Behind the Scenes of Tori V. Rainn’s “Curse of the Blacknoc Witch”

K.A.:
Tori V. Rainn is on the blog today talking about her newest release, Curse of the Blacknoc Witch, which releases tomorrow. I had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy of her book, and I’m excited for you all to learn more about the young adult dark fantasy. Tori is a talented writer.

Welcome, Tori! Before we launch into all the behind-the-scene fun, tell us about Curse of the Blacknoc Witch.

Tori:
Samuel dreamed of being a lot of things, but a monster trapped in a forest realm never entered his mind. The Blacknoc Curse wasn’t supposed to be true, only a children’s story meant to persuade them away from evil. Yet, here he was tasked with hunting cursed kids. There’s nothing left for Samuel except the horror surrounding him.

Layla, a young girl tormented by the same curse, is dropped into the terrifying forest every night, running from the monsters intent on taking her life. She meets Samuel and vows to save all the children, especially Samuel, from their torment.

Working together can they defeat the Blacknoc Curse?

K.A.:
Samuel and Layla really have the odds stacked against them. What is their story world like?

Tori:
It’s not like the modern world we live in today. A bit of our history from the 18th century is thrown into the mix of a fairy tale story.  The value for human life is the same and the need for love and friendship is timeless in our present, past centuries and fantasy worlds.

The era chosen included a time when witches were feared and persecuted, also when superstitious was very common. 

Tori:
There is a supernatural element involved. As part of the curse that takes place each night, a forest realm is opened up that serves as a hunting ground for the monsters. This is the fantasy aspect of the world. Only the ones who are cursed can see and access this forest realm. 

K.A.:
How did you come up with the idea for this story–what inspired you?

Tori:
I’ve always liked the idea of facing something bigger than me, especially when it involves the supernatural. Whether it’s a beast, witches, ghosts, or humans, it has always fascinated me to the point where I keep incorporating those elements into my stories, hence the main ingredients that makeup Curse of the Blacknoc Witch.

Tori:
The focal point I wanted to explore was how my characters would go about facing their monsters, a concept I don’t always take literally. So with that in mind, I can say that was the main vehicle that drove Curse of the Blacknoc Witch. However, the story today is not what I started with. It was a flash fiction called The Forests, the tagline: What does your forest look like? Because we all have one, right? I remember starting it with a young man running from a beast in modern time just outside a bright city. He was yanked from his cozy bed and tossed into a forest realm. The short story had three different pov’s, each with their own personal monster chasing them. After submitting it to magazines and failing to get a bite, I decided to read the story once more and couldn’t tear myself away from the initial idea I had started with. I wanted to know more, and so I began adding onto it, discovering along the way other characters and eventually developing the cause behind a wicked curse. Now granted, at the time, I had not planned for it to get bigger than a novelette but here it is. But I think the initial core from The Forests transitioned well into Curse of the Blacknoc Witch.

K.A.:
Tell us about the research that went into writing this story. Did you venture into any new areas or topics?

Tori:
A few things I remember like, I kept researching small things like how far a horse can trot, which is quite far and long. Apparently, they can cover eight miles in an hour. This gave me a rough idea of the time it would take my characters to make multiple trips in and out of their city, which they had to do in a hurry. Also, leather bookbindings. There’s a scene where one of my characters must repair a book. I stumbled across different methods a book is bond in the middle ages. Different animal hides were used. Sometimes leather wasn’t used at all but rather cloth. Obviously, it was too fragile so it was less commonly used. To both my disgust and fascination, I learned that even human hide was used, a rare practice but very real. Eep! I came close to using that fact in my story but it just didn’t make sense for the witch to do this. 

Learn more about the Medieval bookbindings on Khan Academy.

K.A.:
Human skin? That is disturbing.

K.A.:
What’s the most interesting discovery you made writing this story?

Tori:
Apparently, I’m fond of poems and riddles, which is funny to me because I am NOT a poetry writer. I don’t much understand the mechanics that make up a poem and yet I kept finding myself writing them into the story, and this is true for other manuscripts I’m working on. If it wasn’t for my critique partners and editors, my poetry attempt would be a mess, haha. 

K.A.:
The poems turned out beautifully in the book, especially the one at the beginning.

K.A.:
I’m a huge fan of Easter eggs. Any hidden references, details, or tidbits readers should keep an eye out for?

Tori:
Absolutely! They are very small but my family picks up on them right away since I like to toss their names here and there that aren’t necessarily the main character. They can be anywhere, from the name of a building to the name of a horse. Now, I think I have made some movie references in Curse of the Blacknoc Witch, but I can’t remember off the top of my head where it’s at. Maybe a reader will locate it? In Encircled, an anthology I did with other authors, I wrote something similar to “be our guest” line from Beauty and the Beast movie into “She’s no intruder but our guest.” Just a little play of words of the reference I had in mind. I do love easter eggs as well. I’ll have to be sure to include more for readers especially!

K.A.:
Curse of the Blacknoc Witch releases tomorrow and will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and other online book retailers.

K.A.:
Great to have you here, Tori. Thanks for sharing all these insights into your release, Curse of the Blacknoc Witch.

About Tori V. Rainn

Tori V. Rainn is a Texas-based fantasy novelist who is on a lifelong mission to inspire her readers through the power of imaginative storytelling. During her creative journey, an array of her short stories have been showcased in various online zines. It all started when she took a writing course at Writer’s Village University, which earned her a Creative Writing Certificate. The moment she penned her first story, she knew writing was her ultimate calling and greatest passion.

When she isn’t crafting thrilling plots, you can find this avid video gamer watching her favorite shows, collecting unique knives, or going on meditative walks in the heart of nature. She is also a chocoholic and tea aficionada with an unquenchable sweet tooth. Above all else, Tori enjoys spending quality time with her loved ones.

You can connect with her at her website, or on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

 

 

*** View past interviews here. ***

Published by K.A. Cummins

K.A. Cummins is an award-winning indie author. Her work has appeared on goHavok.com and she’s a former Lands Uncharted contributor.

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