The Torridon Witches, set in contemporary times, is even more chilling because they don't target witches anymore--right? There isn't much more I can say. The blurb and excerpt are self-explanatory. Andrew knows his Celtic legend and lore, he knows the countryside and the people, and he knows how to write horror so real you're there with the characters.
Andrew, can you tell us a bit more about your fifth novel or novella?
The Torridon Witches is a novella set in the remote Scottish Highlands. The idea came to me when I read a book about Scottish witch trials. The suffering the accused went through, even before their inevitable end, was chillingly described. I thought the helplessness and fear the ‘witches’ experienced would make a good theme for a horror story.
I placed the book in a (fictional) village in Scotland’s remote Torridon region; an area of mountains, upland moors, bogs and rugged coastlines which even today is only reachable by boat or single track roads. I managed to find some historical records of ‘witchcraft’ in the region’s fringes, and I know the area well, so everything seemed to fit to make it an ideal setting.
I’m grateful to Damnation Books for taking the story on. The launch on 15 September will be accompanied by a live chat at 2pm. There’ll be giveaways and ‘variable pricing’ (i.e. discounts!) for early purchases.
So I understand you'll be doing research in the Scottish Highlands on release day. How authentic.
Yes, it should be rather surreal. And challenging to interface with the modern world.
Good luck, Andrew!
The Torridon Witches is available as of September 15 at: http://www.damnationbooks.com/book.php?isbn=9781629290553
Details about his other works are available at http://andrewjrichardson.blogspot.com.
Fiona MacLeod returns to Dunmorgan to gain revenge for Gran’s burning as a witch a decade ago. Friends accompanying Fiona have a row and in their tempers use the word ‘witch’. The villagers’ attitudes are ancient, and the friends are soon on trial for witchcraft. To avoid the stake Fiona must confront the charismatic but brutal Blue Eyed Man. She must also take on the sadistic villagers who were responsible for Gran’s death, and who are desperate for another burning.
“Don’t burn me.” Bonnie’s wide eyes fixed on the flames dancing from the firebrand. “I’m really sorry I upset you. Please don’t burn me.”
“Maybe The Good Lord can show you mercy.”
Bonnie met the Blue Eyed Man’s gaze. “I haven’t done anything to deserve it. Please.”
His fists found his hips again, and Fiona was sure he spoke the crowd’s entertainment as much as to Bonnie. “Maybe God will forgive you, if you repent of your witchery.”
Bonnie cocked her head.
“Do it, Bon.” Ashmati shrieked. “Do it, and they’ll let you go. Just repent.”
“I’m sorry, for whatever I’ve done. I’m sorry.”
The crowd muttered, but The Blue Eyed Man’s raised hand demanded silence. He leaned closer to Bonnie. His voice lowered to a whisper, but still carried around the horseshoe. “They say, if the executioner is skilled and the fire is kept under control, death by burning can take two hours. We’re not particularly skilled—we don’t tend to have cleansings lasting more than an hour.”
The crowd laughed. Bonnie looked into his eyes. “Please…”
Spotty giggled. “Was that, ‘please can we try for two hours,’ witch?”
The Blue Eyed Man continued. “If you repent, witch. If you admit your sins, and renounce witchcraft…”
“Do it!” Ashmati screamed. “Just say it!”
“I’m sorry.” Bonnie whispered.
“I denounce witchcraft.”
“Repent of your witchery.”
Bonnie looked at Ashmati.
Ashmati’s fists clenched. “Say it! Just fucking say it!”
“I repent of my witchery.”
“That is good, my dear.” The Blue Eyed Man’s eyes remained cold as he faced the crowd. He flicked a thumb toward Bonnie.
“Now, burn her.”