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The Witches of Echo Park by Amber Benson
Mass Market Paperback
Dec 29, 2015 | 304 Pages
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  • Ebook $7.99

    Jan 06, 2015 | 304 Pages

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Praise

“Dark, delicious, and devilishly intricate.”—*Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of A Red-Rose Chain
 
“Amber Benson’s got it. Get it for yourself.”—John Scalzi, New York Times bestselling author of The End of All Things
 
“Filled with magic, secrets, and shocking twists and turns!”—Kings River Life Magazine
 
“[An] urban fantasy series that deftly mixes magic and the modern world.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“Multitalented Benson returns with a story of sisterhood, magic, and secrets…Captivating.”—RT Book Reviews

Author Essay

Dear Reader:

So my new book is called The Witches of Echo Park and it was conceived over a pitcher of Sangria. Probably not the most auspicious way to birth a three-book urban fantasy series, but in retrospect it was totally fitting: I’m a lightweight and even a little bit of alcohol makes me giddy and pretty suggestible.

I was in New York having lunch at a Mexican restaurant with my then-editor, Ginjer Buchanan, when she asked me what it was, exactly, that I wanted to write next. I told her I was burnt out from finishing my last Calliope Reaper-Jones book and that I felt totally uninspired. The only thing I knew for sure was that I didn’t want to write about vampires. (I’d worked on Buffy The Vampire Slayer and those guys already had that market cornered.)

“Witches.”

That wasn’t the Sangria talking, by the way––it was Ginjer. Making the perfect suggestion.

My tipsy mind started swirling. As much as I like sexy-time books (and there is definitely some sexy-time in The Witches of Echo Park), I wasn’t looking to write an allegorical tale about sex and magic. If I did a book about witches, I wanted to give the subject matter my own spin, to focus the story on the relationships between the witches. It would give me a jumping off point to explore something that interests me greatly: The important relationships I have in my own life with my best lady friends.

Growing up in the wilds of the suburban South (circa the 1980s), I did not have a close knit group of lady friends. I had a couple of girl friends, but I was a bit of a tomboy and making friends with guys was just, somehow, easier for me. But as much as I liked hanging out with the dudes, what I secretly craved was to have my own gang of girls just like in The Baby-Sitters Club books.

In fact, I have very vivid memories of hiding out in my bedroom as I devoured the series, all the while being ridiculously jealous of Kristy (the tomboy) because, unlike me, she got to share all of her secrets with an awesome crew of best girlfriends.

Argh! So not fair!

But that’s the way it went. Until my thirties. When everything changed and I found myself in possession of not one, but two grown-up versions of The Baby-Sitters Club: My writers group ladies (The Shamers) and my neighborhood ladies (The AHLAs).

Now that Ginjer had suggested a subject I was curious about––witches!––I got excited. I could draw inspiration for the book’s coven of witches right from my own crew of strong, independent, and intelligent lady friends.

It was perfect.

And it’s exactly what I did:

Meet Lyse MacAllister, the heroine of The Witches of Echo Park. When her Great Aunt Eleanora becomes deathly ill, Lyse puts her own comfortable life on hold to return to Echo Park and take care of her. But once there Lyse discovers that Eleanora has been keeping secrets…dark secrets. Her great aunt is the head of a coven of extraordinary witches and she wants Lyse to take her place. To accept her destiny, Lyse must put herself in deadly peril—for the world of magic is under siege, and the battle the witches fight just might be their last.

I wrote The Witches of Echo Park for my gals; for the best friend-ships I pined for as a kid, and now get to enjoy as an adult. Because no matter what tragedy, comedy, or drama is unfolding in my life, I know my ladies have my back––and I have theirs.


Amber Benson

PS: I’m saving my next inspirational pitcher of Sangria for the day The Witches of Echo Park comes out in January!

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