Author Interview | Conversing with Terry Maggert the author of the YA series #HalfwayWitchy!

Posted Thursday, 9 February, 2017 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts! I am happy to announce I have two new showcases about the #HalfwayWitchy series by Terry Maggert alighting on my blog today! I knew even before I finished Halfway Dead, I wanted to interview the author, because of the content of his stories. Halfway Witchy is the kind of paranormal book series which becomes this fiercely addictive guilty pleasure of a read after awhile! You get so attached to Carlie, Gus (her Maine Coon!) and Gran, it’s hard to wait for the moment to arrive where you can soak inside the rest of the series!

It’s unique in how Carlie’s voice is both forthright in deadpan honesty and how realistically resilient she is to overcome everything she’s endured. She picked up the pieces each and every time she finds her life marred by circumstances outside her control but she never loses the hope of what tomorrow could still bring. She chooses to walk the fine line between white and dark magic – where she has to interact with creatures and situations which ebb out of dark magic but she herself, is a practicing white witch.

Mr Maggert has a wickedly delightful sense of humour within the personality of Carlie and he definitely knows how to make fiction read of smartly conceived satire!  He adds in layers of his own spirit and heart to the stories he’s penning whilst craftly his niche within the paranormal and Dark Fantasy branches of literature; brokering between YA, Upper YA and New Adult – depending on your interpretation of the genres. I tend to think he’s more Upper YA & NA given the context of the series, with only the first novel being just within what I’d consider traditional YA. Again reader discretion.

When I sat down to compose my questions, I was trying to sort out what I wanted to know most about the series and how to find a way to let the author shine through the conversation, too. I  hope you will enjoy the selections I’ve made to highlight and appreciate the honesty of Mr Maggert’s answers, as this was quite the enjoyable interview I’ve hosted in awhile.

Sit back with your own cuppa tea and a hearty stack of WAFFLES!Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

the halfway witchy series:

Halfway Witchy book series collage provided by Audiobookworm Promotions
Digital composite of Wooden table with library background. Halfway Witchy book series collage provided by Audiobookworm Promotions; used with permission.

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How did you first decide to give the Diner such a clever addiction to waffles?! What was the impetus to have waffles be the sub-focus of the foodies who loved to dig into the food Carlie cooks?!

Maggert responds: I’m a huge fan of sugar, flour, and vanilla in any ration. Given that, it seemed natural to include something like waffles or pancakes or pie as the keystone of Carlie’s diner. I also rather enjoy the use of stacked waffles as a unique little detail, and naming them “The Carlie” reminds me of my own mom, who was only five feet tall. (She was also an excellent sport about jokes pertaining to her, ahh, lack of height).

I love finding out there was a familial connection behind Carlie’s height – when I first read your reply though, I was thinking of an excellent recipe for bread pudding rather than waffles! lol I do admit – I am a natural bourne baker moreso than I am a chef even though I regularly love concocting new recipes and even run a feature on here called: The Bookish Foodie. The truth of the matter is when it comes to baking, there is such freedom in the choices and in the way you can switch out ingredients as I have a preference for gluten-free vegan baking even though I don’t always get the pleasure of baking non-traditionally, it is something I aspire to do. Esp if I could master baking my own ‘breads’ – ooh, imagine if I could make m own homemade french toast with fresh baked bread!? Aye. #beyondyum So you can see, I definitely understand your motivation to make the diner Carlie’s passion and her beam of balance in life.

Halfway is such a happily quirky small towne – it’s a close knit community and full of eccentrics of a variety of characters; is there a real-life towne which inspired you to create the vibe of Halfway the way in which you did?

Maggert responds:I was born and raised in a city– but I came of age in a small town. The natural array of people are concentrated in a smaller setting, leading to an awareness and acceptance of that which is unusual or odd. I mean odd in the finest way possible– odd is interesting. Odd is us, it’s you, it’s me– it’s the things we consider a part of our day that are utterly alien to someone else. Taken in aggregate, it makes for an excellent fabric on which to write. I revel in the atmosphere of the city, but I’m wholly charmed by the pastiche of weird that comes in a small town.

Interestingly enough, we mirror each other – I am city bourne, growing up in the inner city and then, during high school opted to live in the country; if only to have a better chance at avoiding the issues of city schools during the mid-90s. I love small townes myself – either to live or to visit. There is something about them which is alluring – especially if you are not too far away from a city. You can live a bit more simply but the fact the natural world isn’t so far away is what truly inspires me. I also like how you’ve taken to express the quirks of everyday life in a small towne – using those as the nuanced backdrop of Halfway and in effect, given a charming presence of supporting cast I am unsure if all readers are keeping tabs on, as even before you broached something in this conversation, I was musefully ‘thinking ahead!’ Anyone who has seen ‘Overboard’ with Goldie Hawn will understand the benefit of knowing both sides of how life can be lived. You’ve done such a wonderful job of giving small towne life personality, I think your readers will learn the lesson we’ve been blessed to experience.    

Have you always had a healthy curiosity about the paranormal or did your interest in the paranormal grow as you developed the series as you have a strong command for elements of the paranormal which are easily digestable and recognisable to those who are well-read or versed in this thematic.

Maggert responds: Yes. Here’s why: Think about your childhood. Now, think about how much of it was at the periphery of your senses. If you’re like me (an observer), then there’s a great deal of life in the shadows. I find that fascinating, even scary-velous, and converting that feeling of awkward familiarity to the genre seemed like second nature. Do I think there are vampiric clowns in Central New York? I sure hope so.

Ah, some of my best moments in childhood and my growing years were spent observing – life as it was being lived. I liked to take stock of the subtle details or the curious unknowns of others as they walked through their living hours oblivious to everyone else. You can learn a lot about society simply by ‘looking’ at others as you go through your own routines. However, complimented to the fact we writers are constant observers of sociological behaviour, I also like engaging in spontaneous conversations with people you only ‘meet in the moment’ of where your paths cross. You gain so much by being open to talking to someone new and someone unknown yet of the same environment or surroundings. Sometimes you get lucky and their from out of towne, state or country. You took it into a new layer of usefulness by taking the quirky and mysterious and knitting those into the fantastical through the threads of your stories. Although there is a lot of sociology in your stories – if readers take a more critical assessment of them.

Carlie and Gran have a very close-knit relationship – based on mutual respect and a deep resolve of familial pride to carry on the legacy of their bloodline. What challenged you about bridging their generational gaps but also, the different perspectives and approaches of both women to the mindful art of witchcraft!?

Maggert responds: True story: Had my Nana asked me to swim the Atlantic, I would’ve had my shoes off before she could point east. That woman, as we say here in the South, “hung the moon”. I channeled that reverent love into a relationship in which Carlie sees her Gran as more than just an embodiment of age. My mom passed away twenty years ago, and until then, I thought of her as a personification of “Mom”, rather than Suzie Maggert. Now, years later, I know her as a person, too, thanks to the generosity of memory shared by my family and friends. That’s the foundation for Carlie and Gran. Carlie wants to be great, but she’s young. Gran sees that, and acts accordingly to let her fail when she must. It’s the only way I could make Carlie real, as if she’s a young woman you might actually meet. That’s what I wanted, both to respect my concept of familial love, and to make Carlie and Gran in three dimensions.

I love this answer – and it felt so instinctively ‘right’ to be the inspiration behind Carlie and Gran. You definitely tapped into your own relationship with your grandmother and fused your memories into ‘everyone’s memories’ of their grandparent(s), too. It is a very curious relatable portion of the Halfway Witchy series and the foundation of their relationship is such a lovely bit of personal back-story!

You have a particular quirk of including cross-breeds of species in your Halfway Witchy series – which character did you find the most approachable to write about in Halfway Bitten: Anna or Wulfric? Which of them did you feel was easier to conceptionalise based on their origins?

Maggert responds: ANNA. Oh boy. She’s– well, Anna is anathema to the lives of some women, so she’s easy to write. I’ve met Anna, or her type, and I see how the world treats them. She’s guilty of the most egregious sin of all: she goes her own way. She’s a voluptuary, seeking her own pleasure and damn the consequences. With that in mind, the reactive nature of Carlie just seems to flow.

I thought you might lean towards Anna… you pulled this off so very organically it’s almost as if those passages wrote themselves into the story-line!

You have an organic style of etching out Carlie’s introspective internal world into the narrative of the series – how did you develop her quirky style of where she’s one part humourous and one half seeking a better understanding of the world around her when her spirit feels heavy by her witchy experiences? What did you want readers to takeaway from Carlie’s resolute resolve to carry forward even when adversity struck her so very strongly?

Maggert responds: I’ll answer that by telling you why young soldiers are the best for terrible jobs: they don’t take it personally. Carlie is, in fact, a soldier. She’s at war, pressing for peace with an array of creatures and events that are too discordant to allow in her world. With that in mind, yes, she feels heavy, but in the style of the youthful, she returns to form because ultimately, she is loved. Youth, love, and honor will carry the day, even when the enemy has fangs.

I did observe this in Carlie even before you mentioned it – but I hadn’t proportioned exactly what I was sensing until I read  your response. Yes, she very much is a solider enduring and championing through her struggles to face things mere mortals would shirk away from due to how hideous most of it is and how emotionally crushing it is to be fighting for mankind. You truly did her justice by how you’ve portrayed her and by how you should her endurance to ‘carry on’ and never lose sight of hope, youthful fortitude and the legacy of her kin being honoured through her actions.

 Carlie is definitely connected to the natural world – not merely as a witch but as a soul who feels attracted to the natural world. How important was it to draw out this personal interest of hers whilst grounding her character’s passion for nature as a segue for readers to re-think how they think about the environment around them? As in Halfway Dead there is a beauty thesis surrounding preservation and conservation.

Maggert responds: When I realized that there had been four billion chestnut trees at one time, I felt a pang for something that had been gone prior to my birth. I grew up near the ocean, then, in the forest. I know the effects of humanity, and being a caring steward starts with seeing where you step. It’s simple, but through Carlie’s eyes (and Wulfric), I can describe something that is wild, free, and unknown. I want that sense of wonder, because I carry it with me from the last time I walked under pines that rustled overhead.

Once we are touched by the grace of the natural world and see how small we are in the scheme of what is far more ancient than our own humanity, you look at everything quite a bit differently. Trees are old souls and their spirit leaves an imprint on our own souls as we spend time amongst them. There is something quite grounding about the natural world – almost as if we are not completely ourselves without an anchour of footing in the wild. You truly owned your truth and the wisdom of what you’ve learnt by what you’ve stitched into the series. Readers without the same experiences I can only hope were touched by the depth of what you were trying to express to them.

Moving forward in the Halfway Witchy series – did you choose to cap the series as a quartet or are there more stories in-line after the fourth? Can you share a snippet of what we can expect in the next release?

Maggert responds: I’ve got six in mind, and in the next book I address a myth that I find. . .let’s say curious. I have a friend who playfully said she wanted to be a mermaid. I took that to mean she wants to drag men to their drowning death, which surprised her. Sirens and Mermaids are BAD. In Halfway Drowned, you’re going to see just how bad they can be. . .even when they’re on land.

Ooh, dear ghouls – yes, I know! I learnt about the true natures of both Sirens and Mermaids when I was in the 7th grade – courtesy of a teacher who loved mythology even if at the time I found most of it too droll and boring. There were certain things that just stuck with me and this tidbit was one of them!

How did you find Erin Spencer and what was your initial reaction when you heard her bring Carlie to life!?

Maggert responds: After carefully making an offering to the stars, Erin was revealed to me in a complicated ritual of– just kidding. I heard her voice on another book and the rest is history. She’s stellar, bringing a subtle, playful take on Carlie that is note perfect in every way.

You truly hit narrator gold with Ms Spencer. I love finding new things to share with my readers about how she approaches the series and why I consistently love listening to her voice Carlie and the rest of the cast! I still lament, I might never be able to read this series in print – unless I read and listen to Ms Spencer in tandem! There’s a thought! lol

Which secondary character or background character do you think might be overlooked but should be considered imperative lateron? If any?

Maggert responds: Do not overlook the staff of the diner. That’s all I will say at this time.

(rubs hands together) Ooh, now how did I know you’d say this!? No, seriously. I never overlooked the staff – it was almost as if they were hiding in plain sight for a reason and you never quite overly relate their personal lives in each of the stories either. Just drawing out a general scope of who they are and why they love to work there… hmm…

Gus plays such an important role in Carlie’s life – being a cat lover yourself – how did you pull together the personality of Gus to such a heightened level of realism he appears to meow off the page? Is he a composite of your own cats or was he inspired by one in particular?

Maggert responds: He’s an amalgam of two of mine (Jimmy and Stinker). Let’s face it, cats are remarkably consistent. They’re judgmental, independent, and loving all at once. Gus is all that, simply. . .larger. He’s twenty-five pounds, whereas his ideological forefathers Jimmy and Stinker are around seventeen pounds each. I upgraded for fictional purposes.

I smiled reading this response. Being a cat lover and one who cannot live without cats, I just loved it!

If you had to pick one gift of the paranormal to embrace yourself, what would you choose!?

Maggert responds: Reading minds. Is that altruistic? Not entirely, although I would like to know when people are hurting, so that I might help a bit. Could I profit? Of course. I would know– in advance– when people are going to take the last slice of pizza. We won’t be having any more of that nonsense, now will we?

Telepathy. I could see that. In some ways, you offer this talent to the readers because your stories are internally and externally interconnected to your characters. Almost as if the ‘narrator’ of the story is the telepath and is guiding us all forward through what he observes and intones.

What uplifts your spirit the most when you’re not researching or writing your next story?

Maggert responds: There is a moment,every morning, where I get to wake up my son. It’s electrifying to look at this human and realize he’s ours– sure, he belongs to himself, but for now? His simple presence is a tonic to anything else that might ever trouble me. A sleeping kid is the pinnacle of peace, and that image will go with me for good.

A blessed answer and one I was honoured you shared. I look forward to mumhood; one day I shall celebrate being an Adoptive Mum, until then, I can enjoy my nieces and nephews. Children are beautiful lights of how we carry on in this world long after we’ve left; they carry our hearts, memories and the love we endeared to give them as a way to live fully in an uncertain world. To inspire them and to guide them is not just an honour but a gift.

About Terry Maggert

Terry Maggert

Left-handed. Father of an apparent nudist. Husband to a half-Norwegian. Herder of cats and dogs. Lover of pie. I write books. I've had an unhealthy fascination with dragons since the age of-- well, for a while. Native Floridian. Current Tennessean. Location subject to change based on insurrection, upheaval, or availability of coffee. Nine books and counting, with no end in sight. You've been warned.

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Thank you, Mr Maggert for sharing a bit of your writerly life with all of us today! And, thank you for giving us such evoking worlds of where humanity and ancient truths walk hand in hand. I cannot wait to see where you round out the Halfway Witchy series – if you do cap it at six novels – I have a feeling the ending might be harder to read than the beginning! Thanks for inspiring so many lovely hours of listening blissitude!

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 This blog tour is courtesy of Audiobookworm Promotions:

Audiobookworm Promotions Event Host badge provided by Audiobookworm Promotions

Whilst participating on:

Halfway Hunted blog tour via Audiobookworm PromotionsI will be sharing my review of ‘Halfway Hunted’ tomorrow. My listening hours of this lovely series ran a bit too close to the deadline as my connectivity with the internet was vexed with issues last week and on top of that technologic nightmare, I had other things going on personally which seemed to eat away the free hours I had to listen to this lovely third installment. Therefore, instead of posting my interview and review in tandem, they will be separated a bit by a day. I look forward to your return visit and be sure to *leave your comments!* for Mr Magget in the threads below!

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Similar to blog tours where I feature book reviews, as I choose to highlight an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog. I provide the questions for interviews and topics for the guest posts; wherein I receive the responses back from publicists and authors directly. I am naturally curious about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of stories and the writers who pen them; I have a heap of joy bringing this content to my readers.

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “Halfway Hunted”, collage graphic of the Halfway Witchy series, book synopsis, author biography, author photo, Audiobookworm Promotions badge and the audiobook tour badge were all provided by Audiobookworm Promotions and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Conversations with the Bookish Banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Thursday, 9 February, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Apothecary, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Author Found me On Twitter, Author Interview, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Coming-Of Age, Cosy Horror, Cosy Horror Suspense, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Good vs. Evil, Gothic Literature, Gothic Mystery, Horror-Lite, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Immortals, Indie Author, Light vs Dark, Nature & Wildlife, New Adult Fiction, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Realistic Fiction, Shapeshifters, Small Towne USA, Sociology, Speculative Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Suspense, The Natural World, Upper YA Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches and Warlocks, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal &/or Paranormal Romance, Young Adult Fiction




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