Interview & Giveaway: Shakespeare's Witch by Samantha Grosser

Hey everyone! Happy Friday!

Today on the blog I am super excited to be hosting Samantha Grosser, author of Shakespeare's Witch. I absolutely loved the book (you can read my review here), and I can't wait to share this interview with you. Be sure to enter our giveaway at the end of this post for a copy of the book!

Hello Samantha and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about Shakespeare’s Witch!

Thank you for having me – it’s a pleasure to be here.

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

I have an Honours Degree in English Literature and I spent many years teaching English both in Japan and Australia. I wrote my first novel in my mid thirties, and it took so many drafts to get it right I lost count at 15. I’ve honed my process a bit since then, but only a bit! Although I originally hail from England, I now live on the sunny beaches of Sydney, Australia with my husband, teenage son and a very small dog called Livvy.

I’m the author of The King James Men, which is set against the turbulence of 17th Century England, as well as wartime dramas Another Time and Place and The Officer’s Affair. Shakespeare’s Witch is the first book in the Pages of Darkness series.

What inspired you to write Shakespeare’s Witch?

It was truly a flash of inspiration – a lightbulb moment! I was telling my husband about the curse of Macbeth and he asked me when and how the legend began. We both stared at each other and he said, ‘That’s going to be your next book, isn’t it?’ And I nodded.

What research did you undertake when writing Shakespeare’s Witch?

A huge amount of reading – Shakespeare, history (of the theatre, of England, of Bankside), witchcraft, and of course, sorcery and magic. It also gave me the perfect excuse to go to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on Bankside to see a production of Macbeth. The theatre is as close a replica of the original as it is possible to build, and it’s magical. Best piece of research ever!

What was your favorite scene to write?

Any of the scenes where the actors are on stage, either rehearsing or performing. It was such a pleasure to weave Shakespeare’s words through my own, and backlight my characters with the magic of his genius.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

That’s a hard question! Probably the scene with the magic ritual that Tom and Sarah perform together. So many elements had to come together to make it work and it took a great many rewrites before I was finally happy with it.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve been a writer as long as I can remember – as a child I filled up notebooks with stories that mostly involved horses and were mostly very bad. I had a bit of a hiatus from writing in my twenties (though I always kept journals) and I picked it up again when I met my husband, who has always encouraged, inspired and had faith in my work.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

An ideal day sees me up at 6 am, breakfast, a solitary walk, and writing by 9 o’clock. On a good day I’ll write till 4 or 5 o’clock, but more often I’ll finish at 1 or 2, and spend the afternoon doing research, or something totally unrelated to writing.

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

My greatest challenge as a writer is to believe in what I’m doing. It’s taken a long time for me to actually accept that I can write a good book, and though I’m immensely proud of the books I’ve written, I still have days when I wonder why I bother. But I think that’s the same for most writers – it’s the urge to do it better that inspires us to stick with it even when it’s hard.

Who are your writing inspirations?

The list for this is endless, and sometimes unexpected. Every writer I’ve ever read adds something to the mix, and sometimes it might just be a random phrase that speaks to me at that moment, and provides with a new insight. My early inspirations include Daphne du Maurier, Thomas Hardy, Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot, and Joseph Conrad. More recently I’ve found inspiration in the work of writers like Tracy Chevalier, Geraldine Brooks and Madeline Miller.

What was the first historical novel you read?

The first one I can remember is The Silver Sword, by Ian Seraillier. Set in the Warsaw Ghetto, it ignited a lifelong interest in the stories of the Second World War.

What is the last historical novel you read?

I’m reading Villette by Charlotte Bronte at the moment, and before that I read The Lambs of London by Peter Ackroyd.

What are three things people may not know about you?

1. I hate driving, and will walk or take public transport instead if I possibly can.
2. My favourite play is Hamlet.
3. I met my Australian husband in Tokyo.

What appeals to you most about writing in your chosen genre?

I’ve always been fascinated by the stories of people in the past and writing historical fiction allows me to research a period through a very particular lens, always searching for a thread to tease apart to include in my writing, a seam of information to mine. I’ve found and read books about subjects I would never have imagined myself enjoying and most of them are fascinating. The skill in writing historical fiction is to take all that information and create an authentic world that is both vivid and believable.

What historical time period do you gravitate towards the most with your personal reading?

This varies, depending on what I’m writing at the time. My current work-in-progess is set in Victorian England so I’m immersing myself in literature of the period, especially books that were written at the time. But I’ll read books set in any time period if the subject speaks to me.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

Obviously, I read a lot. I walk and do yoga. And one of my favourite ways to spend an evening is at our local independent cinema, which is 1930’s art deco.

Your last book was about the writing of The King James Bible and now Shakespeare, what are you working on next?

The next novel to be published is the sequel to Shakespeare’s Witch, which takes place 25 years afterwards. It’s almost finished, and then I’ll be turning my full attention to the third novel in the Pages of Darkness series which is set much later, in Victorian times.

Oh yay, that is the best news! I can't wait! Thank you for spending time with us today, Samantha!

Shakespeare's Witch by Samantha Grosser

Publication Date: March 20, 2019
Sam Grosser Books
eBook & Paperback; 358 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Love, Witchcraft, Sorcery, Madness.

A fortune told …
When Sarah Stone foresees Will Shakespeare’s latest play has opened doors to evil, she begs the playwright to abandon it. But Will refuses, aware the play is one of his best. And so rehearsals for Macbeth begin.

Forbidden desires …
After her vision, Sarah fears for her life – she has never known the shewstone to lie, and she turns to her brother Tom for comfort. A strange darkness seems to haunt the playhouse, and when Tom sets out to seduce John Upton, the boy actor who plays Lady Macbeth, the boy sees the hand of witchcraft in his own forbidden desires for men. Then Sarah weaves a spell to win the love of the new lead actor, and John, terrified for the safety of his soul, begins to make his accusations.

The Spirits have spoken …
As rehearsals continue, Sarah and Tom must struggle to convince John he is mistaken and that his sins are his own – their lives and the fortune of the play are at stake. But the Spirits have spoken – will the fate that Sarah foresaw come to pass or is their destiny their own to decide?

Set against the first production of Macbeth in 1606, Shakespeare’s Witch is a seductive tale of the origins of the curse of the Scottish Play.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble

About the Author

Historical fiction author Samantha Grosser originally hails from England, but now lives on the sunny Northern Beaches of Sydney with her husband, son and a very small dog called Livvy.

Combining a lifelong love of history with a compulsion to write that dates from childhood, Samantha is now bringing her passion for telling compelling stories to the world.

Samantha has an Honours Degree in English Literature and taught English for many years in Asia and Australia. She is the author of wartime dramas Another Time and Place and The Officer’s Affair, and The King James Men, set during the turbulent early years of 17th Century.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, March 20
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, March 21
Review at Book Reviews from Canada

Friday, March 22
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Saturday, March 23
Feature at Broken Teepee

Monday, March 25
Review at Amy's Booket List

Tuesday, March 26
Feature at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, March 27
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Friday, March 29
Interview at Passages to the Past

Sunday, March 31
Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All

Monday, April 1
Review at For the Sake of Good Taste

Tuesday, April 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, April 4
Interview at Hisdoryan

Monday, April 8
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Tuesday, April 9
Review at Bibliophile Reviews

Wednesday, April 10
Review at Macsbooks

Friday, April 12
Review at A Book Geek

Monday, April 15
Review at Donna's Book Blog
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, April 16
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, April 17
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Coffee and Ink


During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away one eBook and one paperback copy of Shakespeare's Witch! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US & UK only.
– Only one entry per household.
– No sweepstakes accounts please.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner will be chosen.

Shakespeare's Witch

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