About the Novel:
Maeve McMahan, a criminal defense attorney, has just blown the case of her career. When she returns home to the mountains of North Carolina to clear her head, she moves back in with her grandmother. On an early morning hike, she meets the one woman she never expected to see: Delphine, The Witch of Roan Mountain.
Accused of a terrible crime she didn’t commit, Delphine has been haunting the county since just after the Civil War and she can’t rest until her name is cleared. She’s counting on Maeve’s help to get to the bottom of the century-old mystery.
Campbell Hyatt, a sheriff’s deputy, has never gotten over his first love, Maeve. When her grandmother breaks her leg, Campbell’s on duty and he finds Maeve at the top of Roan Mountain, convinced she’s seen a ghost. A cop who doesn’t believe in ghosts, he thinks Maeve needs to be focused on her grandmother not an old legend that hits a little too close to home for his liking.
With Maeve’s car out of commission and Granny stuck in the hospital, Campbell and Maeve are thrown together in a quest to find out why Delphine was branded a witch. It will take both of them to get to the bottom of a nineteenth century story love story that may impact them more than they realize. Can they banish a ghost without rekindling an old flame of their own?
Blaire Edens lives in the mountains of North Carolina on a farm that’s been in her family since 1790. When she’s not plotting, she’s busy knitting, running, or listening to the Blues. Blaire loves iced tea with mint, hand-stitched quilts, and yarn stores. She refuses to eat anything that mixes chocolate and peanut butter or apple and cinnamon. She’s generally nice to her mother, tries to remember not to smack her bubble gum, and only speeds when no one’s looking. Blaire is the award-winning author of Wild About Rachel, An Officer and a Mermaid, and The Witch of Roan Mountain.
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Maeve decided to start with an easy hike. It had been years since she’d roamed these mountains and the gym work-outs she’d done in Atlanta didn’t even come close to getting her into the shape she was in when she lived here. The Roan Mountain Gardens trail was just what she needed. Easy and quickly rewarding. She tossed her things in the passenger seat of the Volvo and drove down Jane’s Bald Road.
She turned at Carver’s Gap and followed the winding road up toward the gardens. After stopping at the kiosk, paying the usage fee and putting the hang tag on her rear-view mirror, she steered her Volvo sedan into a parking spot. The parking lot was empty. Too early for the fall foliage peak and too late for the summer riot of Rhodendrons, Maeve had the place to herself. She grabbed her water bottle and a small daypack from the trunk and headed toward the paved trail that led to one of the best views anywhere.
Because it was still early, most of the boreal forest leading to the overlook patio was still shrouded in mist. Maeve took her time winding through the moss-covered trees, savoring the rich earthy smell of the soils and the beautiful, vibrant greens of the plants. As she walked, the fog began to lift and disperse, allowing the sun’s light to penetrate through the trees in watery stripes.
She had no idea why she’d stayed away so long.
It was eerie being alone up here. Even though she’d been on this path dozens of times, this was the first time she’d been by herself.
In high school, it had been one of her favorite places. She and Campbell used to come up here and picnic. Kiss. Make love. She smiled at the memory.
Campbell Hyatt. Her first love.
He was still in town. A sheriff’s deputy. Single, no kids. Granny kept up with him and Maeve suspected that the old woman still fostered dreams that Maeve would come to her senses and marry Campbell.
It was too late for that. By a decade.
Campbell would always be a small-town boy. He’d never leave Avery County. The place, with its towering green mountains and ice-cold streams, was as much as part of him as the blood running through his veins.
Maeve got out of the county as soon as she had a chance. Undergraduate degree at Clemson University and then law school at Wake Forest. As soon as she’d graduated, she was off to Atlanta to work for one of the best criminal law firms in the South.
She’d planned to stay with Palmer, Norris, Howard for the rest of her career.
Until she’d let her ethics get in the way.
She had blown a big case. A case she could’ve won, should’ve won. But she just couldn’t compromise her principles.
Now she was back where she started. Avery County, North Carolina. No job, no plan. No direction. But she wouldn’t be here for long. It was too small, too confining.
Maeve took a deep breath and tried, for the thousandth time, to relax. Chill. To not think about the Juris Doctor she’d worked so hard to get only to piss away less than ten years later.
She rounded the corner and the view cleared her mind instantly.
Spreading out in front of her were the green folds of mountains and the crisp tucks of valleys for as far as she could see. Some of the trees, especially the ones high on the ridges, were beginning to turn yellow. Fall was on its way and would light these mountains aflame with color.
She sat down on a bench and pulled her water bottle and a granola bar from her daypack.
Maeve heard the woman before she saw her. A childhood spent in the woods had given her sharp ears. There was no mistaking the soft footsteps on the fallen leaves coming toward the bench as those of a woman.
When she looked up, she was shocked.
Staring back at her was the one woman she ever expected to see.
I’d known that she was coming. I’d felt it in the wind, the trees, the change of the seasons. We were tied together, she and I, and she was the only one who might be able to help me. I’d prayed for her to hurry.
Even dead women pray. Probably more than the living ones.
The woman on the bench was small, tiny. Fragile. More like a teenager than a woman. Long blond hair pulled back off her oval-shaped face. The most remarkable thing about her was the way her blue eyes were as sharp as icicles.
It worried me. I’d waited a long time for her to come home and now, looking at her from behind the trunk of a balsam tree, I wasn’t sure she was going to be able to help me.
She wasn’t like her granny. Where her granny was mostly gristle and vinegar, this girl was cotton and clouds. I was terrified that I’d wasted all my energy to get up here just to find I’d been wrong.
I wasn’t sure she’d even be able to see me. Not at first. It might take her awhile to believe I was real. Well, mostly real.
I eased out so that I was standing on the pathway. She turned immediately. I put all my energy into making myself visible. It felt strange. I’d spent so many years hiding and now I was trying to do the opposite. I bit my lip and concentrated as hard as I could.
Her eyebrows went up.
She saw me.
Maybe I was right in waiting for her. She had the gift.
“I’m Delphine,” I said. It took all the energy I had to mutter two words. Back when I’d been alive, I could talk all day without flagging an inch but now it was exhausting.
The woman nodded. “I know who you are.”
“Help,” I muttered. “Need help.”
And then I faded into nothing.
1. It's almost Halloween! What's your favorite witch movie or novel?
I love Practical Magic, both the movie and the book. I also adore The Witch of Blackbird Pond and recently reread it for old times’ sake. I like misunderstood witches.
2. What was the inspiration for your witch novella?
In the summer of 2015, I went on a hike to Roan Mountain, a magical place on the North Carolina/Tennessee border. My mother has picnicked in the same spot for over sixty years. I have so many memories of time spent with family and friends at the summit and it’s one of my favorite places on the planet. On this visit, it was very misty and then, shortly after we reached the summit, the mist burned off and I snapped the photo below. When I looked at the shot after returning home, I knew instantly that it was my setting. It was the easiest book I’ve ever written, the bulk of it being completed in just over a week.
3. Tell us about your main character: white witch, dark witch, or something in-between?
Delphine is ghost. Having been accused of witchcraft and murder, she’s determined to wander the mountains until someone can clear her name. Maeve, a down-on-her-luck attorney sees Delphine and is so drawn to her story that she makes it her mission to get to the bottom of a century-old mystery. In creating her, I was able to tie in some interesting history of the region as well as my love for the culture of Appalachia.
4. Cast your characters. If your novella was made into a movie, who would play your main characters?
For Maeve, I think Jennifer Lawrence would be awesome. Bradley Cooper, with the American Sniper muscles, would make a great Campbell. I’d love to see these two together on the screen again because they have such great chemistry. As Delphine, I think Anne Hathaway could pull off the perfect ghostly witch. And Paula Deen for Granny. Because she can probably make some mad biscuits in real life
5. Do you believe in magic?
Yes. Magic is everywhere. You just have to know where to look.
6. What else should we know about your novella?
As a native of the area I’ve written about in this book, I’m incredibly proud of my Appalachian roots and I hope you’ll come to Roan Mountain someday. I’d love to meet you at the top and we can look for Delphine together.