Stacy DeKeyser is the author of The Brixen Witch, a new Middle Grade release with a witch, a curse, and lots and lots of rats! I invited Stacy to the Café to talk about her latest release. Check out what she has to say!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Stacy DeKeyser] Book nerd; loves dogs; consumes too much sugar. Whimpers upon realizing she’ll never get to read all the books she’d like to.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Brixen Witch?
[Stacy DeKeyser] It’s kind of two stories combined into one: a story about a village with its own witch, built on the bones of the Pied Piper legend.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Stacy DeKeyser] I’d wanted to write a story about a mountain witch for years, ever since visiting the Italian Alps in 2000, where there are local legends about witches. But I could never figure out what her story should be.Then, in 2009, I stumbled across a mention of the Pied Piper legend, and how it may be based on real events. I’d always known that, of course, but this time I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The tragedy and lopsided cruelty of that story haunted me. Most fairy tales tend to be dark, but this is one of the few where NO ONE lives happily ever after, and NO ONE gets their comeuppance. It bothered me, and so I wanted to write my own version of the story.
As I researched, I came upon Kate Greenaway’s illustrations of the Robert Browning poem, "The Pied Piper of Hamelin." Greenaway’s version of Hamelin looked just like the village in the Italian Alps with the witch. Something clicked in my head, and I knew I had found a way to write the witch’s story too.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Rudi?
[Stacy DeKeyser] Serious. Kind. Brave.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Rudi would never have in his pocket?
[Stacy DeKeyser] Keys — Because his house is never locked.
Marbles — He’s a little too serious to play with marbles.
A handkerchief — He’s a boy. He knows what sleeves are for.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Rudi had a theme song, what would it be?
[Stacy DeKeyser] You know that song about conquering your fears and meanwhile discovering who you’re meant to be? Yeah! That’s the one.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Stacy DeKeyser] My mom, Dori Chaconas, who has been writing and publishing since I was a kid, and who showed me that even "regular" people can write books and be published.
Jonathan Stroud, who can weave plot and character seamlessly. A master.
Richard Peck, who says "No one but a reader ever became a writer." Because he’s talking about me.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Stacy DeKeyser] A beverage (preferably caffeinated)
Background music (preferably instrumental; preferably with a Celtic flavor)
A deadline (preferably imposed by someone else)
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[Stacy DeKeyser] I loved The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud . That book is satisfying on every level: It’s expertly plotted and yet the story never feels forced; the characters are vivid and real. It entertains and yet it asks thought-provoking questions. And, it’s hilarious. I especially love the footnotes.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Stacy DeKeyser] I was turned on to reading before I ever learned to read. I honestly remember being very small and wishing I knew how to read. I couldn’t wait to start school, because I knew that’s where the magic would happen.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Stacy DeKeyser] Well, reading, of course. Traveling. Hiking. Shopping. Eating.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!
You can purchase The Brixen Witch from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below. Available in print and digital.