Interview with Alyssa Alessi, author of MG horror Izzy Hoffman is Not a Witch
Twelve-year-old Izzy has been haunted by the shadow of her ten-times-great grandmother for as long as she can remember. This is no ordinary ancestral ghost: This great granny was the first woman to be hung for witchcraft in Izzy’s small New England town.
Every October first, tourists flood the streets of Marblehead. Unfortunately, this year so do a mysterious man and a possessed town psychic. When the man shows up at Izzy’s family-run bookstore, making odd demands and threatening her mom, she must find the connection between this creep and her ghostly visions.
Trying to make sense of this chaos, Izzy roams into secret rooms, holds seances at the local tarot parlor, and digs through the old family cookbooks that sit on her shelves. When she discovers that she may be a part of a once-in-a-century ritual, Izzy must decide whether it’s going to take baking magic or blood magic to protect herself and her parents from the return of the witch hunt.
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Excerpt from Izzy Hoffman is Not a Witch
The tarot reader is only a few blocks down. The cheesiness of her storefront makes me second guess coming here. A neon crystal ball flickers in the window. I open the door and I’m hit in the face with the scent of incense. She has floral tapestry hanging from literally everywhere. It’s so dark in here I’m surprised she can even see her cards.
“Hello?” No answer. What am I doing? I turn to leave but hear the faint sound of a woman talking from a distance. Miss Clara is walking a client out of her back room.
“Thank you so much.” A young woman sniffles while wiping away tears.
“You are very welcome, love and light.” The client leaves and Miss Clara stops when she sees me. The old woman wears a pair of small rectangular purple sunglasses. They match her black-and-lilac colored robe, which flows freely around her frail ancient body. Her white fluffy hair gives her a frazzled appearance that doesn’t match her sudden robotic tone.
“Izzy, I’m so happy you came to see me. That crystal looks great on you.”
“Yeah, well it doesn’t work. You should give my friend her money back,” I snap.
“Well, I think you know it isn’t instant magic. You must believe in things for them to work.”
I had a really hard day so far and I’m not in the mood to play her games.
“Oh my god! Will you stop? What is with you? Why did you tell my friend I’m a witch?” I get made fun of enough by kids my own age and don’t need some crazy old lady spreading rumors about me.
“Well, aren’t you?” she asks.
Interview with Alyssa Alessi
-What inspired you to become a writer?
The works of Neil Gaiman, R.L Stein, Tim Burton, Wes Craven and John Carpenter inspired me to become a writer. They showed me that if you stay true to yourself and embrace your weird, you will find your people!
-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?
If I were to visit Marblehead for the day, I’d stop into Dark Alley Books for a good book and a few crystals. Then I’d head over to Witches Brew for a pumpkin spice latte to take with me to Dead Horse Beach. I’d sit on the beach with my latte and books and listen to the waves while I read!
-It’s two in the morning. What does your protagonist reveal in confidence? (Don’t worry, we won’t tell.)
At two in the morning, Izzy would reveal that she often sneaks downstairs to the kitchen to snack on some sweet treats that she promised her mom she wouldn’t touch. Sometimes her dad is already there, secretly snacking away.
-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?
I’d definitely want to grab a latte with Nat! I have a feeling she would know all the cool places around town to explore while we sip our drinks. She’d probably make me laugh too!
-You’re in a tavern, and a dwarf challenges you to a duel. What do you do?
I’d offer him a drink of course.
-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?
I don’t ever see myself writing romance. I love a good romantic movie, but I think if I tried to write it, it would come out as an awkward teen drama.
About Alyssa Alessi
Alyssa Alessi is a writer of middle grade, young adult and short stories all inspired by the unsettling macabre aesthetic of New England. As a child she was on a constant hunt for ghosts, vampires, and her own powers as a witch. When she couldn’t find them, she settled for writing them into existence. You can find her hiking any trail in the Northeast said to be haunted, roaming old cemeteries with a camera in hand, or thrift shopping anywhere antiques are sold. She resides in Boston, MA with her husband, three children and their mini dachshund.
Alyssa Alessi will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.