Author: SUZY WITTEN
Page count: 456
Genre: HISTORICAL FICTION
Price: Paperback: $18.95, Kindle and eBook: $9.99
Suzy Witten’s career spans over twenty years within the entertainment industry: as a filmmaker, screenwriter, story analyst, and editor for both film and television. She has also taught meditation. Currently, she works as a writer and researcher during disasters for FEMA (United States Federal Emergency Management Agency) Public Affairs. She resides in Los Angeles. The Afflicted Girls is her first novel. (The Author was a Walt Disney Studios Fellowship Finalist for this story.)
Tell us about your book:
Something terrible happened in Salem Village in 1692 . . . but it isn’t what you think!
In this historical debut novel, author Suzy Witten offers a brand new theory of the Salem Witch-hunt, revealing an unknown “missing link” in the chain of events, certain to rewrite American history and put this 300-year-old unsettled mystery to rest.
She says she considers herself lucky historians missed this “smoking gun” uncovered while she was researching the Salem historical record. Centering her story on Salem Village and its inhabitants, exploring their dark household corners as if she is solving a crime, this author adeptly details how the disintegration occurred while spinning familiar facts in new directions–with the mysterious afflictions finally explained.
Part parable, part star-crossed romance, and part supernatural venture, this is an intuitive human history–and inhuman–spun with a modern twist.
How long did it take to write the book?
What inspired you to write the book?
This is an intensely dramatic and mysterious story that for over 300 years has been begging to be told right (and write).
Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
Throughout this book’s coming-into-being, I did extensive research into the historical record of the Salem witch-hunt as well as into the larger history of the time and place, vernacular, mores, and customs. That’s why THE AFFLICTED GIRLS reads “authentic” with readers feeling that they are actually living this story with the characters. For my part, I wrote and rewrote until all those informative ghostly voices deemed their book “done.”
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
A completely new understanding of what happened in Salem in 1692. As well as a caution about our own times.
Where can we go to buy your book?
Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, all online book and eBook sellers, or by order at any brick and mortar bookstore through the Ingram or Baker and Taylor catalogues. It can also be requested at local libraries, and I hope it will be.
Any other links or info you’d like to share?
Book Website: www.theafflictedgirls.com
For the vision-impaired, THE AFFLICTED GIRLS is now available at BOOKSHARE as a public service
THE AFFLICTED GIRLS
“Salem Village, Massachusetts
Late winter 1692”
JOHN INDIAN, THE PARSONAGE MANSLAVE, WAS HACKING at the frozen ground in the meetinghouse graveyard. Winged death-heads, crudely carved skulls, bird-flanked mossy faces stared out from their frost-patched marker stones. Icicles, some with cedar shingles attached, began falling from the eaves of the steeply pitched roof. The sun was breaking through.
A heavy storm had come barreling in two nights ago after a week of early spring weather. No one saw it coming, except his wife. She’d sat up all that night staring into the blank whiteness of it having her visions—it was something she always did when it snowed. Then in the morning she’d have things to tell him. Yesterday was no different. She said somebody in the village had died and he would be digging a grave today. She went quiet for a spell then said: ‘Evil spirits hoverin’ round that body. Blowin’ a storm into it. Don’ you be touchin’ it.’
He dropped his shovel, walked to the water barrel at the side of the church, poked through a thin icy veneer and ladled himself a couple of mouthfuls, splashed his sticky face and aching neck and wiped a winter’s worth of dirt off a cracked pane and peered inside. He saw his master, Reverend Samuel Parris, standing at the pulpit behind a miniature casket. A dead baby was inside it, wrapped in its winding sheets. He stared at the tiny thing, listened to the funeral-goers singing their hymn-song. A shiver wrinkled his spine. Maggot song. Dead song. Thinkin’ is alive. He began folding in his rich sweet baritone, not because he was a believer—he wasn’t one—but because he loved to sing:
How great His power is none can tell
Nor think how large His grace
Nor men below, nor Saints that dwell
On high before His Face
Shutting his eyes to the wasteland around him, he was soon back in his warm easy sugarcane fields scything the fragrant stalks, feeling a familiar breeze skim his bare back, lopping off a piece to chew, glad to be alive. Till a devilish shriek from inside the church yanked him back to his frozen ditch. He looked at the screamer, guessed it was the baby’s ma. Then went back to his digging and wondering about the evil baby with the storm inside it.
(On this sad day of an infant’s burial, the infamous event is set in motion . . . as two orphaned girls arrive from Maine to begin new lives in Salem Village.)