The Inspiration Behind When Stars Die

The Inspiration Behind When Stars Die

In my younger years, I had a crazed fascination with the Salem Witch Trials. It was interesting to me how one village in all of America became struck by witch hysteria, so much so that they wanted to burn anyone they thought was a witch. I did intense research into the subject, trying to find out the origins of burning, who started the burnings, because I wanted When Stars Die to touch upon what started everything in its sequel.

Of course, I never found the origins, but over time, I did evolve and mold the idea of why one became a witch in the first place. Were they witches through sin? Were they demons spawned by God? No one ever chastised the parents who gave birth to them because clearly they came from “pious” wombs. That is when I began to fashion the idea that they were born of the Seven Deadly Sins. A parent who committed a deadly sin for a prolonged period of time would give birth to a witch. Of course, the parents aren’t aware at first. Sometimes the parents are never made aware. Just as in the Salem Trials, it is the witch who must bear the burden alone. But the existence of witches does punish those who are non-witches; however, that is only answered in the sequel.

I was also fascinated with convents and the 16th century. But When Stars Die doesn’t even take place in the 16th century because I wanted to move Amelia to the 19th century to push her closer to the sequel. I was just reading so many Tudor books then, with some 19th century flavors throw in the mix.

I can’t even tell you where the fascination with convents came from. I just like the idea of a girl who bears a dark secret becoming a nun that must purge her soul of sin. I think the idea also may have come from watching a documentary on one modern day convent. But modern day convents are different from one you’d fine in the 19th century. However, because each convent does its own thing, so, too, could my convent–within reason.

But, really, When Star Die doesn’t have a simple point of inspiration. The idea just evolved over the years as I matured as a person and writer. The direction I wanted the book to go was always the same, but how I ended up there had to be changed and fleshed out over time as my writing and storytelling skills evolved.

That’s what’s difficult about being a teen writer. Perhaps I could have cashed in on the whole teen writer thing, but my gut was also churning, telling me the writing isn’t ready, you still have maturing to do. And luckily I listened to it, because When Stars Die wouldn’t be what it is now and who knows if it would have sold well in the condition it had been back when I was younger.

In any case, I leave you with a small summary of When Stars Die:


Amelia Gareth’s brother is a witch and the only way to save her family from the taint in his blood is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims in the city of Malva. However, in order to become professed, she must endure trials that all nuns must face.

Surviving these trials is not easy, especially for Amelia, who is being stalked by shadowy beings only she can see. They’re searching for people they can physically touch, because only those they can touch can see them. Amelia soon learns why she is being stalked when she accidentally harms her best friend with fire during the third trial. Fire is a witch’s signature. The shadows are after witches.

Currently it is with AEC Stellar Publishing. Look out for more news!

Interview With My Book’s Character

Interview With My Book’s Character

A sort of likeness of Amelia made in  a Soulless dress-up game.
A sort of likeness of Amelia made in a Soulless dress-up game.

Me: Hello all! This is Amber Forbes signing in to interview When Star Die’s Amelia Gareth! We are honored to have her here, especially since she is so busy with the next book in the trilogy. So, Amelia, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Amelia: Well…um…there isn’t a whole lot to say. I’m a sister at Cathedral Reims and I desperately want to be professed.

Me: Why do you want to be professed? I hear the road to profession is unbearable.

Amelia: Is anyone important going to read this.

Me: What do you mean by important?

Amelia: Anyone who would use my words against me.

Me: Not at all!

Amelia: Good. I want to be professed because my little brother is a witch. I hope that by serving Deus, we will be forgiven for the sins my parents have placed upon him.

Me: I heard you ran away from home. Tell me a little bit about that.

Amelia: You see, when parents commit a Seven Deadly Sin for a prolonged period of time, the child born from those sins is a witch. I suppose after my birth, my parents grew careless. As far as I know, they were never careless before I was born, so I’m the lucky one. But my brother…well, I will cleanse him. He is working to become a priest, and I am working to become a nun. There is no greater gift than to serve Deus.

Me: That’s a lot for you two. Tell me what it’s like being in Cathedral Reims. I know in the book we don’t get a full view of the workings because of circumstantial matters.

Amelia: Well, when we all come in, we are simply known as sisters. We all refer to each other in that way unless we’re very close to one another, such as my best friend Colette and I. All convents do things differently, but we’re all novices until were professed, as in novitiates. When we first enter, it functions much like a finishing school: full, three course meals, classes, socialization time, more classes. But then we’re slowly weaned of things until we’re eating bland meals, being beaten into silence during classes, allowed no more socialization except to pray, and must attend all Liturgy of the Hours, which are moments of prayer with the professed. Then we must endure harsh trials to become professed. Once we’ve passed those, we are nuns and can choose vocations, such as teaching, or we can choose to pray all day for suffering to end. I want to do teaching.

Me: The inner workings of Cathedral Reims sound complex. How do you feel about all that?

Amelia: It isn’t the most ideal life for me, but I dream of becoming professed nonetheless. Witches are so hated in our world. Everyone is taught to hate them from birth for little reason other than our Vulgate tells us to. We’re fed the religious readings of the Vulgate from the time we are able to understand and onward.

Me: What about you? Do you hate witches?

Amelia: I wasn’t rabidly fed the Vulgate, so I was able to think on my own. But I can’t hate them when my brother is one.

Me: That mind of yours will get you places. Anything more you want our audience to know?

Amelia: I want them to know that while this is a paranormal romance, things are…unconventional. It won’t seem that way at first, but hopefully readers will be able to deduce early on just what is really happening. If not, there are fun surprises in store.

Me: Thank you. This is Amelia Gareth! Stay turned for more on When Stars Die! Amber signing off!