Thursday, 5 January 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway: Ruth Warburton!

Ruth Warburton's debut young adult novel A Witch in Winterreleases today! Ruth very kindly took the time to stop by my blog and answer some questions about her book...and stay tuned for an awesome giveaway at the end!

Anna Winterson doesn't know she's a witch and would probably mock you for believing in magic, but after moving to the small town of Winter with her father, she learns more than she ever wanted to about power. When Anna meets Seth, she is smitten, but when she enchants him to love her, she unwittingly amplifies a deadly conflict between two witch clans and splits her own heart in two. She wants to love Seth, to let him love her - but if it is her magic that's controlling his passion, then she is as monstrous as the witch clan who are trying to use her amazing powers for their own gain.

When love is tangled up in magic, how can you be sure what's real?

Buy A Witch in Winter: Amazon UK/TBD

1. I'm a huuuuge fan of twitter so, can you sum up A Witch in Winter in 140 characters for us? 

Ooh hard! Ok...

It's your average girl meets boy, girl enchants boy, girl tries to take enchantment off & they both get into a whole heap of trouble, story.

How's that? 140 EXACTLY.

[I checked, it is--C]

2. What inspired you to write YA and did you do a lot of research into the genre before writing your own?

I don't think I ever really sat down to write YA. It was a sort of mix of chance and circumstance.

The seed for the story came from an interview I listened to on radio four where the interviewer was talking about romance, and how the challenge in modern romance is keeping the main characters from jumping into bed with each other - because in this day and age, if you like each other, why wouldn't you? And I started thinking that for me, the main reason I wouldn't jump into bed with someone I was in love with, would be if I wasn't sure howthey felt about me. And somehow the idea of the spell just popped into my head - a girl gets the boy she loves, but can never be completely sure how he feels about her.

It just came out as YA in my head - I knew from the outset that the characters would be teens, and I'm not sure why, except that maybe I was spending a lot of time in the children's section of the library with my toddler, and I'd started browsing the YA section - basically out of boredom! I never really got to sit down and read a full book - but I'd look at the titles and the jackets and maybe read a page here and there - and it reminded me of a whole section of books that I hadn't thought about for a long time. I work in adult publishing so although I read a lot, it's almost always "work" books - which means adult literary fiction and non-fiction, pretty much.

Which kind of answers your other question - did I do a lot of research? No - not really, in the sense that I didn't read a great deal that was specifically YA. But I guess I had a pretty good idea of the tone and themes out there, just from browsing.

3. I know that you work in publishing, do you think this has helped (or hindered) your journey as an author?

Hmm... good question. I'd say a bit of both.

It helped for sure in that I knew how high the bar was, and how good a manuscript has to be to get published, so I made damn sure my book was as perfect as I could make it. I also had a pretty good idea of how to craft a pitch (it's kind of what I do in my day-job, only for other people's books, which, let me tell you, is a whole lot easier than pitching your own!) 

I also knew the basics - like the kind of thing that makes a submission an automatic "no", and how to research agents and go about subbing to them. But I didn't have any contacts in the children's side of the business so for me the actual process of subbing was the same as for any other aspiring author - I looked up sites on the internet like and checked who was interested in YA, and who was accepting subs, and then I drew up a hit list and subbed via the agents' slush piles like anyone else.

But it also hindered for the same reasons. I'd been writing for years but always adult novels and all my manuscripts had always gone under the bed. I just wrote for my own fun, really. As I said above, it's incredibly hard to get published - fantastic manuscripts get rejected every day. I knew the odds and it really put me off even trying - which is kind of pathetic, but I'm not the kind of person who's spurred on by setbacks. I have a very low failure threshold and tend to just give up! Also I really, really didn't want to sub to agents and editors I worked with. I thought it would be horrendously awkward all round.

But then this book just somehow came out as YA. I wrote it without even really thinking about publication - just for pleasure like all the others - and then when I'd finished it I suddenly realised it was a totally different set of agents and editors - ones I'd never met and would likely never run across in the course of work. So I decided to go for it. And 2 years on - here we are!

4. I love the setting of Winter, the small English coastal town that the book takes place in, why did you decide on this?

I don't exactly know where the setting came from - the first scene that came into my head was a girl in the car with her dad, driving along the M25 towards a new life. He was whistling Jumping Jack Flash through his teeth and looking forward to a fresh start after he'd been sacked - she was depressed and trying not to show it. That was the first scene I wrote - though in the event it got cut quite early on! I didn't immediately know where they were headed and then Winter gradually took shape in my imagination. It's quite similar to the town where I grew up, Lewes. Lewes isn't by the sea (it's about five or six miles inland) but it has a lot of the same features as Winter, including a ruined castle which glowers above the town, a bit like Winter Castle. It was also heavily flooded in the year 2000 (including my dad's house) which was the inspiration behind some of the later events in the book. 

The seaside setting came from the Sussex coast and also from holidays in Cornwall, Brittany and Devon - I wrote some of the book in Brittany and in Padstow, in a house overlooking the sea.

5. Magic features pretty heavily in AWiW, if you could cast one spell successfully, what would it be?

Crikey, that's a hard one! I think I would be incredibly wary of messing around with spells after what Anna goes through! A bit like genies with wishes in the Arabian Nights, the spells in my books always seem to cause more trouble than they solve.

But I am quite envious of Anna's ability to fly (wait for book two!) which I think would be very fun, and a huge saving in commuting costs!

6. What books are you most looking forward to reading in 2012? 

I am really, really excited for the release of my friend CJ Daugherty's first book, Night School which (bizarrely) comes out the exact same day as mine. I also intend to try Cassandra Clare's Clockwork series after you recommended it so strongly! [yes! you will LOVE it--C]

7. A Witch in Love, the second book in your trilogy gets released later this year, can you give us any hints about what's to come?

Hmm... what can I say? Well it starts six months in from where A Witch in Winter ends, just before Christmas. Anna's made her peace with what she did to Seth in book one, but after what happened she's vowed to suppress her powers and become an ordinary girl. Unfortunately it's not as easy as all that. Some things are beyond her control - including her heart. She's also about to find out that there are more terrifying entities out there than the Ealdwitan - not all of them witches. Emmaline, Bran and Seth will all be returning and we're also going to see a lot more of Abe...

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions Ruth!
You can learn more about Ruth and A Witch in Winter on her website
Or her Facebook
And you should definitely follow her on Twitter 

And now for the totally awesome giveaway! Ruth has very kindly offered to send a SIGNED AND DEDICATED copy of A Witch in Winter to one lucky winner!

To enter you must:
Live in the UK
Leave a comment with your email address and an answer to:
If you could cast one spell successfully,what would it be?

I'm also going to give away a copy of AWiW to one INTERNATIONAL winner

To enter you must:
Live outside the UK
Leave a comment with your email address, state you're entering the INTERNATIONAL giveaway and give an answer to:
If you could cast one spell successfully, what would it be?

NO extra entries, but I would appreciate you spreading the word any way you can!
Contest opens today (5th) and will end on the 10th January at 12am GMT 


  1. Love this interview & the questions you asked, Cait - especially how working in publishing might have helped or hindered the whole process. Great answers on that one. I won't enter the comp as I have a copy of the book on pre-order, so it should be arriving any day now. Can't wait!

  2. Great interview
    I'm entering the international giveaway ( live in Belgium^^;;) thanks you so so much for having also a giveaway for us, i really appreciate

    If i could cast one spell...i would say healing because i can't stand people suffering. ( but yes i should be able to cast it perfectly i don't want to maim or hurt people by doing it wrong)


    all the best

  3. Damaris @ Good Choice Reading
    Entering International

    If I could cast a spell, I would definitely cast one on myself that gives me courage and makes me believe in myself a bit more to write this AWESOME book I have written in my head. LOL

    Thanks for the chance!

  4. One spell... it would be for health for my family. USA- south Carolina
    Theresa N

  5. Entering International - USA

    Hmm, if I could cast any spell it would be to fly. For starters, it would be awesome to be able to. Second, it's energy efficient. Third, it would give me a new look on the world, seeing it from a new angle.

    Thanks for adding the Int. giveaway :)

  6. Stuck between two - either a cure for type one diabetes or making sure my family was safe and healthy forever.

    Probably the last one.

  7. It would be a spell of good fortune to my family.
    Thanks so much for the giveaway the book looks really good! :)

    Entering the International Giveaway - Canada.


  8. Hi I want to participate, I live in Spain.
    The answer would be to heal, and it is not now, but that since the Naruto series I am a complete amateur to a character who has that power. And the truth is I see super ideal to help those in need. That's why I love me a copy.
    Have a good day

  9. This book sounds really awesome. Putting a love spell on the boy you love, wow that's a great idea to write a story about. I already feel how Anna feels about not knowing if Seth is really in love with her for real. That just makes me sad. But I totally want to read this book.

    If I could cast one spell successfully, it would be to keep my boyfriend healthy and safe for the rest of his life. He is too important to me and his well being definitely comes first. I am entering the International giveaway(this is a first lol). I live in the US.

  10. I'm entering the international giveaway from Canada.
    To limit me to only one spell, I feel that it would have to be something pretty spectacular; world changing, even. Hmmm... to be able to produce food from nothing?

  11. I live in the UK. :) If I could cast one spell successfully it would probably....a spell that could stop my brother from talking so much! Life would be so much more peaceful! But I do love him. <3

    This book sounds cool. Thanks for the giveaway!

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Awesome interview! The setting is one of the things that intrigues me most about AWiW (as well as the cool magic aspect, of course :P) - really excited about this book! And I love Cassie Clare's The Infernal Devices series - enjoy!

    Thanks for the giveaway! :) I think I'll be boring and do a spell that would ensure I passed all my exams :P. I want to go to uni!


  14. One spell it will be healing, it's so sad to see people suffering! Thank you so much for the giveaway! I'm international-El Salvador! :)


  15. Thanks for the giveaway!

    I'm entering the international giveaway.

    If I could cast a spell I'd like to be able to control the weather.

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  16. Awesome interview- I love all your questions. You've made me want to read this now, it sounds great!

    If I could cast a spell I would want the ability to freeze and restart time. Imagine all that extra spare time I could have, everything I could get done with all that extra TIME!

  17. I would cast a spell to turn the PM into my personal puppet so I could influence the government in not cutting the things that people need like libraries, the NHS, restart, ema and focus on making corporations and the megarich actually pay what they owe.

    Matthew.imrie at

  18. I would cast a spell to turn the PM into my personal puppet so I could influence the government in not cutting the things that people need like libraries, the NHS, restart, ema and focus on making corporations and the megarich actually pay what they owe.

    Matthew.imrie at

  19. Thank you for the giveaway! If I could successfully cast one spell, I would have to do something to conjure a car. I totaled mine before Christmas, and I am having rotten luck finding another one.


    pherlaithiel (at) gmail (dot) com


    I'd cast a spell so that I knew how to work the magic successfully without any bad side effects. Magic always sees to backfire.


  21. entering the INTERNATIONAL giveaway. If I could cast a spell, i would want it to be one that could transport me wherever I want in an instant.

  22. What a great interview! Thanks so much for doing a giveaway.

    I'm signing up for the international giveaway.
    US--> TN

    If I could cast one spell, I would do something silly, yet useful. Like for me to not do anything clutzy anymore. Oh, to dream.

    Laura @ The Traveling Owl

  23. Awesome interview! And thanks for the amazing giveaway <3
    At the moment, I would love to cast some sort of magical spell on myself so I could memorise all the content from my textbooks, walk into the exam room, and ace all the exams :S ( That's impossible though!)
    I'm entering the INTERNATIONAL giveaway!

  24. New reader, here. Looks like I picked a good day to come over. I live OUTSIDE the UK. If I could cast one spell, it would be to give everyone I love a spell of their own to use. Thanks for the opportunity.

  25. I would love to be able to cast a spell that will always have us financially stable as well as debt free. That would be so AWESOME and would help A LOT =) I'm not even asking to be rich or anything like that, I just want it to be balanced and clear ^_^ lol

    I'm OUTSIDE of the UK.

    USA GFC Follower: SpadesHighReads
    TValeros18 AT gmail DOT com


  26. Hey Caitlin, thanks for making this giveaway open to us outside of the UK, this book looks like fun!

    amber.hrkns at gmail dot com

    I would LOVE to be able to cast a spell of silence on ONE obnoxious person for ONE full day. Man I would be sooo happy!

    Been looking forward to this book and so happy it's out now. I definitely need more to read.
    If I could cast a spell successfully, it would have be an ongoing spell, one that kept my house immaculately clean at all times. I'd conjure a brownie, but then we all know how dealing with faeries can be. Tricky . . .


  28. International! :D

    If I could cast one spell it would be to clean my room. LOL.

  29. If I could cast a spell successfully, I would cast the spell of healing... a lot of people needs it! :)

    Spread some love at Twitter:!/cherrymischivus/status/155460053334364160

    Shared at Facebook:

    Cherry Mischievous
    cherrymischif-darkward [at] yahoo [dot] com

  30. usa here
    desi the
    what spell what i put on my bf and me lose weight thanks for the book in fo

  31. I would cast a healing spell hands down. edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom I really want to be able to talk to people.

  32. I am entering the INTERNATIONAL giveaway
    If you could cast one spell successfully, what would it be? I would cast the spell of invisibility so I may walk freely among those I wish to gain information for/about/from and use as needed for further spells...helping those in need and hold those accountable for thier "indiscretions" haha
    Thanks for the chance at a GREAT giveaway!

  33. What a great interview. I'll be reading this one even if I don't win.
    If I could cast any spell successfully (and hopefully without negative repercussions) it would be a health charm. (I know a couple people who could use one).
    thanks for the giveaway (international - Canada)

  34. **International**

    jen7waters at gmail dot com

    If you could cast one spell successfully, what would it be?
    Oh, God, so many options! But I would cast a spell that could spirit me away to visit the 19th century England!! those dresses, those balls, the gentlemen! :D

  35. Thank you very much for this great giveaway sounds like a great book! I would cast a spell to take some of my pain away even if it was for one day pain free! I live in the US thanks again!
    Latisha D

  36. I'm entering the INTERNATIONAL giveaway. If I could cast one spell successfully, I would want it to be one that would make headaches go away. I think. LOL! :D

  37. Oh, forgot to add my email address:

  38. I'm entering the international giveaway.
    If I could cast one spell successfully, it would be to slow down time so I could accomplish all my chores and still have all the time in the world to read and blog.

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  39. I'm entering for the International Giveaway

    If I could cast a spell... oh so many!!! Currently maybe one for money. Or Love, except I don't have a target (victim?? LOL) for that in mind... or the ever elusive weight loss!!

    Thanks for the great giveaway, and I loved the interview :)

  40. I'm entering the international giveaway.
    The spell I would cast is wealth for my family, nothing flashy, but enough to get us moved and all of my govt. paperwork done for citizenship.

    hopester777 at gmail dot com

  41. Entering International - Australia.

    Great interview and many thanks for the giveaway. Heard a lot of amazing things about this book.

    As for what spell I would cast, it would be being able to change your appearance (like hair colour and/or clothing). That would be REAL handy in the early mornings.

  42. I'm entering the INTERNATIONAL giveaway. I would cast a spell that can cure all types of sicknesses. Then, I can save many suffering patients.

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  43. Thanks for the interview!
    I'm entering for the International giveaway.
    If I could cast a spell it would be for my family's good health and prosperity.

    justjanhvi at gmail dot com

  44. Intriguing idea for a book. I would like to see how it works out so please enter me in the International giveaway.

    I am from South Africa.

    Difficult to know what a single spell could do but if I could cast one that would cover the world and remain for ever, it would be to end poverty. Not sure how that would work though !


    Carol T

    buddytho{at} gmail DOT com

  45. Great interview and thanks for the giveaway!!
    I'm entering the international giveaway.
    If I could cast a spell it would be to go back in time and try to change some things, to find a way to save my cousin from dying.


  46. If I could cast one spell? I would cast the spell to fly.

    I'm international.
    Thanks for including us :)


  47. Great interview. I loved the summary in twitter style. Good idea.

    Only one spell? I don't know that's hard. Something to benefit me or benefit the whole world? Maybe I would abolish cancer.

    UK - Nimue
    endlessly.bookish (at)

  48. Great interview! I loved the 140 characters summary! hehe.

    If I could cast one spell... is this one spell once or one spell over and over? If it were over and over I'd want healing powers. if It's a one and only I'd want to rewind time (I've been feeling nostalgic recently!)

    UK giveaway


  49. Hi! I'm a reader of your blog from Spain! Spell? Teleportation to turn bad things into good ones.
    Thank you and happy 2012!
    martaplayita at gmail dot com

  50. I'm entering the INTERNATIONAL giveaway.

    If you could cast one spell successfully, what would it be?

    That people act like who they are- be genuine.


  51. thanks for the giveaway ^^ i am entering for the international one.

    regarding the spell...hmm i'll be totally egoistical. i'll cast it on myself so i can switch between genders. that would be pretty cool. (and a lot of opportunities for funny situations *grin*)

    witchvela at web dot de

  52. Thank you for this awesome giveaway! :)

    If I'd be able to cast a spell, it would be a spell to forget all the pains that my family suffered. :(


  53. If I could cast a spell....I would go with teleportation! I could be sooooo useful and environmental-friendlt!

    International -Italy

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

  54. Brilliant interview!! It's a really nice post Cait.

    If I had once chance and one chance only it would be world peace! I think this would sort out so many problems throughtout the world, and given the chance why wouldn't I? It may sound a little cornie to some but I think it would be an awesome thing to do!

    Thank you for the chance to win.

  55. Loved the post :) I would love to know more about the publishing world :) but also what you wrote before,those manuscripts under the bed :)

    I'm participating in the INTERNATIONAL(Romania) giveaway :)

    Well, i would definetly chant a spell to find my soul mate :) ...selfish..i know..but who doesn't want that ?

    rallu.93 (@)

  56. Hi I'm international (from Italy) :)
    I'd say a healing spell, I think it could really be great to help people :)


  57. Hi I'm international I live in Spain. Thanks for thinking of us^^ Great interview.
    I have to say.... healing as a lot of people here, I'm a nurse so I see a lot of injured people around so it would be great to be able to heal them just like that :)
    nathielgold (at)gmail (dot) com

  58. This was neat, and very thought provoking. If I could cast only one spell it would be to keep my children from ever having disease. I know that is something beyond my control, and if I could use magic that is what I would do. Keep them from ever feeling the bite of pain and a shorten life.
    kelleynutrition at gmail dot com

  59. Thanks for this AMAZE giveaway! I really want to check out this book! I would cast a happiness spell! It would sure make the world a sunnier place! My email is Jess2379(at)hotmail(dot)com I'm in the UK :-)

  60. If I could cast one spell successfully, it would be a spell to create a magical purse with nver ending money in it. I've been obsessed with that idea ever since I read Enid Blyton's books as a child. Selfish huh? But I'd totally send tons of money to other poor people.

    ComaCalm's Corner

  61. I would love to be able to successfully cast a house cleaning spell - it would save so much time and energy! :-)

    I'm UK Based.
    Mel S

  62. Hey, thanks for the giveaway! I love this books cover, it's so pretty. I'm ebtering the INTL giveaway.
    If I could successfully cast any spell it would be to know when I'm being lied to, I hate liars.

  63. Hi! This is an awesome giveaway and love your blog Cait. Ruth, your book sounds amazing and I love the cover. Thank you both for the wonderful interview.

    Ok, I am in the USA and entering the INTERNATIONAL giveaway.
    "If you could cast one spell successfully, what would it be?"

    I would cast some type of spell to create a euphoria if you will, so that everyone would absolutely and clearly see the good in who ever they are and where ever they are, and to find real happiness.

    Thanks again for the giveaway!

    csescapes at gmail dot com

  64. I am entering the International giveaway. I'm in the US.
    If I could cast a any type of spell it would definitely be for healing.

    from New Hampshire!
    If you could cast one spell successfully, what would it be?
    - If I could cast a spell successfully I'd want to be able to rebuild Haiti.

  66. I loved the story line! I was a bit scared when I read the summary despite my love for witches because I thought it would be a regular over done story, but it wasn't. It was unique.I had a little trouble with the language, but I could kind of hear the accents in my head when I read it. (I LOVE English accents. <3 *le sigh*)I think I might of gotten used to it by the end because it didn't bug me as much. I was more into the action in the end. LOVE the action scenes.


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