Interview with author Melusine Draco:
What authors/ books influenced you in your early days of being a Pagan/following your spiritual path?
The novels of Dion Fortune sparked it all off and that old 1970s favourite, ‘Mastering Witchcraft’ by Paul Huson. These were titles that suggested there was something more out there than the rather tame stuff that was just beginning to be published under the New Age banner. And I got a subscription to the original ‘Man, Myth & Magic’ magazine that built up into a complete encyclopaedia, which I still have.
What drew you to your path?
An inherent and instinctive feel for the natural world. My father was an old-fashioned countryman and he introduced me to the ways of the countryside from a very early age. From there it was only one step away from discovering Craft.
Where do you find inspiration for your books?
Aaah! Now that is a difficult one. I usually get the original idea about one o’ clock in the morning and by the time I wake up, the whole book has been mapped out in my head. I’ve just finished ‘Pan: Dark Lord of the Forest’ which came to me at 3am and virtually wrote itself; five weeks later it was finished and is in production with Moon Books. Where does the inspiration come from ... I don’t ask! I don’t think I want to know.
How did you become an author? Was it something you intended to do or was it by accident?
It was always my only ambition. My first job on leaving school was as editorial assistant for an in-house journal with a cosmetics company. My first book was ‘Malleus Satani’, an overview of the anti-occult campaign that raged during the late 1980s to the early 1990s from an insider’s point of view, which is now being remembered in the headlines again after 25 years. It wasn’t a good book because it was rushed due to the need for publication to coincide with the High Court ruling that the allegations were a load of rubbish and dismissed.
What do you feel makes a book worth reading?
It has to have something new to say, or the content offers a different way of looking at a subject and imparts those unusual and interesting snippets of information that shows the author knows his or her subject, rather than just regurgitating material from half a dozen different sources. We never stop learning – and that’s what makes reading enjoyable.
Are you working on a new book right now and if so what is it?
‘Hour B’Twixt Dog and Wolf ... it’s the third in the Temple House Archive series of novels ... a supernatural thriller where I can use a lot of factual (magical) material to entertain the reader. Novel writing is a refreshing change from the non-fiction stuff even though it’s still on the same subject ... magic, mystery, ghosts, unquiet spirits, etc., not forgetting the odd demon thrown in for good measure.
Do you write part or full time?
I have been a full-time writer since 1987 but I write every day – sometimes all day.
What's the hardest thing about writing?
Finding that research has become a displacement activity and knowing you have to stop! I love research almost as much as the writing. In fact, I do not enjoy the writing until I’ve completed the first draft; then the fun really begins when I can start being creative instead of just getting words down on the page.
How can other readers discover more about you (website/facebook links etc)?
Facebook: http:// www.facebook.com/TempleofKhem
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Never give up heart but do bother to learn the craft of creative writing. There are a lot of bad books out there and you have to know your way around the marketplace. I’ve taught creative writing for over 30 years and the business end of writing never gets any easier.
There are tons of pagan books on the market, what do you think makes you stand out from the crowd?
Possibly because I offer something a little bit different. Coming from an Old Craft background there’s often something that’s controversial, contrasting, diverse or original in the mix. But on top of everything else, I think it’s because it’s obvious we have a lot of fun.
Which one of your books are you most proud of?
Without a doubt it’s a toss-up between ‘The Dictionary of Magic and Mystery’ and ‘Magic Crystals, Sacred Stones’. These two books were both the culmination of years of research, learning and experience.