YA Feature: Introducing Debut 2012 YA author Ruth Warburton

Hey! This week on Reading Away The Days I am excited to have a great interview with 2012 debut author Ruth Warburton. Ruth is the author of January 2012 release A Witch in Winter. A Witch in Winter is an amazing book, with a great and fresh storyline with some great characters, one word Seth Waters! Enjoy the interview with Ruth and don't forget to pre-order your copy of A Witch in Winter.

A little about Ruth and her writing career so far:

I was quite a bookish child and I always loved reading and writing stories. The first story I can remember writing was when I was about seven and it was about a factory caretaker called Cardy. He's patrolling the factory one night when he sees things flitting about in the rafters. Suddenly he realises it's Halloween and the flitting things turn out to be witches...

I wrote a lot more stories after that though for some reason I didn't write any more about witches – it's funny that I took so long to come back to the subject. The stories got longer and longer until I suddenly found I was writing actual book-length books. But they all went under the bed – I never tried to get them published – partly because I work in adult publishing and I know how incredibly hard it is to get published, and how much the odds are against you. I also didn't fancy subbing to agents I might have to sit next to at a dinner – I thought it would be embarrassing all round! Then one day I started a new story and it somehow came out as YA, and I realised that this was a whole different set of agents, ones I'd never worked with. So I decided to give it a go, and a couple of years later, here we are.

Can you tell us a little bit about your debut novel A Witch in Winter released January 2012?

 Eek, I can't believe it's so close to publication now! It makes me feel a bit funny every time I think about the book being in the shops. What can I tell you about A Witch in Winter... well, it's about a girl called Anna who moves with her dad to a tumbledown house in a little fishing village – Winter. They've been forced to move because Anna's dad lost his job, and she's miserable, missing her friends, hating the creepy house, but trying not to add to her dad's depression by complaining about the situation.

When she discovers an old spell book in a chimney, it seems like a bit of fun to try out a love spell with some girls in her class. The next day Seth Waters dumps his girlfriend and declares his undying love for Anna.

Anna knows she has to try to undo the spell – even though she's falling for Seth – and that's where her problems really begin...

Where did you get the idea for A Witch in Winter?

 I was listening to a programme on the radio about romance in books, and one of the commentators said that the conundrum in modern romance is keeping the hero and heroine from falling into each others arms straight away. After all, if you're in love, why wouldn't you? And I was thinking that for me, the biggest reason not to fall into someone's arms would be if I wasn't sure how he really felt about me. And suddenly the idea of the spell came into my head. Anna gets Seth's love, but she pays a huge price – she can never be completely sure if it's real or not.

I love the cover for A Witch in Winter. Who designed it and how much say did you have in the designing of the cover?

Isn't it amazing? I love it too! The designer is called Michelle Brackenborough. Originally the concept was quite different with a red colour scheme, so I was quite surprised when I saw the current version, but I absolutely love it.

To be honest, I didn't really get much say – authors don't usually. This is probably a good thing as I'm not a designer so my ideas would have been pretty rubbish! If it had been up to me then I don't think I would have chosen a design with a girl's face on it, because I hate it when the jacket photo doesn't match the picture in your head. But actually the girl on the cover is pretty close to my image of Anna – although the Anna in my head isn't quite as pretty, she's a bit more ordinary looking, whereas I think the model is absolutely beautiful. Someone on facebook asked if it was me on the jacket! I was quite tempted to say yes, but the bad news is... no. It's not me.

How does it feel to be releasing your first novel?

 Amazing! And a bit scary. But mostly amazing.

Why should we read A Witch in Winter?

 Um... so it becomes a bestseller and I can buy an island in the Bahamas? To which I would naturally invite all my loyal readers ;)

As it is near Christmas I thought I would ask Ruth some fun Christmas related questions!

Favourite Christmas read and why?

Oh so hard! I can think of half a dozen candidates – if I had to pick one... probably An Edwardian Christmas by John S Goodall (I think it's sadly out of print). It's completely simple, just pictures of a family preparing for Christmas – they pick up their friends from the station, go to buy a goose, go out with a sledge to cut holly... there are no words and lots of detail in the drawings so it's a lovely to imagine your own stories about the characters and their conversations and quirks. I used to look at it with my mum on Christmas Eve when I was little and I still love reading it.

Favourite Christmas film and why?

 I don't really have a favourite Christmas film – which is weird because I love films. And one of the best thing about Christmas is the way all the TV channels roll out their big guns. When we were little my sister and I used to go through the Christmas bumper Radio Times very solemnly and circle all the films we intended to watch. But there's no one film that particularly sums it up for me.

*LOL I do the same thing with the Radio Times at Christmas :) * Megan @ Reading Away The Days*

What do you want for Christmas?

 A fireplace! We've just moved, and our old flat had a real fire. Our new place has chimneys but all the fireplaces were ripped out in the sixties and replaced with gas. Christmas isn't quite Christmas for me without a roaring fire and somewhere to hang stockings and throw satsuma peel, so I'm saving up and I hope we might get at least one of the fireplaces replaced in time for Christmas Day. At this point though, it might be a squeeze.

Favourite Christmas song?

 I absolutely adore Christmas songs, I put them on loop on the 1st of December until everyone's ears are bleeding. My favourite are the really traditional carols, particularly the ones that are starting to become half forgotten, like Adam Lay Ybounden or The Cherry Tree Carol. But I have a huge weakness for 1950s classics - Santa Baby is brilliant for shimmying around the kitchen peeling sprouts! If I had to choose just one... ooh, that's hard. Maybe The Sussex Carol – because it's a beautiful carol, and because I'm from Sussex.

Thanks to Ruth for an awesome interview. I am currently reading A Witch in Winter. Look out for a review before Christmas. Don't forget to pre-order A Witch in Winter now!

Check out Ruth on FB: http://www.facebook.com/ruthwarburtonwriter
Follow Ruth on twitter: @ruthwarburton
Head to Ruth's website and pre-order A Witch in Winter : www.ruthwarburton.com

1 comment

  1. I use to the same thing with the Christmas Radio times - and not just films. Any christmas episode of any show I wanted to see got a circle!
    I am really looking to January now - A Witch in Winter looks fab! :-)