A warm welcome to Heather Eagar, who's dropped by today to tell us about her debut YA release, Devil's Playground.
Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Winters may be a witch, but she doesn’t know the first thing about magic—unless you count accidental bouts of spontaneous combustion. Elizabeth’s father, a wizard himself, has forbidden the use of her powers for her own protection, but when accusations of witchcraft start flying through Salem Village, she wishes she was more prepared.
Despite her lack of magical knowledge, Elizabeth appoints herself to save innocent women from the demise the village has in store for them. Elizabeth finds, however, that she is not the hero Salem needs her to be.
She meant to save them. She cursed them instead.
There, amongst the yellow kernels, the corner of a large book peeks through the grain. Instead of rushing up to Mother, for she certainly needs the corn by now, I drop the bag on an old bench. Dust explodes in my face, and I use my sleeve to stifle an expected sneeze. Shaking my head, I reach into the corn and pull out a large, leather-bound book.
“What are you doing buried down here amongst our harvest?” I murmur, running my fingers down the thick spine. At first glance it doesn’t look like much; the cover has no title and no design. The only thing that makes the book remotely interesting is the iron clasp sealing it shut—only the clasp isn’t secure. It rests, slightly ajar, and with a gentle prodding, it falls open.
My fingers tremble as I nudge the book open. It all feels wrong somehow, me alone with this mysterious book. The pages seem ancient, so much so that I am afraid to turn them, certain they will crumble away. Studying the first page, I am in awe at the beautiful penmanship. If I didn’t know any better, I would say the letters are swirling, changing, before my eyes.
But that is impossible.
After staring at the page for a moment or two, I am surprised when the letters take form, and I am able to decipher several words. Kempe’s Magisches Buch für Hexerei und Zauberei. It is in German, but I have a feeling I know what kind of book this is.
“No, that is impossible,” I whisper, stepping back. “Father would never have kept such a thing.”
And yet, he has.
I ought to hide the book away—and never look at it again. Something like this can only bring trouble. Even I know that. But an invisible force draws me close once more, and I don’t have the power to resist. Even if I did have the power, I don’t have the desire. I must know what is in that book.
Gently turning to a page at random, I stare at the strange writing. As with the cover page, the letters continue to swirl, and I wait for them to arrange themselves. Unsichtbarkeit, it finally reads in bold letters. “I wish I knew German.”
And then the letters begin to change and rearrange. When they have settled once more, I am astonished at what is in front of me. Invisibility, it says. Four lines follow the title, though, and I can’t understand a word of it. It isn’t German, and certainly not English.
“Lumen transeat per me,” I sound out. My toes begin to tingle. I try not to become too excited; it could have been a coincidence. “Ut non alii videre.” The tingling sensation moves from the toes and up my legs. Blood rushes to my head, and I feel faint, but I don’t want to stop. “Lumen—”
“What is the meaning of this?” a deep voice thunders. Before I have time to react, the book is snatched from my hands, and I am looking into the furious face of Father.
I asked Heather to tell us a bit more about the book
How did you come up with the idea for Devil’s Playground?
It was actually my husband’s idea! Years ago when I was working on a different novel he said, “Hey, why don’t you do a story about an actual witch who lives in Salem during the witch trials.” I thought it was the best idea EVER and took it from there. It has become quite a different story than either of us envisioned, but so much better.
Do you use actual people from the trials in your story?
Yes, I do! My main characters are mostly fictional, but I use actual people from the trials as supporting characters, and also some of quotes from the trials as well.
Is Devil’s Playground a part of a series, or is it just one book?
I always intended for it to be just one book. Even as I was submitting it to agents and publishers, I didn’t want there to be a sequel. But with some invaluable feedback, my whole ending changed. And with that change, it seemed pretty clear that there was more to Elizabeth’s story. So…that was a long answer to say, it is the first book in a series. Because I never intended for there to be another book, I am still in the rough draft stage for book #2.
It's been a month since Devil's Playground was released to the world and to thank everyone for their support, Heather is doing a Reader Appreciation Giveaway! She is giving away a 24 kt Gold Overlayed necklace/earrings, as well as throwing in an Amazon Gift Card for 2.29, just for fun. Why 2.29? Because it is leap year, and she is so excited!
If you want to enter then click on this link
About the Author
Heather Eagar currently resides in Logan, Utah where she strives to balance her love of writing with raising a husband and two kids. Devil's Playground is her debut novel, but it will not be her last. She is currently working on the second book in the series. Heather is also a book reviewer and you can find reviews for Middle-grade fiction through Adult novels on her website, www.heatheraeagar.com.
Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your book, Heather!