Spotlight & Giveaway: The Midnight Witch by Paula Brackston

Posted March 19th, 2014 by in Blog, Spotlight / 46 comments

Today it is my pleasure to welcome New York Times bestselling author Paula Brackston to HJ!


Hi Paula, welcome 🙂

What would you say are the defining characteristic of your novels?

Paula BrackstonThey all have strong female leads, powerful historical settings, plenty of drama, and magic, of course!

5 best things about being a writer?

Getting to create characters and tell stories. Exploring different eras in history. Learning about the subjects of my books, ie different kinds of magic. Getting enthusiastic feedback from readers. Working from home.

Let’s talk about your newest release: THE MIDNIGHT WITCH

If you had to summarize the book for the readers here…

TMWThe Midnight Witch is set in London in 1913 and follows the fortunes of Lady Lilith Montgomery, daughter of the sixth Duke of Radnor, and heiress to the title of Head Witch of the Lazarus Coven. The coven is under threat from an ancient order of sorcerers called The Sentinels, and it is up to Lilith to protect her fellow witches and the Great Secret that they hold. When she falls in love with a penniless artist, Bram Cardale, everything changes. If she allows herself to love him she must tell him the truth about herself, but to do so risks everything.

Please tell us about the characters in your book

Lilith is beautiful and wealthy, but she has very little freedom. She has been brought up to put duty first – duty to the coven and to her family – which leaves little room for her to follow her heart. Bram is a passionate young artist trying to make his mark, but when he falls for Lilith he enters a world beyond his understanding.

What scene did you most enjoy writing? Why?

I really got a kick out of writing Lilith’s inauguration. The ceremony where she became Head Witch had to be special, and I enjoyed immersing myself in the world of the coven. By making something unexpected and dramatic happen at such an important moment for Lilith, we get to see how she acts in a crisis, and how resourceful she is.

‘Hear me, Demon!’ I call once more, cracking the rope again, and again, and again. The witches continue their chanting, louder and stronger. I pace around the wax circle, calling to the demon, lashing the floor with the silver rope, my eyes fixed on the center of the wax loop. At last the colors within it, the painted images, begin to shiver and shift, and then to blur. They appear to melt, leaking into one another until there is nothing but a gray brown miasma. And through it something – something dark, and oily, and terrible – begins to emerge. One three-fingered hand, sharp with talons, shoots up from the abyss. Then another. The chanting in the room falters. There is a powerful stench of burning, and of some acrid substance that stings throats and causes eyes to smart. The creature continues to claw its way up from the depths, writhing and struggling as it does so. At the sight of its hairless, bulbous head most of the chanting ceases and several witches cry out in horror. I am transfixed by the slimy shape that is making its painful way from the Darkness. It’s happening! Dear Spirits, I called a demon and one has come!

What scene was the hardest to write? Why?

This could be read two ways. There were scenes that were very emotional, perhaps harrowing or heartbreaking for the characters, and these do leave the writer somewhat wrung out. Then there are the more mundane scenes that just won’t come right. You have to plod away at them and rewrite and rewrite until they start to take proper shape. There are always some of the first type and many of the second type in every book!

Who would you cast in the role of your characters if your book were optioned for a movie?

Ah a movie! How wonderful that would be. I think Anne Hathaway would make a fabulous Lilith. And how about Chris Hemsworth for Bram?

If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be and why?

Oh, that’s an interesting question! I think I’d tell Lilith not to be so hard on herself. She has a lot of weight on her young shoulders, and has to make some very difficult choices. I think I would tell Bram to have more faith in himself. He questions his talent and he doubts he is good enough for Lilith. This holds him back, so I’d like to shout ‘Go for it, Bram, you can do it!’

What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned in 2014?

I’m just finishing my fourth witchy book. It is set in tenth century Wales, and has a witch unlike any I have written before. I also currently have a novel available (for free!) on Wattpad, so readers might like to take a look at that.

Where can readers get in touch with you?

My website is, and I have a facebook page.


To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and post a comment to this Q: I have a question for readers. If you had the ability to talk to the dead, who would you call, and what would you ask them?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


And here is a little excerpt of The Midnight Witch. This is near the beginning of the book. Lilith is in her bedroom in her London house. Iago is her adored cat.

I feel a small shiver of excitement as I step over to the far wall and slide the little oil painting to one side to reveal the safe. I close my eyes and let my fingers spin the lock, muttering the words that release the combination that guards the precious items within. There is a faint clicking sound and the door springs open. Reaching in to take out the antique green leather case I find myself revived at the very thought of holding the wonderful stones in my hands. I settle at my dressing table and open the box. The Montgomery diamonds have been in the family for generations, and are famous even abroad. My mother wore them when she was first married to my father, but has always considered them too ostentatious. It was Father who suggested they be given to me on my eighteenth birthday. Mama was aghast at the idea to begin with, questioning how an unmarried woman could possibly wear such a necklace in public. But dear Papa, knowing the deeper significance of the gems to us – to me – insisted. He also insisted I be permitted to wear them when I came out into society, and so I have done, at many grand balls. Each time I feel the cool diamonds against my skin I sense a connection with my ancestors. Not merely the aristocratic family of the Dukedom of Radnor, but my coven family. For the stones are a central part of the Lazarus Coven, as without them, the Elixir would be powerless. I cannot resist touching them. Their magic is strong. The low light of the bedroom is still sufficient to make them flash blue and green. They are in an unusual arrangement, linked together as if they were a cascading waterfall of ice, each diamond set into a fine holding of pure white platinum, hard and bright. As always, proximity to the stones revives me. Iago, who has little time for the importance of such things, jumps up onto my lap, purring loudly, putting himself firmly and furrily between myself and the object of my interest. The clock chimes the hour.

46 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: The Midnight Witch by Paula Brackston”

  1. Christine L.

    I’d call all four of my grandparents, three of whom I never met. I’d ask questions about our family history that only they would be able to answer.

  2. Monique D

    Fyodor Dostoyevsy. Talk to him or just listen to him talking about the human condition I guess. He was incredible.

  3. robin the book nerd

    Gosh I don’t know maybe Jane Austin.Let her know that her books were loved by millions.

  4. Barbara Hopkins

    I would want to talk to my dad, he was my world. I was going to be 25 in just two weeks when I got the call. After he died I was so lost, I still think of my dad everyday, even after 25+ years. What would I ask, I would ask what the other side was like, and I would tell him I miss him more each day of my life. B

  5. Cari White

    My grandparents! Both sets. I’d ask them to tell me about their lives, what was happening in history and how they experienced it? What are the great learnings they could teach their grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.

  6. Stephanie Fredrick

    I would like to talk to all my past relatives to learn about my family history and ancestry. I’d also love to talk to some of the greatest writers and scientists of the past. It would be amazing to learn what influenced them and what they would think of modern times.

  7. Nicole Potter

    Who would I call…hm…

    I think I’d like to call both my grandmothers and my aunt. Ask them how they’re doing, and if I’m making them proud. (And also how they made their food so good – their recipe’s just don’t taste the same without them!)

    I’d also like to talk to some famous artists, like Davinci and Peter Paul Rubens! Learn from them and how they worked 🙂

  8. Kai W.

    I want to to talk to my Father and my cousin. I still wonder if they have crossed over. My father was seen by my two neighbors after he has passed away. And my cousin, his brother and his friend heard someone in the house in gargled speech.

  9. KateS

    My grandparents. They all passed while I was a child and I’d love to know more about their lives.. And my mom because she always had such good advice.

  10. Margaret

    I’d talk to my grandmother and find out all the gossip on everyone else who has passed!

  11. anovelreview1

    Oh that is easy! My mom! She’s been gone for almost twelve years and I miss her so badly. We were super close. I hate that she isn’t here and she wasn’t here for my brother or my sister’s weddings (or met their partners). She didn’t get to see all of her grandchildren…I’d want to know if she is watching us, does she see us…is she proud of us. Ok off to cry 🙁

  12. Diana Huffer

    There are three people I would call: my Mom and Dad and my niece. I would ask them if they are ok and happy. I would also want to let them know how much I miss them and that I love them (which I’m sure they already know 😉 ).

  13. Janet K

    It would be my grandfathers, both who died when I was first born. I asked about their lives & info I don’t have about our family histories.

  14. Jana Leah

    I’d ask my mom’s dad about his life. He died before I was born. Thanks for the giveaway.

  15. Kelly C

    I’d call my maternal grandmother who passed when I was very young. I’d tell her how much she meant to me.

  16. Mel

    I would call my grandpa and grandma from my mom side. I don’t know what to ask them but I would love to spend time with them. They passed when I was very young.

  17. Krysten M

    My grandparents (both sides). Never got to meet 3/4 of them and I miss the one I did actually know

  18. Empressa Rachel

    I would call Elizabeth I and Thomas Jefferson to ask what they would do about the events troubling this world. And I would also call on my grandmother to have a great conversation.

  19. inspiringinsomnia11

    I would call Galileo to let him know that he was right. I’d also love to hear his thoughts on all of the discoveries made about the universe since his death.

  20. ScarletAries

    I’d talk to my Grandma A or Grandpa P and learn more about what they believed, thought and so much more.

  21. Bonnie K.

    I’d like to call my paternal grandparents. I would just want to check in with them to know that they are happy and if they have any advice for any of us here on earth.

Please leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.