So here we are. With Enchantress Apprentice – Part Two of the Book of Water coming out tomorrow we thought it would be a good chance to catch up with the author, JW Whitmarsh once more. This is the first of three interviews that we will be posting on this website over the coming days and weeks. [Minor spoilers possible for those yet to read/finish Enchantress Awakening].
Nexus-Fiction: So a month in and now we are talking about Enchantress Apprentice. Does it feel like just yesterday that Enchantress Awakening came out?
JW Whitmarsh: Not really. This month has been pretty busy so it actually feels like quite some time ago.
NX: How distant do the stories feel to now? I mean you wrote a lot of the material some time ago.
JW: That’s true but still the story feels quite close. I’ve had to look at it again in a different way with trying to turn the Book of Water into a trilogy. I’ve spent quite a bit of time walking with Caleigh recently.
NX: On the subject of Caleigh, how do you pronounce her name? I’ve heard people say it different ways.
JW: It’s a Celtic name but there isn’t one correct Celtic or British accent. The derivation of the name is disputed and I think there are several variants that are acceptable so cay-lee, cal-ee, kelly, or even keely would be fair, depending on your own accent. I recently read a theory that the name actually comes from the Greek Callisto, who was a nymph, which is, shall we say, an interesting coincidence.
NX: I’m not convinced it is a coincidence but I can tell when an author is being circumspect. Staying on the subject of Caleigh, while trying to avoid spoilers as much as possible, where is she at the beginning of Apprentice compared to Awakening?
JW: I take it you mean in terms of her character as opposed to geographically?
NX: Yes, and in terms of her progress as a wizard.
JW: It’s very different. She is now a firmly established Apprentice and Librarian of Elevered. There’s an argument to say that in Awakening she is following the journeys others have given her (at least initially). In Apprentice the journeys are very much of her design. Of course she is still guided by Loreliath and Tovrik but she is using her own interpretation much more.
NX: Is she a match for other wizards yet?
JW: Obviously it depends on the wizard but she is getting there. We saw glimpses of that at the end of Awakening but it goes further in this story. Her enemies are starting to learn they need to take her seriously.
NX: Do we learn much more about the Coven and the Society of Shadows?
JW: Yes, definitely. We’ll get to put a lot more names to faces with the Coven and see that they are not necessarily homogeneous characters. It’s the same with the Society. When we first meet them we only see them as direct actors. In Enchantress Apprentice we begin to appreciate that their influence is more pervasive than that.
NX: More society to go with the shadows?
JW: Yes, you could put it that way.
NX: What about the good guys? Will more be added to the cause?
JW: Without giving too much away I can say that’s a pretty safe assumption. We’re definitely in the recruitment phase now.
NX: At the end of Awakening we saw Caleigh struggling to contain her powers. Will this be a problem for her again?
JW: I think you can see this as a development on her part. I think by the end of Awakening she has understood that repression doesn’t work for her so partly it’s that need to embrace her wilder side that persuades her to venture out from Elevered.
NX: So we shouldn’t expect to see Caleigh taking up the nun’s habit in Apprentice?
JW: Not unless it’s fancy dress night.