Today House Of Ivy & Sorrow has been released into the world! And believe me when I say I'm excited about that, but in all honesty it also scares me very much. Because this book, while it may look like a story about witches on the surface, is really deeply personal.
At its heart, this book is really about Sisterhood to me, about the bonds that tie women together within and outside of family. Mother, grandma, sister, aunt, friend…these are the foundation of the witching culture I created, since there are no men who can use magic.
I pulled heavily from my own life, especially for Josephine's direct bloodline family. Her mother died when she was seven, which is about the time my grandmother died when I was little. It was my first experience with death, and so much of my lingering grief was put into this book. In fact, I kind of brought my grandmother back to life here, indulging in an alternate world where perhaps my mom died and my grandmother lived.
|My grandma Dorothy, who was my inspiration
for Nana Dorothea Hemlock in
House Of Ivy & Sorrow.
It's funny how your life just seeps into a book even when you're not trying. I hadn't even noticed until I finished the first draft that I named Nana practically the same name as my own grandmother, that I had created a woman who I imagine acts much like the woman I adored so much. I hadn't realized I built an old, ivy-covered home because of the comfort I felt in my grandma's old house.
I also didn't realize that I had put my dearest friends in the book for Jo to love. Friends were something I struggled to have and to keep in my earlier years, and it still surprises me every day that I have so many amazing friends in my life now who love and accept me and are incredibly supportive. So much so that I consider them family, and I would drop everything to help them in whatever they needed.
So yes, there is magic and cute boys and darkness in House Of Ivy & Sorrow, but what I hope people take away from this story is the solidarity and strength of all the amazing women in Jo's life, herself included. Because while there's some kissing here and there, the true "romance" of this book is the love and support Jo finds among the women surrounding her. And that is a message I think more girls need to hear in this world where women are constantly pitted against each other.
If you want to purchase House Of Ivy & Sorrow, here are some links to make it easy for you to do that:
Barnes & Noble