Worlds collide and witchcraft abounds in Trial by Fire, Josephine Angelini's new release about a teen transported to a parallel universe. The author discusses the first book in the Worldwalker Trilogy.
What was your inspiration for the Worldwalker Trilogy? I’m a bad sleeper and a remarkably stubborn person. I go through regular bouts of insomnia and refuse to take any kind of sleep medication. So I spend a lot of time staring at the ceiling at night. Weird things pop into your head at 3:00 in the morning. One notion that kept plaguing me a few years back was the thought that if I ever met another version of myself from a parallel universe we’d probably be enemies. I have no idea how that idea got in there, but once it was there I had to build a world around it so it would leave me alone.
Which character do you most identify with in Trial by Fire? Right now, after finishing the second book, it’s Lillian. Funny thing about writing series instead of stand-alone books is that your sympathies often wander from one character to another.
What made you decide to make Lily and Lillian witches? I’m from Massachusetts and I grew up with the lore of the Salem Witch Trials all around me. My parent’s house is right across the street from the town forest, and in the center of that forest is a cliff with caves in it. Those caves sheltered people accused of witchcraft in Salem who were fleeing persecution. My sisters told me many died—froze to death—in those caves. Try sleeping with that right across the street from your bedroom window. Maybe that’s where my insomnia comes from, come to think of it. I’ve been thinking about witchcraft my whole life, and I knew that some day I would write about it.
Where do you do your best writing? What is your dream “room of your own”? I have the most boring writing space imaginable, and this is on purpose. Every now and again I’ll trek out to a coffee shop to work, or if I’m traveling I have no problem working on planes, trains, hotel lobbies, or wherever. But day-to-day I work on a tiny bare desk that faces a blank wall. I have two choices—write or go crazy. Usually I write. Usually.