Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bewitching Blog Tour: Illicit Magic by Camilla Chafer

So today, we have the wonderful pleasure of interviewing Camilla Chafer, author of Illicit Magic.

PoR:  What do you do when you are not writing?

CC:  Mostly thinking about writing! But when I’m not doing that, I do love a good TV show especially paranormal or crime like Grimm or Covert Affairs, reading, and I’m trying to get fitter at the moment too. All that sitting in a chair and writing is taking its toll!

PoR:  Where do you get your ideas?

CC:  They pop into my head. It might be that I’m reading or watching something and I have a “what if?” moment. For example, with Stella in Illicit Magic, I had been thinking predominantly about two things: what if the witch hunts started again and it was real, and what would happen to a heroine who has her own power, rather than be simply powerless in a world of magic.

PoR:  I know there were certain aspects of your characters that I could really relate to. Of all your characters in your book, which character do you relate to the most?

CC:  There are parts of several of my characters that I can relate to. For example, no matter how scared and confused Stella gets, she’s really determined to move forwards and be in charge of her own destiny. She’s not particularly gung-ho but she will stand up and be counted. Etoile is a little snarky but very loyal. I wish I had Kitty’s bubbliness.

PoR:  Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

CC:  Many of the characters from IM reappear in later books, some more than others. From the start I have been setting other themes into play – for example, there’s something that connects some of the character’s names that will be revealed in a later book and I’m intrigued to find out how that plays out.

PoR:  So, personally, I loved Evan, but is there one character that you absolutely couldn’t live without (or couldn’t kill) in your books?
CC:  I love Evan too. He’s a great guy once he loosens up. I have a lot of love for all my characters but not to the point where I could say they all survive everything. Sucky things happen, people get hurt. No one is safe and it needs to be that way otherwise it would be dull for the reader.
PoR:  Everyone has those moments where they feel uninspired or stuck. If or when you get writer’s block, what do you do to beat it?
CC:  Sometimes I just need to take a break, close my laptop and go and do something else, knowing that the ideas will come to me. I’ve even felt the fear that I’ve had an awesome idea but can I get it down perfectly on paper and that’s one of those times where I just have to buckle down and work through it. I’m a fan of time-lining as well. The way I do it is pretty simple: one long line with ‘beginning’ and ‘end’ top and tailing it, then I write lots of things that have to happen in a rough sequential order. I continually add to it as I’m writing and it really helps me know where the book is going.
PoR:  There was a lot of hinting about what characters were (vampire, daemon, witch, etc). What made you think that hinting about it was better than just revealing what they were?
CC:  I love to give readers an element of surprise so for a long time we – and Stella – don’t know what Evan is. We get hints there’s something not quite right about the elderly housekeeper… My world of witches is one with secrets and lies, half truths and suspicion. As Stella finds out the truths, so do we.
PoR:  RANDOM Question time! If you be any creature, person, magical being, etc, what would or who would you be?
CC:  Oh, this is a tough one! Being immortal would be amazing to see how the world changes but that would probably also bring a lot of sadness and grief… Hmm, you know, I’d probably be a witch. Magic could be a lot of fun!
PoR:  Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
CC:  If you’re looking for a book where the heroine isn’t a kick-ass knife-wielding heroine, but one who is nevertheless determined to be in charge of her in life while making sense of the secretive world of magic revealed to her, Illicit Magic is for you!
Thanks so much, Cana, for hosting me on this leg of my blog tour.


More than three hundred years after the most terrifying witch hunts the world has ever known, it's happening again. 

Young witch, Stella, has to put her faith in strangers just to stay alive but she might not be any safer in their midst than from the danger she is running from. 

There is more than one dark secret in her new family: √Čtoile’s sister is spoken of in fear and sadness; Marc is supposed to be a powerful witch but is missing his magic; where does the owner of their safe house vanish to every day and why does Evan have the eyes of someone not quite human? There is only one secret that someone will do anything to keep quiet, but whose secret is it and will Stella have to pay the price for silence? 

Amazon UK Top 10 contemporary fantasy bestseller
Amazon US Top 45 fantasy bestseller
Amazon US Top 50 contemporary fantasy bestseller


Sharp, murmured voices passed me on the wind. I couldn’t make out what they were saying but there was the sound of confusion and dissent; then a barked order calmed them. I caught the sole word “silence” from a low voice as it hissed past me. The footsteps shuffled and stamped again but no one uttered a word. It was like they were all listening for me. I felt like a fox, terrified and cornered, knowing that the beagles were just behind me, waiting to catch my scent.
Above me I could just see the first quarter of the moon breaking in the sky, casting a dim glow over the city. My jacket was a dark padded cord, good for blending in with both the hedge and low light. My breath was catching like little puffs of cloud in the air so I pulled up my cheap, striped scarf and covered my mouth to keep the plumes from straying to where they could be seen.
Without moving the rest of my body, I strained my head towards my pursuers, the scarf tightening about my neck until I tugged it loose again. I tried to count how many footsteps I could hear as they shuffled, fanned out and regrouped.
With only my pounding heartbeat for company I waited for what seemed like eternity. I tried to count Mississippi’s to gauge the time but my mind stumbled over the count and I threw the thought away. I waited for seconds, minutes, hours for them to rush past me, or at least turn and stamp a different way, hoping miserably that they really hadn’t seen me dart into this street.
Finally I couldn’t hear a thing but the blood rushing in my ears. Had I made it up? Was I really paranoid enough to think someone would bother following me? Probably. Possibly. It wasn’t the first time I’d been extra cautious, but it was the first time since the news has been full of murder. I shivered and tried to shake away the icy fear.
Edging my way across the privet, the leather of my long boots brushing against each other as I sidestepped, my toes scuffed against the scrub of garden. Fronds of hedge needled my back through my winter coat as I brushed by and fresh drops of dew slid uncomfortably past my scarf and inside my collar.
With my mouth set in a firm, grim line, clamped so tightly shut I was close to grinding my teeth, I poked my head forward, mere millimetres from the hedge but enough to see a gloved hand shoot towards me and grab my coat, the fingers clawing at my shoulder to snatch a handful of material and drag me into the open. A gasp escaped me. How had they gotten so close without me realising? Another hand, yellowed at the fingertips and reeking of tobacco, reached for my neck.
A gruff male voice snarled, “Gotcha!”
I shrieked and my whole body went rigid as I closed my eyes tightly. The air went thick and heavy around me, the cold momentarily disappeared and the blood in my veins surged as electricity crackled through my body. For the merest second all the low light and dull sounds of the city disappeared as the power rushing through me overwhelmed and took possession of me.
With the hand at my neck and the fear pumping alongside the electricity, I thought I would die in this moment, but when I opened my eyes again I was on the other side of the street, looking at my attacker grasping at the air where a second ago my neck had been. I saw his fist punch savagely through the air where my jaw should have been. If I had still been there, he would have smashed it for sure.
I felt dizzy and willed myself not to faint. The last of the shriek ebbed in my throat as I realised that I had barely focused on the task but had ended up exactly where I thought I should be when I’d glimpsed that section of empty street. Perhaps my strange gift (I never could decide what I should call it) only worked properly when I was terrified. Moving through space wasn’t something I had even been able to control before. And right now, I wasn’t afraid to admit that I was absolutely, gut-wrenchingly, terrified.


Hi, I'm Camilla and I'm the author of the Stella Mayweather Series, an urban fantasy/mystery. The series starts with Illicit Magic and a lonely young woman, Stella, who has been caught up in a terrifying witch hunt and is whisked thousands of miles away to what she thinks is safety to learn her craft. The series is a blend of magic, mystery and romance with a splash of humour - and while the girls really do go all out to save themselves, there's always a hunky guy or two on hand to help them out. The series continues with Unruly Magic and Devious Magic, both out now.

I live in London, England, but I try to travel as often as I can – I’ve been all over the US and Europe. In my day job I'm a journalist and editor so I write for magazines, newspapers and websites throughout the world (my favourite assignment was spending a week riding rollercoasters - if you listen carefully you can probably still hear me screaming) but writing fiction has always been my first love.

Web links:

Twitter: @camillawrites


My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So I thought this book was good.  It had some of my favorite things: Magic, cute mysterious man, and the discovery of one's self.  

Stella is an interesting character.  I must admit, that at first I found her dull and a bit whiny about how her life is going.  It wasn’t till she got to the safe house that I actually started to like her.  I think that was because she finally started to show some actual likeable characteristics, plus she wasn’t so whiny about what was going in her life.

Evan… Hmmm, what to say?  Honestly, I think he was the best character in the book. I think that he was a bit of a hardass that finally realized that he needed a good woman to snap him out of it.  I loved how he kind of courted her without the pressure of getting into bed.  I do want to know what happened to him… Better be answered in the next book! 

The only thing that I really hated in the book:  the ending.  What the hell?!?!?!?  To me it wasn’t a great ending.  It was like Stella had just given up and was hiding without any real reason.  It was kind of like the story had just run out of steam.  And why couldn’t Stella just have stayed on the stairs watching and waiting?

Overall, this was a good book.  There are some definitely predictable points that, while I was surprised by the who, I wasn’t surprised that it was what actually happened.  I loved that Stella was in London (I'm an Anglophile, so that made me happy).  As I said, I do think this is a good book for the fun of it, and I do recommend it.  I'm looking forward to reading some of this series, and other books by Ms. Chafer's books.  

Happy Reading!


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