Devon author opens up about witchy new novel The Coven

North Devon Gazette

Overcoming the odds as a teen mum and proving the haters wrong are among the inspirations for a North Devon author’s debut rollercoaster chase novel set in a world where witches are real – and persecuted.Â

Settling down with The Coven by Lizzie Fry this September is the perfect antidote to dispel the dark autumn evenings with an action-packed and original tale that will appeal to a wide audience.Â

‘Lizzie’ is Devon’s Lucy Hay, crime writer, script editor, screenwriter and successful online blogger, who has overcome more than a little adversity to make her own way in the world.Â

She was pregnant at 18, faced scorn and prejudice at every turn but worked hard to get out of poverty and make a life for her son.Â

Lucy, aged 40, grew up in North Devon and began her writing career as a teenager at the North Devon Journal, as well as working as a script reader for film and television.Â

Now, 20 years later and married with three children, she has published several novels, survived cancer and is the author of leading online blog www.bang2write.com

The Coven is set in 2020 in an alternate version of our world. Witchcraft is real, but only women are born as witches, and they are reviled, pursued, incarcerated and executed by a bigoted American government that has spread its brand of hatred across the globe.Â

North Devon readers will recognise many of the local settings as well as nearby locations such as Exeter and Boscastle.Â

Devon teenager Chloe Su comes into her unknown power unexpectedly when she blows her own house up and what follows is a breath-taking chase as she and her father Daniel flee The Sentinel, a CIA-like agency that scours the globe and hunts witches.Â

They are joined by fellow witch Adelita and rogue Sentinel agent Ethan in a break-neck adventure across the West Country and then the world. Because Chloe is a witch unlike any ever seen before.Â

In fact, she is The One, a witch that can potentially free all her sisters… It is down to her to remake the world. Or break it.Â

Writing as Lizzie, Lucy has used her experience with the movie industry to create a well-constructed action thriller that is simply a good read for adults of all ages.Â

For those who care to look deeper, the malfunctions, misogynist attitudes and injustice of our own society are reflected too. But so is hope, love and compassion.Â

Lucy said: “I hope the book will appeal to different tastes. You can see it as a chase thriller, full of action and epic battle scenes, in the vein of Marvel or Mad Max: Fury Road, but it’s deeper than that too.Â

“I have always been fascinated by witches. I think they are the very embodiment of female oppression and empowerment, which is something that is weaponised against women as they are seen as dangerous.Â

“It’s no accident that through history, women are oppressed as witches regardless of whether they were or not, and it takes so little for a woman to fall out of favour as well.Â

“It’s not only men who do this; there are a lot of women who are invested in the patriarchal idea. When I was a teenage parent, I was seen as tainted and a lot of women treated me badly.Â

“I get hate mail all the time from people who say I am a bad role model, even now. I had one recently saying I was promoting teenage pregnancy. What does that even mean?”Â

The Coven will resonate with West Country readers as it begins with a bang in Exeter before making its way through North Devon and to the brooding heartland of witchcraft at Boscastle in Cornwall.Â

Lucy was inspired by the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic at Boscastle, as well as its atmospheric harbour set in a wild and craggy valley.Â

She said: “It’s very dramatic down there and I have been going there since I was a teenager myself. The museum was very helpful too, with images of witchcraft and historical research.”Â

No book featuring witchcraft would be complete without Salem, Massachusetts, scene of the infamous Salem Witch Trials which saw 14 women and five men executed.Â

Lucy said: “I wanted two places connected with witches and whereas the average person might not know about Boscastle, they will definitely know about Salem.Â

“One thing I found with the hardback release is that actual witches really like the book, they find that its authentic. I have even had witches contact me online to say they bought it for their own coven!”Â

Today, the married mum of three runs various writer workshops and hopes to inspire others to make something of themselves as she did. She said: “When I was a teen mum I started writing to earn money, because I had journalism training by that point.Â

“Writing was at first my escape and a way out of extreme poverty and problems to provide for my son.Â

“If you are a young parent and a self-starter, if you know how to use technology and generate audiences for websites, you can earn money.”Â

The Coven is scheduled for paperback release at all book outlets on September 2 and the next Lizzie Fry book is in the pipeline for 2022.

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