Rachel Griffin on nature, magic and her debut YA novel, The Nature of Witches
"The Nature of Witches is, simply put, a love letter to the Earth."
This post was written by Rachel Griffin, author of The Nature of Witches.
I was eleven years old when the movie Twister was released in theaters. I remember sitting up straight in the cushy red seat, watching with equal parts amazement and terror as tornado after tornado roared across the theater screen. I was completely fascinated by the weather, an interest that has only grown stronger as I’ve aged.
But the weather doesn’t have to be extreme in order to be powerful. Think of the way an unexpected rain in the middle of summer feels like magic, or the way the dense morning fog can turn a mundane walk into something unforgettable. Much like music can intensify our reactions to a scene in a movie, so can the weather deepen our lived experiences.
So many of my most cherished memories are accompanied by the state of the world around me: the clear skies on my wedding day, even though rain had been forecast all week; the sudden downpour as I walked along the Cliffs of Moher; the thunderstorm that lit up the night sky after a particularly long day of travel.
View this post on Instagram
Then I think of the 2017 total solar eclipse, an experience that quite literally changed my life. My husband has a pilot’s license, and he flew us down to the path of totality, where we watched the eclipse from 17,000 feet. At that time, I was drafting a novel that held much of my adoration for the natural world, and when I got home, I immediately got to work on incorporating a total solar eclipse into the book. When I finished, the eclipse had become a major subplot in the novel. I dove even deeper into research and became a certified weather spotter for the National Weather Service as I continued to work on the book. I had been pursuing publication for a long time and had written two other manuscripts prior to that one, but it was the story with eclipses and auroras and heat waves that went on to get me my literary agent, and from there, went on to sell.
The Nature of Witches is, simply put, a love letter to the Earth. It holds all of the awe and gratitude and wonder I feel for the world around me. It shows how thunderstorms turn into tornadoes and how a perfectly chosen wildflower can speak for us when we can’t find the words. It celebrates all the ways the Earth takes care of us, while recognizing that we need to do a better job of taking care of the Earth.
I worried that no one would want this book. That filling a story with weather and nature wouldn’t resonate, but it turns out, it does. I get messages from readers all the time sharing their own experiences with nature, and it is one of the greatest joys of my life.
View this post on Instagram
Even though my book is fiction, when I look around, I’m convinced that magic is everywhere, that it exists in the water that falls from the clouds and the wind that blows through my hair. It exists in the lightning that splits the sky and the first bloom of spring.
And while I absolutely love experiencing magic in the pages of a book or on the big screen in a theater, my favorite way to experience it will always be by stepping outside the front door.
Get your copy of The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin here.