Author Interview: Alix E. Harrow

In the late 1800s, three sisters use witchcraft to change the course of history in Alix E. Harrow’s powerful novel of magic and the suffragette movement, The Once and Future Witches. We spoke with author Alix E. Harrow about the inspiration for The Once and Future Witches, growing up on audiobooks, and more!

An homage to the indomitable power and persistence of women, The Once and Future Witches reimagines stories of revolution, sapphic love, motherhood, and women’s suffrage. The lost ways are calling.

Please tell us a little bit about what inspired you to write this book and how this story took shape for you.

The original pitch for this book was “suffragists, but witches,” which sounded whimsical and fun! But it turns out the history of women’s resistance movements and the history of witchcraft are very, very bleak. So I floundered with this book, for months, until I remembered: I write fantasy, and what’s the point of magic if you can’t make things just a little bit better?

In two sentences or less, what’s something that might surprise listeners about your audiobook?

I have an alliteration fixation and I regret absolutely nothing because Gabra Zackman makes it sound so, so good.

Have you listened to your own audiobook? If so, what struck you about the narration?

I can’t actually handle it! I don’t even tend to read my own work once it’s published!

Are you an audiobook listener? If so, what are some of your favorite audiobooks?

I grew up on audiobooks, so I am deeply, profoundly attuned to the sound of Jim Dale’s narration. I also love everything January LaVoy has ever touched, and Lenny Henry’s work on Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, and I’ve heard only the best things about the Locked Tomb audiobooks by Tasmyn Muir!

What have independent bookstores and/or booksellers meant to you personally and professionally?

Personally, bookstores have been havens, escapes, and the source of at least 85% of my Christmas shopping. Professionally, bookstores have been my literal livelihood, and the only real-world spaces where I’ve gotten to meet readers and fellow writers.

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