TTS: The Top Shelf would like to welcome Kiki Howell to the blog. She has written an amazing book called Hidden Salem. I would have to put it on my top ten list of favorite witch novels. Tell our readers a little about yourself and Hidden Salem. How did the idea for this book come about?
Kiki: I had this undeniable urge to visit Salem, MA. Something told me that if I went, I would be inspired to write a story. I know that is little to go on, but I just had to go. I can’t explain the undeniable urge. Luckily I had family willing to help me, so I went, and within ten minutes of getting to the city, the story started to play out for me.
TTS: I like to ask this question of every author I interview because I find character creation interesting. How did you name your characters and did you shape them after people you know in real life?
Kiki: The name of my main character, Makayla, is the name I always thought I would name may daughter, but since I was blessed with two boys, I kind of saved the name for one of my novels, and this one felt right. The rest of the names just kind of came to me, my idea of the personality I was creating, that is except for Lauri. I met a witch in Salem, Lori Bruno, and though we only spoke once for a short time, she inspired the character I created in my imagination. Think I should tell her?
TTS: Were there ever moments where the story didn’t go the way you planned or personally wanted it to go? How did you deal with that?
Kiki: Once it got home, the story practically wrote itself, but I did have one chapter that gave me issues. It was re-written several times even throughout the editing process once it was accepted for publication.
TTS: This month we’re doing what we call Rocktober. It’s where we bring attention to books with music involved and just celebrate how music influences books. Was there a playlist or a certain set of songs you listened to ( maybe on loop ) while writing Hidden Salem?
Kiki: Not that inspired the story. I tend to listen to Hemi-Sync music when I’m writing.
TTS: I read on your site that your husband is a musician and that he wrote a song for you when the novel was contracted. Did he totally surprise you with it or was this something you knew he was doing?
Kiki: He completely surprised me with it. It was an odd few days. We were on our way home from a family vacation with our boys when I got the call that my grandmother had passed away. I got home, unpacked and repacked, was going to walk out the door in an hour to go back to my hometown for the funeral when I got the call that Hidden Salem had been accepted. When I got back from the funeral a few days later, he had written me the song. You can listen to it here: A Little Light
TTS: Lastly, it’s the spooky month so I have to ask a Halloween related question. What are your top ten Halloween reads?
Kiki: Hmm, that is actually a hard question. Though I read a lot of paranormal stories all year long, I am more a movie watcher come October. I mean I have my favorites, but just randomly watch the scary movies. So, what if I give you a top list of paranormal books I’ve read? These are in no specific order, just off the top of my head what comes to me is: Teresa Medeiros, Cabot Series: After Midnight and The Vampire Who Loved Me; Denise Lynn, Dragon’s Lair; Any by Annette Blair, Hannah Howell or Heather Graham; Several Series by Nora Roberts like the Three Sisters Island Trilogy or the Key Trilogy or the Sign of Seven Series; the Fyne Witches Series by Linda Winstead Jones,: The Sun Witch, The Moon Witch, and The Star Witch… okay, was that ten? Sorry, got carried away and forgot to count! LOL
TTS: Thank you for joining us Kiki! It was great having you and I would love to have you back sometime!
Ever since she was young, Kiki Howell has loved to listen to a well-woven tale with real characters, inspired plots, and delightful resolutions. Kiki could spend hours lost in a book, and soon she knew that creating lives, loves, and losses with just words had to be the greatest thing that she could do. To that end, she pursued her study of literature and writing, earning a bachelor’s degree in English. She then followed in a Master’s program in Creative Writing.
She has now had over twenty stories published between seven different small presses. She could not be more thrilled or grateful to see her creations polished and out in the real world. In May, 2011, Kiki was chosen as an Ohioana Book Festival author for her novel, Torn Asunder. Although, a bit of caution, most of her stories tend to hang out on the graphically sexy side of town.
and I’ve found a new love http://pinterest.com/kikiahowell/#
Synopsis: Intuition alone brought Makayla to Salem, Ma in search of a story, but her research has her confronting more than she bargained for. With her empathic gifts stronger in Witch City, she physically suffers, landing her literally unconscious in the arms of both Noah Ayers, local cop and Dylan Baines, local history teacher. Yet, it is Lauri, a witch who owns a local shop, who teaches Makayla about who she is and what she can do.
Unfortunately for all of them, Makayla also stumbles upon a coven in the woods practicing a dark magic ritual. Now they are after her, threatening her life and the lives of those she has quickly come to care about. Immersed in things she never expected, like an old legend and necromancy due to residual hauntings, the race is on to stay safe from the coven and protect her heart from a certain sexy cop.
But, is Lauri correct in thinking Makayla might just have encountered the only real witch in Salem in 1692? And, do they share the same bloodline?
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romantic Suspense
“Richly vivid and captivatingly engrossing, Hidden Salem is a mesmerizing tale that blends an eerie historical past with a rather terrifying present. Kiki Howell brings the fascination of the witches of Salem – both past and present – to a brilliant level, adding liberal doses of sensuous love, suspense and murder to provide a hard-to-put-down, provocative and memorable story that you don’t want to miss.” ~ April Pohren, Cafe of Dreams Book Reviews
“Kiki Howell spins a tale that will bewitch your heart and leave you wanting more.” ~ Misty Rayburn – Top Shelf Book Reviews
” I really enjoyed reading Hidden Salem. You see a lot of books about the Salem Witch Hunt. This one is really different and I just really loved the characters and how they interact with each other. I enjoyed this paranormal. Had the right amount of suspense and love interest. “ ~Crystal, Romancing the Book