Interview with Robert Sanborn, Author of The Red Witch

What is the story behind the story? what inspired you to write The Red Witch: Book 2 – The League of the Moon series?

When I wrote my first book, In Your Dreams, I didn’t plan on writing a sequel. My sister’s boyfriend was the one who brought it up. He admitted to me that he wasn’t much of a reader and that he hadn’t sat down to read a book in more years than he cared to admit. And he was skeptical that my first book would attract his attention, but he would bring it to him when he and my sister went on vacation.

I was floored when he came back and said he loved it, and he was mad that he was so close to the end of a day of vacation when his tablet battery died. His words to me were: “You have to turn this into a series.” I was thrilled that he loved it, but when I kept hearing from others who had read the book that they fell in love with the characters and wanted more, I started to think about it. I remembered the feeling of ending, and how I was a little disappointed that the story was over. And then I thought about how “In Your Dreams” had ended, and how it was really just a new beginning. Almost the moment I had that thought, the opening scene popped into my head. Fortunately I was home and near my PC when I received it. Everything flowed from there.

What is your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

I’ve always liked anything that has to do with the supernatural. The first book I read that made me think about becoming a writer was “The Stand” by Stephen King. I loved the characters in that book, but the book’s supernatural themes and events are what hooked me. In particular, how when the modern world went kaputt, it revealed a world of feeling and intuition that was always there but washed away by the noise of everyday life. So it was no surprise to me that I felt extremely comfortable writing a book that dealt with all sorts of supernatural topics and how those who are skeptical come to believe.

What books are in your TBR stack right now?

My TBR stack is endless. Fortunately, I have discovered audiobooks. I’ve probably listened to seventy or eighty of them in the last year. I’m currently listening to “A Discovery of Witches” by Deborah Harkness and I’m loving it. I am looking forward to reading the second book in KF Breen’s DDVN series “Raised In Fire”. Looking at my Kindle, I also have “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” by Neil Gaiman, “1000 Yards” by Mark Dawson, “Real Magic” by Dean Radin, “Map of Shadows” by JF Penn… now I just need a time machine.

What scene from your book was your favorite to write?

There is a scene in “The Red Witch” where Wanda, one of the original main characters, and Mercy, a new character in Book 2, are being stalked by an evil entity lurking outside of Wanda’s Wicca’d Emporium. Wanda feels it. She turns off the lights in the store and searches the dark street for the threat. What happens next introduces the reader to the unexpected powers that Mercy possesses. I really enjoyed writing that scene.

Do you have any peculiar writing habits? (lucky cups, lap cats, etc.)

I have two monitors on my desk. The one in front of the keyboard is for typing in Atticus. On the one to my left, I usually put up a YouTube video of something that will put me in the right frame of mind for whatever I’m writing at the time. I’ll set it to full screen so it almost simulates a window looking out at whatever scene is setting the mood. I had a lot of ‘raining at night’ videos on screen two during “The Red Witch.” And of course I need iced coffee in front of me.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy that you live by?

I saw an interview on YouTube with Eddie Van Halen. The interviewer asked what his advice would be for anyone trying to succeed in something creative. His simple response was, “Don’t stop.” That is the motto I follow.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

Some of the things that happen to the characters in my books are things that have happened in my own life, and I’ve presented them through each character in their own backstories. At the end of Book 1, I wrote readers about this and told them I’d let them find out which ones. But I’m going to give one away now.

Joanne is in a deli downtown. She is at a low point in her life. Out of nowhere, a man approaches her and asks if she would like to read some of the books she has written. It’s a quote book about happiness. She’s not in the mood for a stupid dating book about happiness, but to get the guy off her back, she agrees. Line after line, the book pulls her out of the deep depression she finds herself in. Joanne thanks her, she turns to get her food and the man and her book disappear. When she asks the clerk where the man she had been talking to went, he looks at her like she’s lost a marble or two.

This happened to me at a deli in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I think I’d like readers to remember that things actually happen in this world that can’t be explained. And that maybe, when we are at our lowest points, someone or something may be watching over us. What we do with it is up to us.

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