Cover Artist: AnneMarie Buhl and Greg Jensen
“There are rules that must be followed, Maggie.”
“Even in witchcraft?”
“Especially in witchcraft. What someone puts into the world comes back to them.”
“You mean karma?”
“Like karma, yes. But for a witch it comes back threefold. Never forget that.”
“That doesn’t seem fair.”
“Who said life was fair?”
In the second installment of The Daughters of Dark Root series, Maggie Maddock and her sisters are back, training under their coven-leading mother Miss Sasha Shantay to take over as the new leaders of The Council. But life isn’t as smooth as Maggie had hoped it would be. Harvest Home’s taxes have come due, and her mother’s illness has returned, stronger than ever.
Desperate, Maggie and Eve devise a scheme to make money through witchcraft.
And that’s when things go terribly wrong.
Good and Bad in Paranormal Writing
So, here I am, sipping coffee with my laptop open and instead of typing on the keyboard and working on my third novel in The Daughters of Dark Root series, I just stare at the hummingbirds outside the kitchen window.
Sure, they’re cute, and one of nature’s marvels, but I’m not really seeing them. I’m seeing beyond them. I stare so long that the birds disappear and I haven’t noticed. Eventually, I close my laptop and vow to try again. Tomorrow. Or maybe this weekend.
You see, my main character Maggie Maddock is having a bit of an identity problem and I’m not really sure what to do about it.
In the first book: The Witches of Dark Root, she is a bit of a brat. She suffers from a bit of ‘middle child syndrome’ and doesn’t feel she has a place in her large family, especially between compassionate Merry and beautiful Eve. So she does what a lot of us do when we don’t feel special. She runs away. (Spoiler alert: she comes back and has to deal with responsibilities, but up until the end, she isn’t crazy about it).
Does being an avoidant brat make Maggie a bad person? I was in her head for a whole year and I wouldn’t say that she was bad. Apathetic and even misunderstood. But not bad.
In the second book: The Magick of Dark Root, Maggie starts to gain access to higher levels of magical information. She becomes more powerful and inadvertently uses that power to harm someone. In guilt, she does her best to make amends to that person. Now is Maggie a good or bad person? You could say she is bad because she harmed someone and good because she tried to make amends. Does one wash the other out?
Now for the third book, which I am currently writing, The Curse of Dark Root. Maggie has learned some valuable lessons by now, and she grows in power as a witch day by day. She’s still a bit snarky and still a bit of a brat, but her heart has also opened and she embraces the love of her sisters and her impending family. So the problem is, now that Maggie is essentially more good than bad, I’m not sure how to write her, because let’s face it, we all want to see the good in people, but bad is usually much more interesting.
I could continue to write Maggie with a bad temper and a negative outlook on life, but as her powers grown I think it’s important to keep tipping the scale a little more each time in the direction of good and light. That’s something a lot of fantasy and paranormal writers have to wrestle with. You remember how whiny Luke was in the first Star Wars movie? Can you imagine if he was just as whiny in movie three and he was fully able to wield the force? You give a character too much power and the wrong temperament, and things can get really ugly, really fast. (cough, cough, I am your father, Luke).
I pull open my laptop once again and start typing. I have Maggie do something kind, right from the get-go of the story, without looking for approval or seeing if anyone is watching. It’s a small ray of good, but it’s still good. And even though I’m used to writing a more ‘human’ character, complete with flaws as well as exceptions, I realize that for Maggie to ultimately meet her goals she has to make that journey into the light.
There’s still a long road ahead of her, and I am pretty sure she is going to fail a time or two, but ultimately it’s going to be her own actions (complete with kindness and empathy) that will save her family and maybe the world.
April Aasheim considers herself an ‘expert’ in the paranormal. Her mother dabbled in the occult and her father was a martial artist who believed that true power came from an unseen energy that you could tap into.
As a child, April claims to have lived in a haunted house and to have been visited by relatives who had passed on. To combat her frightening experiences, April spent her youth studying world religion including Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism. Later, April branched out in her studies with a focus on psychology, anthropology, sociology, and the paranormal.
April is married with children and currently resides in Portland, Oregon where she spends her days writing, watching movies, and attending Zumba classes at her local gym.
The Magick of Dark Root is the second in The Daughters of Dark Root series, and her third novel.