YEM Author Interview: Shay Casper chats about what inspired her novel The Witch

Shay Casper is the author of The Witch. The Witch follows Harper Grim, a gifted healer in the city of Westfall in Idrudelia, who must conceal her abilities to protect her people. The novel explores the idea of magic and witches.

Young Entertainment Mag: When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?

Shay Casper: I thought writing was something fun that I did for myself. That’s all it was to me, but I decided to send in The Witch because I thought it was good enough for others to read. When the letter came back that they had accepted my book for publishing, I knew I wanted to be a writer.

YEM: What was your writing process like?

Shay: I have a main outline that covers the 4 books that make up this series. Then, I have an outline for each book. The outline is a rough skeleton that I follow so I have room for freedom. Occasionally, I have an idea for a scene far in the future of where I am in the story, and I’ll take the time to write that scene down and add it when I get there, adjusting the scene to fit properly.

YEM: Where did your inspiration for The Witch come from?

Shay: The inspiration for The Witch came from Harper. I saw a post on Instagram that gave me a great idea for her character, but that isn’t what gave me the story. Once I had Harper, I created a story worthy of her character. A job she would have to do that fit the character I created.

YEM: What is your favorite part of building worlds such as the one in The Witch?

Shay: My favorite part of building the worlds that I create is having the characters figure out how much more of it there is. Harper only knows about this small little piece of the world where she was raised, and as the books continue, she gets to learn more of the place I created.

YEM: What did you learn about yourself while you wrote your book?

Shay: I learned that I have what it takes. I never considered myself an overly artistic or creative person. I never considered myself creative enough to write a book. I thought it would end before the end came. But as I finished The Witch, I learned that I am creative enough and I have everything I need to write.

YEM: What did you learn from this debut novel that you will take with you to the next book you will write?

Shay: I will take all the help that I’ve received from Atmosphere Press on the publishing side of the book so that I can apply it to the next book and the rest of what I write.

YEM: What do you hope your readers take away from reading The Witch?

Shay: First, I hope they take away some entertainment. I wanted my book to be a fun starter of a series. Introducing the characters, the plot, the bad guy. Second, I hope they take away that you can say “no.” I have moments in there where Harper says “no” to something happening and I think that’s always a good reminder for people to have. Sometimes you have to say “no” to others because they ask too much.

YEM: What advice do you have for someone who wants to be a writer one day?

Shay: Write. You can’t be a writer if you don’t write. 

YEM: What do you like most about writing fantasy?

Shay: I like the world building, the mythical creatures, and magic. I love magic and all the creatures that come with it.

YEM: What is a genre that you are excited to write in the future?

Shay: I would love to write a mystery novel, a proper who-dun-it with a comical feel like Clue: The Movie. 

YEM: Is there a scene or quote that is your favorite?

Shay: The Wedding of Juniper and Benjamin was my favorite scene in The Witch. I loved how both sides saw that they can come together and be one just like the union they watched during the wedding.

YEM: What do you have planned to write in the future?

Shay: I have the remaining three books of The Witch series planned. Then, I have a pirate book planned, and for that I’ve already begun the lengthy world building process.