Thursday, March 21, 2013

Author Interview: Mark Jay Harris (author of Bewitched)


Author: Mark Jay Harris


Is it love or is it witchcraft? He’ll never find out if he kills her first.

The first time Darren saw Samantha, she was floating above his high school gymnasium during a basketball game, invisible to everyone but him. Next time he sees her, she's sitting in front of him in class, wowing his friends and causing unexplainable things to happen that only he seems to notice. But things really get strange (and complicated) when his dying grandfather tells him that he is part of an ancient order, the “Pessum Ire,” whose duty is to destroy witches. What does he do now, since he’s almost positive Samantha is a witch…and he’s crushing on her pretty hard?

Published March 1st 2013.


Since this time round I was interviewing a male author, I changed my classic THIS OR THAT question from "Bad boys or nice guys" to "Betty or Veronica". Read on!


Describe your book to us in a sentence.

Love runs headlong into evil, resulting in a battle between forced fate vs. freedom of choice - Is it true love or is it witchcraft? 

What inspired you to write about witches and witch-hunters rather than, let's say, werewolves?
Such a good question! Vampires and werewolves - I see them everywhere, in books, television, movies - you can't escape them. I should add zombies to that as well. These Paranormal Regulars seem overplayed to me. Having said that, I can't deny that Vampires still strike me as a fun sandbox to play in. But, I promised myself I wouldn't write a vampire story unless I could come up with something so original and fresh that it would stand out from the myriad of vampire tales out there. Funny thing, I've gone years with nothing, and recently I did come up with a vampire story I plan on writing. I don't think it's been done from the angle I'm considering, and it might be a very interesting tale...we'll see. There's a lot to develop still.
As for BEWITCHED, a lot went through my mind before this story fully came together. I liked the idea of magic, but I didn't want to go in the same direction as HARRY POTTER. I wanted it to be darker and based in evil. I also wanted the "devil" to be where the power extended from. The idea of tying the Bible into all this (the flash back to the Witch of Endor) was also very attractive to me. But, much like werewolves and vampires, I ran the risk of writing about subject matter that has been done repeatedly, so it had to be different and fresh and could in no way seem like a HARRY POTTER re-hash.

How did you come up with "Bewitched" as the title?
It all actually started with the 1960's television show called, BEWITCHED.  I set out to write a story about what it would really be like if a guy married a real witch, where his in-laws were evil and out to kill him. From there, it morphed into a YA book where the protagonists are in high school.  At that point the idea of being "bewitched" took on a stronger role in the storyline. It became a question  of whether Darren is actually in love or under some sort of spell that is making him fall in love.  Then there is the overarching idea of free-will vs. magical compulsion, and well...after that the title just had to be BEWITCHED. I played around with several other titles: SPELLBOUND, and THE GRIMOIRE OF MOLOCH, but in the end, BEWITCHED was always my favorite option, and I'm very happy I was able to have it published with that title.

BEWITCHED is the first book of "The Thaumaturgy" series. Share with us on the role that thaumaturgy plays in your novel.
"Thaumaturgy" is a great word. I have yet to run across someone who understands it the first time they see it. It refers to "miracles," particularly in the Bible, or to any kind of magical feat. Originally, it referred to miracles performed by Saints. Later, it developed into a term that refers to magical works in general. I liked the Biblical connection and the tie-in to "evil" magic. In this first book, "Thaumaturgy" means "having to do with magic." For my own purposes I've kind of co-opted the word to refer to the name of this canon of witch-craft stories that tells us where witches came from, the part they play in the world, and where they will eventually end up.

What is one song that can best represent the central theme/relationship in BEWITCHED?
"Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" by the Police. Come to think of it, I wish I'd used that as a chapter title. Perhaps in Book 2.


Three interesting facts about yourself.
I lived in France for a year and half and am semi-fluent in French - not to imply I'm giving up on English. It remains my favorite language.
I have 5 incredible children, the oldest is learning to drive, and the youngest will soon be learning to crawl.
I proposed to my wife by writing a song, then using a keyboard and guitar sang it to her. 
Favourite book(s), genre(s), song(s) and film(s).
I love suspense and action in both books and movies. I also like fascinating back stories that mix well with action. It's vital that both plot and characters be engaging and fun. 
My favorite suspense author is Dean Koontz. He's the one who really got me started down this path of writing. WATCHERS, LIGHTNING, and STRANGERS, are all books of his I'd highly recommend.           

There's an old movie (from the 1960's) called "JACK THE GIANT KILLER." I loved that movie as a kid. It was great adventure with giants and witches, even a dragon. One day I hope to write a book based on it. I'd make a lot of changes to it, but the bones a really great story are there, particularly where adventure and romance are concerned. 
As for movies in general, I loved "THE AVENGERS," "VAN HELSING" AND "INDEPENDENCE DAY." But, it's not all about action with me. I also loved "LES MISERABLES" I can also be caught watching old classic comedies: anything with Cary Grant, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. And don't even get me started with Danny Kaye.
As for music, I'm kind of all over the map. I love the "Beatles," and just about anything was Alternative 80's. There's something extremely fun about "Bare Naked Ladies" (ha ha).  "They Might Be Giants" continues to be one of my favorite all-time bands, and when I'm in a mood, I love to listen to Michael Buble or "Cold Play".


Betty (Blonde Girl Next Door) or Veronica (Brunette Rich Girl)?
Well, they're both pretty hot....but, I'm going to have to go with Veronica. Could be the dark hair, or the cute outfits, but I'm pretty sure it's because of the almost identitcal resemblance to my wife. 

Hunger Games or Harry Potter?
I enjoyed both very much. I have to go with HARRY, however. HUNGER GAMES was well-written and very entertaining, but HARRY, well... he's the man!  Or the, wizard, as it were.

Argo or The Hobbit?
I haven't seen either one yet. I will get around to seeing them both, eventually. But, for the purposes of this interivew, I'm going to go with THE HOBBIT, mainly because I enjoyed the book so much when I was younger, and a lot of people have told me the movie was terrific! Go Bilbo!!

Thai food or Chinese food?
There's probably a lot of Thai folks out there I'm going to disappoint, but I totally love Chinese food!  (Right after Sushi, which I know is Japanese, but felt should be mentioned just the same). If I can't have Sushi, give me Orange Chicken! Yum!

Thanks for being on the blog, Mark!



  1. Wow a male YA author is pretty unusual. He sounds like a very witty guy. The plot seems really cool, though I think the book cover is a little... Weird. I think this is the best author interview yet from BTH :)

    1. Haha, methinks that the cover is kind of weird too (it wouldn't hurt to have a hotter guy on the cover, or at least shorter bangs), but it's the story within the covers that counts! I had loads of fun interviewing Mark, glad you liked it loads too ;)

  2. I'm making a little note to myself to check this one out! :) Seems interesting and Mark Jay Harris sounds like a cool guy. Great interview! :)

    Eleanor @ La p'tite bibliothèque

    1. Thanks, Eleanor :) He is really a cool guy (he likes both Les Mis AND the Beatles)-- how cool is that :D

      Thanks for dropping by!


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