Monday, August 11, 2014

Interview with Natasha Mostert- Season of the Witch

Today I'm excited to bring you another new to me author whose novel Season Of The Witch is getting rave reader and editorial reviews– here's what Kirkus had to say: Black cats, snakes, spiders, mystical signs and symbols and dangerous sex are skillfully stirred together in this brain-squeezing thriller from the South African-born author...Mostert manages it all quite impressively, concocting an intellectual puzzler that will keep the reader hooked, and guessing, until the final page.
Enjoy our short chat about the novel and learn a bit about Natasha too!
I can't wait to open my own copy.

  • ISBN-13: 9781909965096
  • Publisher: Portable Magic Ltd
  • Publication date: 1/15/2014
  • Edition description: Subsequent
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 446


Gabriel Blackstone is an unscrupulous hacker and unrepentant "remote viewer" who can't resist his ex-lover's request to look into her stepson's disappearance. His investigation leads him to a rambling Victorian home that bewitches him-as do its beautiful, enigmatic owners, the Monk sisters. The pair are solar witches, obsessed with alchemy and the Art of Memory, a practice invented by the ancient Greeks.

Natasha I first saw your book Season of the Witch on AuthorBuzz a favorite book site for me and I was instantly hooked by the premise.
Tell my readers a little about Season of the Witch.
Hi, Debbie,
SEASON OF THE WITCH is set in London and tells the story of Gabriel Blackstone, an information thief , who is asked to investigate the disappearance of a young man who was last seen in the company of two  sisters living in a mysterious house in Chelsea, London.  The sisters are solar witches and Gabriel becomes fascinated by the women and their world.  But he also comes to realize that one of them is a killer.  But which one?  And what is the secret they are so determined to protect?

This novel is about something called remote viewing which is not fantasy or fiction but in fact reality.
Tell us in a nutshell what remote viewing is and what about it made you use it in your latest novel.
“Remote viewing” is often described as telepathy, clairvoyance, second sight or “the shining.”  Remote viewers are gifted individuals who are able to use their psychic abilities to track down people or objects, often by reading the thoughts of others.
There is a good deal of scepticism about remote viewing but when I researched the topic, I was chilled to discover that a group of remote viewers had foreseen 9/11 four years before it happened.  They had posted scribbles on the Internet of planes flying into tall buildings and had written an open letter to the FBI warning that something like this was about to happen in the future.  Furthermore, the United States military once federally funded a project called PROJECT STARGATE, which trained and used remote viewers to gather intelligence information.  Notable successes included tracking down a missing Soviet plane and assisting the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA.)
I thought it would be fun to give my hero the ability to surf the thought processes of others.  But it would hardly be fair to give him such a powerful tool to play with, while my villain has only the normal five senses at her disposal.  A suspense novel requires deadly conflict.  I therefore decided that my killer would be a remote viewer herself... and that she would have some other tricks up her sleeve as well...

The first paragraph of your bio you give us a bio-parody.
"Natasha Mostert is a spectacularly brilliant, raven-haired psychic who saw her first ghost at the age of four. She likes to take midnight rides on horseback and practises levitation twice a day."
How much of this is true?
You mean besides the “spectacularly brilliant” part? :- )

Natasha it seems that the paranormal/thriller theme in Season of the Witch is more or less the norm for you.
And do you see that changing as your career grows?
My books are difficult to label and critics usually describe them as “genre busting.”  Yes, there is always a touch of the paranormal, but not paranormal in the sense that my characters can fly or suck blood or shape shift.  . I always try to find some scientific grounding as well – as in the case with the remote viewing angle in SEASON OF THE WITCH -- and my research is rigorous.  This fusion of reality and the paranormal sometimes baffles readers who pick up my novel expecting my witches to fly around on broom sticks but instead find them practicing their magic using computers and code and building elaborate memory palaces. Will this change?  Probably not.  I am too fascinated by that shadowy borderland where science and mysticism shake hands.  My sixth book, DARK PRAYER, will be released in October 2014 .  Once again, the story is rooted in reality – a girl hangs up the phone and in that moment she realizes she has lost her memory.  But as the story progresses, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary case of amnesia…

Natasha you have multiple graduate degrees in both Applied Linguistics and Lexicography.
I can see where the linguistics would help you as a novelist, but what does the Lexicography bring to the table, and what exactly is it?
Lexicographers write dictionaries!  Difficult for me to believe now, but at one point in my life this is what I wanted to do for a living.  I love words and I thought it would be wonderful to spend my days puzzling over their meaning.  But I am very happy this career path did not work out for me.  I think there is such a thing as word overdose!  After all, even the great dictionary maker, Samuel Johnson, called lexicographers “harmless drudges” – not exactly a glamorous description of the craft.

 Natasha youre also an avid kickboxer and are involved in the CPAU Fighting for Peace Project.
What exactly is this?
Is it worldwide?
How can a person participate?
Fighting for Peace is a NGO program in Afghanistan, which is teaching Afghan women how to box and feel empowered in their lives.  The girls are not only taught boxing skills but are also educated in conflict resolution techniques.  I first became aware of the program when I was doing research for my martial arts thriller, THE KEEPER.  I was so touched by its aims that I donated to the girls the price money I received when SEASON OF THE WITCH won the World Book Day Award and I also contributed a percentage of the earnings I received for KEEPER.
If your readers would like to know more about this program, they should follow these links.  The first is to the BBC article, which first inspired me and the second is to the CPAU website itself.

Natasha youre still widening your writing horizon by expanding into screenwriting.
Will this be for the big or little screen?
Will we in the US see it?
Can you tell us what you
re working on?
Three years ago I made a bit of a detour career wise when I was asked to write my first screenplay .  Sadly, this project has since been shelved but I learnt a great deal from the experience.  Furthermore, because I sold a script in Hollywood, I was allowed to become a member of the WGAW.(Writers Guild of America West.) 

Last year I was commissioned to write another script.  Unfortunately screenwriters are never allowed to talk about the projects they work on until given the green light by the studio or producers.  This usually only happens once the project goes into production and we’re still some way off.  But what I can say is that I was asked to adapt a New York Times best-selling novel for the big screen.  It is a wonderful book and a real privilege to be asked to bring the story to cinema audiences.  But it is also tremendously challenging.  I do not want to alienate the book’s fans and I am desperate to do justice to the novel and not to disappoint the author.  But the book is more than 400 pages long and a screenplay is never more than a 120 pages.  So I am having to cut and compress quite a bit .and it makes me very, very nervous!

Natasha you are a South African native (my second SA author to be acquainted with) currently living in London.
What do you miss most about your home country?
Do you go back often?
I do miss it.  I miss the sun, the people and the incredible beauty of the place.  I still own a house in the Cape and my Mum lives in it and looks after it for me.  My husband too, has relatives living in South Africa.  We go for Easter every year and I spend most of December and January down there.  These two months are high summer in South Africa and it is wonderful to escape the damp and cold of London and head down south to the ocean and the Cape vineyards!.

 Natasha you are working on your next novel, Dark Prayer.
When will it be coming out?
Will it hit the UK shelves before the US.
DARK PRAYER launches worldwide in October 2014 in all three formats – hardback, paperback and ebook.  If your readers would like to know more about the story and read the first two chapters for free, please direct them to:
And if they’d like to be notified of contests and give-aways, they may want to sign up to my Facebook page.  This is where I like to hang out and shoot the breeze.

Natasha thank you so much for taking the time to let us get to know you a bit better.
Good luck with you present and future works!!
Thanks very much, Debbie!  I had fun!  And I very much appreciate your interest.

Connect with Natasha - Website - Facebook

photo by David Dettmann
Natasha Mostert is the author of four novels, The Midnight Side, The Other Side of Silence, and Windwalker, and Season of the Witch. Educated in South Africa and at Columbia University, New York, Mostert holds graduate degrees in lexicography and applied linguistics and bachelors in Modern Languages majoring in Afrikaans, Dutch, English and German. Her political opinion pieces have appeared on the op-ed page of The New York Times, inNewsweekThe Independent and The Times (London). She lives in London.

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  1. This one sounds so intriguing and after reading the interview, it makes me want to read it all that much more.

    1. Hey Kindlemom, I know what you mean I saw this and was, well bewitched :)

  2. As always, you bring us such interesting and insightful interviews that make want to give the books a shot. The story in this one has me very curious.
    Thank you Debbie :)

    1. Thank You Loupe unfortunately it's not in audio yet, fingers crossed X

  3. I love the settings and sound of the plot in this tale Debbie. As always thanks for sharing your informative interview!

  4. OOo I've read about remote viewing before. Very interesting. Thanks for the heads up on this one Debbie! Sounds pretty exciting!

    1. Thanks for the comment Anna I never heard of it before