A.L. Hawke’s Spellbinding Insights

A.L. Hawke discusses ‘Witch Mirror,’ weaving possession and witchcraft, research challenges, character inspirations, and teasers for future instalments.

In the bewitching world crafted by A.L. Hawke, the ordinary intertwines seamlessly with the extraordinary. Hawke, residing in the vibrant landscape of Southern California, conjures tales that span millennia, blending fantasy and romance into a tapestry of intrigue and mystique. Best known for the acclaimed Hawthorne University Witch series, Hawke’s narratives illuminate the shadows between reality and enchantment.

In our exclusive interview with A.L. Hawke, we delve into the genesis of “Witch Mirror,” the eagerly anticipated fourth installment in the Hawthorne University Witch series. Hawke shares candidly about the inspiration behind the latest tale, weaving elements of possession and witchcraft into a spellbinding narrative. Drawing upon personal experiences and a penchant for immersive storytelling, Hawke divulges the challenges faced during the writing process, offering insights into the intricate research that underpins the magical elements of the story.

With characters as vibrant as they are complex, Hawke paints a vivid portrait of Cadence and her journey through a world teeming with magic and mystery. From the enigmatic allure of Alondra to the dynamic relationships that shape Cadence’s path, each character breathes with a life of its own, echoing echoes of real-world experiences and emotions.

As readers eagerly await the next chapters in the Hawthorne University Witch series, Hawke tantalizes with hints of what’s to come. From the sinister allure of “Ravens” to the culmination of Cadence’s journey in “Shadow Cast,” the future promises a crescendo of magic, mayhem, and self-discovery.

Prepare to be entranced as A.L. Hawke invites us into a world where the mundane and the mystical converge, where every page holds the promise of adventure and revelation. In the realm of Hawthorne University, the ordinary is anything but, and the extraordinary awaits those with the courage to embrace it.

What inspired you to write “Witch Mirror”?

Last year I decided to turn my Hawthorne University Witch Series, books 1-3, into audiobooks. I think the audio transfer process got me missing Cadence and Bryce and made me want to write this fourth book.

How did you develop the idea of possession and witchcraft as central themes in the story?

Well, I missed Alondra too. She’s a very magnetic personality. She left after passing on the coven to my main character, Cadence and, though she appeared here and there at times in later books, I wanted to bring her front and center again. Another reason was my narrator. I hired my narrator, Alexa Elmy, based on her performance of Alondra in the first book. Alexa transformed herself into the older professor and the believability of her role helped give me the idea of Cadence changing back and forth between Cadence and Alondra from spirit possession. Finally, I suppose, what better way to tell a paranormal/supernatural witch tale than with a ghost possession?

Can you share any challenges you faced while writing the book, and how you overcame them?

The work. I’ve challenged myself to write three books in six months to keep things fresh in my mind for this next installment. I’m prolific, but because I don’t outline, this task towards the end has been a bit of a chore; particularly the last book, Shadow Cast. But I’m done. The sixth and final book, Shadow Cast, is nearly complete and I can’t wait for my readers to check it out. Not to mention, my lack of outlining creates lots of fun surprises and zingers.

What research did you undertake to ensure the magical elements in the story were authentic and believable?

You know, what’s really neat about these books is that I had zero knowledge of the occult when I started the first book, Broomstick. Neither did Cadence. So Cadence’s discovery of magic is linked to mine.

Most of my research is not by books but by videos. When you think of it, videos on Youtube are the quickest way to gain knowledge. I’d learn tidbits by video and then cross-reference stuff online. I watched a lot of videos on Thelema, Voodoo and Solomonic magic (shout out to the D’at Darling and Esoterica channels). I picked up some books too. Got one of Aleister Crowley’s books and another very good introduction to voodoo by Denise Alvarado called Witches, Queens, Voodoo Spirits & Hoodoo Saints. The stuff I study is from real experts, or even real witches, in order to create as realistic a series as possible.

One discovery that shocked me was just how big the subject of the occult really is. It’s really really really big. So my understanding is evolving.

The characters in “Witch Mirror” are richly developed. Do you draw inspiration from real-life individuals when creating your characters?

No one consciously. I think it’s fun when I catch words or phrases that I say, or hear others say, from real life pop up in my dialogs. My books tend to be dialog heavy and character heavy and, I think, part of my love for writing is when I breathe life into these characters. So, I suppose, they have to feel real to me. 

Cadence and Bryce’s love relationship is probably influenced by my own love life. And Cadence definitely has similarities to me. Alondra and Aunt Jane are mother figures—one wicked, the other good. Others are just fun caricatures, like Cadence’s best friend Maddie and Cadence’s archenemy Enora.

Without giving away spoilers, can you tease any upcoming developments or surprises readers can expect in future installments of the series?

Well, the next book, Book 5, Ravens, is about making Cadence bad. It’s all about black magic and evil. I relied heavily on knowledge about Aleister Crowley and occultism. Cadence is from a Catholic background, so her first impression of this stuff is disgust. I think many readers share this feeling, but that makes good tension for the upcoming novel. Are these magical systems evil and demonic or just about personal freedom? It works great with Cadence’s struggle with evil, I think. But most significant is how these evil influences affect her husband and her best friends.

Shadow Cast, Book 6, is the final novel in the entire series. I think book 3, The Hawthorne Witch, showed Cadence accept her role as the leader of her Hawthorne, whereas book 6 is about her accepting her role as a witch in the world. At the same time, these books are coming of age stories and the sixth book is about her moving on into her next stage of life. 

This interview is showcased in print edition of the magazine. Click image to enlarge.

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