Happy Monday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for THE BITTERWINE OATH! I’m so excited because today I have an interview with Hannah West to share with you! This book is truly amazing and I’m so so excited to for you to find out more about it!
The Bitterwine Oath by Hannah West
Published on December 1, 2020 by Holiday House
Genres: YA, Mystery, Thriller
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Every fifty years, a cult claims twelve men to murder in a small Texas town. Can one girl end the cycle of violence - and save the boy who broke her heart?
San Solano, Texas, is a quaint town known for its charm, hospitality, and history of murder. Twice now, twelve men have been brutally killed, and no one knows who did it. A shadowy witch? A copycat killer? Or a man-hating murderess?
Eighteen-year-old Natalie Colter is sure that the rumors about her great-great-grandmother's cult of wronged women are just gossip, but that doesn't stop the true-crime writers and dark tourism bloggers from capitalizing on the town's reputation. It's an urban legend that's hard to ignore, and it gets harder when Nat learns that the sisterhood is real. And magical. And they want her to join.
The more Nat learns of the Wardens' supernatural history, the more she wonders about the real culprits behind the town's ritualistic murders. Are the Wardens protecting San Solano from even darker forces? There are shadows in the woods, bones on the outskirts of town, and questions Nat needs answered.
But everything becomes more urgent when people start getting marked as new victims--including Levi Langford, the boy whose kiss haunted Nat for a year. With Levi in danger, doing nothing would be harder than fighting back.
Nat knows that no one is safe. Can she and the sisterhood stop the true evil from claiming their town?
If you could trade lives with any book character for a day, who would it be and why? What about a week? A month, year, or forever?
For a day, I would either want to be Lucy Pevensie experiencing the wonder of stumbling into another world, or Beauty exploring the Beast’s palace library.
For a week, I’d want to be Scarlett in Caraval so I could play the game and wear pretty dresses.
For a month, I’d want to be Katniss so I could learn some valuable survival skills.
For a year, I’d want to be a student at Hogwarts—but not Hermione. She has to stress about exams and grades too much. I’d want to coast academically while exploring the grounds and drinking butterbeer at Hogsmeade.
For forever, I’d definitely want to be a hobbit in the Shire because peaceful scenery, good food, good parties, and a simple life sounds great to me.
What would you do if you spent the day with Nat? Where would you go to eat, hang out, relax, etc.?
I think Nat and I would go on a fun camping trip in the woods of East Texas. We’d stop for some sweet tea and junk food on the way, go paddleboarding on a lake, and try to freak each other out with scary stories around the campfire.
If Nat were to hang out with characters from other books, who would they be and why?
This is kind of a tough one! I wouldn’t mind seeing her transported to the world of my fantasy series, The Nissera Chronicles. Even though Nat has her own magic, I think she would be in awe of elicromancy. She would have no patience for snobby royals, though, which would be fun to see play out.
What was your favorite bit of research you ended up not using?
I’m not a big fan of doing in-depth research, so I research as I go and find only what I need to write the story. One research aspect that I enjoyed was reading spell books and grimoires to get some inspiration and to kind of piece together original spells. I grew up believing that dabbling in magic is sinful, so even just reading spell books for research purposes gave me chills up my spine!
What is your favorite quote, scene, or moment from The Bitterwine Oath?
I don’t want to spoil anything, but I loved writing the scene where Nat and her friends go to the haunted cabin in the woods. Nat has started to suspect that one of her friends may be a member of a murderous cult, and she’s trying to make sense of her suspicions while the rest of the group is just acting like silly teenagers, trespassing and making a joke out of the creepy stuff they encounter. I loved tapping into that sense of reckless adventure I used to have as a teenager that makes you seek out faux-danger for thrills and chills and glory. It was fun turning that around on Nat over the course of the scene, gradually making her aware that she’s in real danger and that something truly dark is going down in her town.
Were there alternate endings you considered, or did you always know where the story was headed?
I’ve actually rewritten huge portions of this book, the ending included. I’m sorry to say that at this point, I can barely remember what the original ending was! That’s a good window into writing and revising, though. Whatever the ending used to be, I like this one so much better! There’s always room for improvement in writing.
Hannah West is the author of young adult books including The Nissera Chronicles series and The Bitterwine Oath. She’s been writing fantasy since kindergarten, when she penned her first tale about a princess who ran away and lived at the top of a flagpole with two loaves of bread. But it wasn’t until she studied abroad in Orléans, France during college that the premise for her first novel materialized. The fairy tale castles, the snowy winter days, and a Disney princess pencil that arrived in a care package from her parents provided the inspiration that allowed her to wrangle all her untold and unfinished stories into a novel.
Hannah currently lives in the Dallas area with her husband and their two rambunctious rescue dogs.
What do you think about THE BITTERWINE OATH? Have you added it to your tbr yet? Let me know in the comments and have a splendiferous day!