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!

The Dancing Writer’s Samples

The Dancing Writer’s Samples

when stars rise Some of you have requested samples of my writing. Since I hate posting rough drafts, and When Stars Die is under contract, I can give you a taste of its sequel though a small part of chapter one. I’ll even through in samples of some dialogue. While this has been looked at and professionally edited, it is, of course, still a proof and not a final copy.

These are just samples and some of them are out of context.



Chapter One Sample

I am a child of The Seven Deadly Sins. Witches, many people believe, are worse than murderers.

Rivulets of blood stream down my back as I think this, splashing red dots on the parquet floor that look like cherry spatter. On my knees, I watch this in a dirty mirror and even count the number of welts I wasn’t able to keep track of during my whipping sessions: fifteen. Perhaps there are more.

One welt for each year of my life.

I touch a welt on my shoulder and wince. Since movement is difficult, the rest sting as well. The flesh is puckered and cracked, sending forth beads of blood that join together and trickle down my side, caressing the ribs sticking through my pale, clammy skin. This will be the last welt I ever receive in my life. I take comfort in knowing I’ll never be beaten again. Or I should take comfort in knowing I’ll never be beaten again.

Tomorrow I’m going to be burned at the stake.

Dialogue Sample

Father comes over and plants soft hands on my shoulders. “I wish you could stay here, but Governor Branch would only let you go if you were exiled from here. Gallows Hill is safe, I promise you.”

Exile. A word meant for criminals.

“If it’s so safe, how come you and he know about it?”

He rests a hand on my cheek, bends down, and looks up at me. “He receives a lot to keep quiet. You don’t think Governor Branch lives as well as he does on tax payer money, do you?”

I take this to mean Governor Branch knows the location of certain safe houses, and he only keeps this information from everyone else in the towndue to money.

My insides boil at the thought that my life is a bargain, something to be bought and sold to the highest bidder. I pull away from him. “I. Don’t. Want. To. Go.”

“Be reasonable. If Governor Branch allowed you to stay here, people wouldn’t be kind to you at all. You know how they are in this village. I can’t protect you forever.”

I close my eyes. “Mother isn’t coming to say good-bye, is she?” I don’t know why I bothered to ask. Father’s eyes make the answer clear. He just can’t bring himself to disappoint me.

“Alice, don’t do this to me.”

Description Sample 

“And we’re here,” the driver announces, coming upon an enormous manor that rests on a cliff overlooking rapids.

I shrank against the seat, intimidated by the sheer size of the structure. I’ve never seen a building so enormous in my life. Then again, I’ve never traveled far from Belhame.

From where we are I am able to make out enormous gargoyles on the blackened shingles of the roof that look like they want to come alive, swoop down, and dig their stony teeth into my flesh. There’s a rusty bell on a bell tower behind a peaked roof, one that looks like a signal for funeral services. Thick vines choke the manor, and they cover so much of the building I wonder if the inhabitants inside are able to breathe.

The most frightening décor of Gallows Hill are the stained-glass windows. I have no idea if they are supposed to serve as a warning or not, but they contain pictures of shadowy creatures holding crosses as if to ward me off.

I tug my father’s sleeve. “I don’t want to be here.”

These are just some samples of my writing. Once the release nears for When Stars Die, I will be posting chapter one of it! As per my contract manager’s advice, of course.