On this week’s First Five Chapters, Luke Kerr is joined by best selling author Bianca Marais to discuss her new book The Witches of Moonshyne Manor.
She is the co-host of the writing craft podcast The Shit No One Tells You About Writing, teaches creative writing and has authored Hum If You Don’t Know the Words and If You Want to Make God Laugh as well as the Audible Original The Prynne Viper.
With what can be described as a magical dash of Golden Girls, a twist of Steel Magnolias and a sprinkle of Sex Outside the City, The Witches of Moonshyne Manor follows a sisterhood of older witches whose manor and distillery are threatened by townsmen. What will happen when their long-absent coven member, Ruby, returns and can a feisty TikToker, Persephone, help them save their home?
On writing craft,
Bianca shares what she believes to be the most important element to hooking readers and the importance of “curiosity seeds.”
As a long-time listener of The Shit No One Tells You About Writing, Luke was curious to see whether Bianca included a prologue in The Witches of Moonshyne Manor. She doesn’t, but she figured out a clever way to introduce readers to her characters before Chapter 1.
Why did Bianca choose to use a tarot deck to give readers additional details about each witch in Chapter 1 before focusing individually on each witch in the following chapters?
How did Bianca ensure that each member of the sisterhood had equal stakes?
She shares the most important character element for writers to include to ensure readers connect with their characters.
On empowering future authors,
Bianca shares how her passion for helping writers led to The Shit No One Tells You About Writing podcast. Family and friends are supposed to say nice things about a writers work, but sometimes an author needs to clear-eyed feedback to help them identify areas for opportunity to grow as a writer. That is what she and co-hosts CeCe Lyra and Carly Watters do through their kind, but honest feedback on submitted queries.
Find out how a personal connection led to her running the Eunice Ngogodo Own Voices Initiative. The organization empowers Black women in Africa to write their own stories while fundraising to help aid grandmothers in Soweto with caring for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.