success but the fact that I know there is now an audience for the books that makes it feel different. When I sit at the computer, it’s as though you are all there reading over my shoulder. A few minutes into the writing, though, I forget you’re there!
Q. What is your favorite historical time period?
A. The late sixteenth century
Q. What are your essential writing snacks?
A. Edamame, Clif Mojo Bars, cashews, and almonds. And I drink lots of tea and water, some wine, and the occasional cappuccino.
Q. Did you live in Oxford?
A. Yes. I spent the summer there in 1985, and lived there between 1991 and 1993.