The Literary Vixen presents…
Joining us today is Dr. Maria DeBlassie! Her novel, .
What inspired you to start writing?
I love everyday life, corny as it sounds. The magic of a Monday, the quiet bliss of an afternoon cup of tea, the illicit joy of reading late into the night…these are the simple pleasures that make life wonderful. It’s easy to overlook them, get swept up in our to-do lists, but when we pause and take in the beauty around us, we remember to be more than that to-do list. We glean wisdom in the whispering trees and the synchronous happenings that punctuate our day. We remember to dream. And that kind of ordinary joy is pure magic.
I’m also inspired by the ordinary gothic we encounter regularly, from the vague sense of unease, the uncanny experience, the brush with the supernatural…It happens more than people think and it’s always right in front of us, in our day-in, day-out. So my writing came out of this desire to capture the enchantments and strangeness of daily life. When we learn to see our lives through this mystical lens, the world suddenly gets much more interesting. Or rather, it was always that interesting—we’re just learning how to see it that way!
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
It’s a silly thing, but I can’t really write unless I know my house is clean, the kettle is whistling, and me and my familiar, Smoke, have had a chance to read the tarot. It’s like I need that ritual to settle my mind and get ready for the realm of stories long before I sit at my writing desk.
How do you deal with the emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?
Writing has always been a form of conjuring for me. I write to heal myself. I write to imagine better ways of being in the world. I write to conjure the kind of life I want to live. So my stories always impact me emotionally—sometimes it’s pure enjoyment in getting an idea out on the page or inspiration in seeing a plot point come together. Sometimes they give me nightmares…which usually end up inspiring my gothic tales. I like to let these feelings wash over me, know that they are part of the process of storytelling and healing. After all, if I don’t feel the ups and downs of a story, if I’m not deeply emotionally invested in how things will turn out, I can’t expect my readers to be!
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have written a few books now, starting in creative non-fiction. My first book, Everyday Enchantments: Musings on Ordinary Magic & Daily Conjurings, has a special place in my heart because it allowed me to find my voice as a writer and bruja. Practically Pagan – An Alternative Guide to Magical Living came out of that book as did my fiction. Hungry Business: A Gothic Story about the Horrors of Dating is the first fiction piece I published and the one that gave me the confidence to keep writing stories. Weep, Woman, Weep: A Gothic Fairytale about Ancestral Hauntings helped me work through my own complicated feelings towards my mestiza background and my testy relationship with La Llorona.
What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
Too many to name! I grew up reading the gothic classics like the John Silence series, as well as creepy fairytales, and authors like Teri Windling and Tolkien. I think they set me on the path to writing the sort of gothic fairytales and magical realism that I write today. I also love old pulp books and bodice rippers, mostly for their covers, so they always find their way into my stories!
Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?
I love it when I hear from my readers! Many of them reach out to tell me how my books have helped them work through things in their own life, from finding mystic in the mundane, to their journey into the pagan or witchy worlds, to dealing with their own ancestral hauntings and healing journeys. It’s wonderful to know that I am not alone in looking to stories to heal myself.
What book is currently on your bedside table?
Well, it’s Halloween season, so I’m all about the scary stories and gothic romances right now. I’m enjoying G.V. Pearce’s Ghost Story, The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor written by Shaenon K. Garrity and illustrated by Christopher Baldwin. I’m also reading K.J. Charles’s Band Sinister, which is a delightful queer historical romance with a fun gothic novel subplot.
What gave you that push to press the publish button?
I had a moment before I committed to publishing where I was afraid to have my books out in the world—it’s a little scary putting your ideas and imaginings out there like that. But I knew that my books had real medicine in them and that they would find the right people who needed them. That’s what made me finally publish my books and I haven’t looked back since.
What advice would you give to other authors?
Keep writing. Find your creative community. Enjoy the process of learning as you go—its fun and liberating once you silence that inner editor and allow yourself the freedom to explore the wonderful writing world.
What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?
All my books, in one way or another, are about facing the darkness in order to see the light. They’re about hope and healing and more than a little magic!
Thank you Dr. Maria DeBlassie for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her newest release, Weep, Woman, Weep today!
A compelling gothic fairytale by bruja and award-winning writer Maria DeBlassie.
The women of Sueño, New Mexico don’t know how to live a life without sorrows. That’s La Llorona’s doing. She roams the waterways looking for the next generation of girls to baptize, filling them with more tears than any woman should have to hold. And there’s not much they can do about the Weeping Woman except to avoid walking along the riverbank at night and to try to keep their sadness in check. That’s what attracts her to them: the pain and heartache that gets passed down from one generation of women to the next.
Mercy knows this, probably better than anyone. She lost her best friend to La Llorona and almost found a watery grave herself. But she survived. Only she didn’t come back quite right and she knows La Llorona won’t be satisfied until she drags the one soul that got away back to the bottom of the river.
In a battle for her life, Mercy fights to break the chains of generational trauma and reclaim her soul free from ancestral hauntings by turning to the only things that she knows can save her: plant medicine, pulp books, and the promise of a love so strong not even La Llorona can stop it from happening. What unfolds is a stunning tale of one woman’s journey into magic, healing, and rebirth.
CW: assault, domestic violence, racism, colorism.
Dr. Maria DeBlassie is a native New Mexican mestiza and award-winning writer and educator living in the Land of Enchantment. She writes about everyday magic, ordinary gothic, and all things witchy. When she is not practicing brujeria, she’s teaching classes about bodice rippers, modern mystics, and things that go bump in the night. She is forever looking for magic in her life and somehow always finding more than she thought was there.