Blog Tour: How To Catch A Witch by Abie Longstaff!


It’s an absolute pleasure to be the next stop in the How to Catch a Witch blog tour and today I have a wonderful guest post by Abie herself. So without further ado, here is Abie telling us a little about the inspiration behind the story.

I have a strong memory of the early years of secondary school. There’s something about that age that sticks in my mind – how awkward and weird you feel, how unsure of yourself and your place in the world. In my case, it didn’t help that by Year 8, I’d been to six different schools. That’s six different sets of friends to make, six different new rules, six different sets of teachers.


(Me at primary school, looking VERY keen)

Something happened a couple of years ago which made all those feelings of weirdness flood back – I moved to Hove and my son had to change schools, starting Year 8 in the middle of the year. Then, just before his first day, he broke his wrist and had to carry his stuff way round a new school with only one hand and no old friends to help.

It made me remember what it was like, settling into a new school, knowing no one and trying to find my way around. Then a character walked into my head – a girl who is having trouble settling in, who feels weird and out of sorts.

Of course, being a fantasy writer, my mind immediately turned to all kinds of craziness. Who was this girl? Why did she feel so weird? Was she keeping a secret?

I’ve always loved ‘out of place’ books – books like Liz Kessler’s Emily Windsnap series about a girl who becomes a mermaid, or Paula Harrison’s Red Moon Rising, about a fairy girl. I knew I wanted to write about that feeling of awkwardness from a fantastical angle.

I decided my character would be sensible and logical, brave and resourceful (like a fairy tale heroine) and that, to solve all her problems, she would set out to catch a witch. So she makes a list:

  1. Buy giant net
  2. Get a stepmother
  3. Go to Narnia
  4. Find a radish patch
  5. Attend a Christening
  6. Find a gingerbread cottage

She’s got a plan. It’s all under control. Only – of course – it doesn’t quite all work out the way she hopes. It’s not long before Charlie is caught up in an adventure involving a curse, a beautiful girl and a bad-tempered old lady.

And she really will have to work out her place in the world, what she believes in and how much of herself she is willing to risk.

After all, as she’s about to learn …

…‘weird is just another word for special’.

I’d like to say a massive thanks to Abie for being on my blog and keep an eye out for my review of How to Catch a Witch coming up on the blog soon. It’s a cracking read!

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