S.W. Develin lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania with his wife, Julie, and their three children: Brigid, Jack and Garrett. He has a dog named Pink, a cat named Floyd, and a small kitten disguised as a cow.
“I am older than you can comprehend. I am eight.” – Emily Spellmaker.
Emily Spellmaker is missing. She didn’t return to Witchwood Park Elementary this year and Kendra, the shy little girl she befriended, is heartbroken. Kendra waits alone on the park bench after school each day until the Tuesday a troll walks out of the woods. He chooses Kendra, Jimmy (the school bully), and Daniel (an outcast) to come on a magical journey where they must overcome an evil queen and her Army of the Faceless to free an enslaved land. In the process they learn who they really are and what friendship means, while getting closer to solving the mystery of Emily Spellmaker.
Available at Amazon
Q) What inspired you to write this story?
I had just started going to law school at night, on top of my day job as a consultant and my teaching at Temple University. I needed to find every way I could to spend quality time with my kids. One thing I could always do was tell a bedtime story on the nights I was home. So Witchwood Park started out as something to entertain the kids. Then it became something I wanted to publish and share and my kids became the unwitting beta testers…
Q) How long did it take you to write?
I wrote a partial draft back in 2010. Some of that made it into the finished product. A Tale of Witchwood Park ended up being a concerted effort over about an eight to ten week stretch in early 2014. Later books in the series are going to take longer. But I knew out of the gates that I wanted the first book to be about the length of a “Jack and Annie” story, as I call Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree House books.
Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
In general, seeing where it takes me. Once you get past the early ideas and your characters and story start taking shape, the different directions you can go are endless. Do you control them, or do they control you? I think it's a little of both. It can also be dangerous. One of the things that’s good about stepping away from your own stories for a night or a week is that when you come back to them, you can really see what paths in the story work – and others that you need to delete and make sure never, ever come back again.
Probably the most rewarding thing that has happened from my writing came about a month after A Tale of Witchwood Park was released. A 4th grade school teacher (one that I didn’t know, yet!) read the book with her English class. Not only did they love it, they drew their own pictures of the characters and scenes. When I heard about that and got to see the pictures, it really sunk in that I had done something worthwhile.
Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
It makes it very, very hard to go back to doing the other things you need to do to earn a living…
Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
Bob the Builder. He has this great attitude and he always gets it done. He always asks, “Can we do it?” But he never has time for the tough existential question, “Should we do it?” That’s the one that always screws me up. Bob, he doesn’t have time for that nonsense.
Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
Maybe a lemon, a few weeks old at most. Nothing in my fridge lasts. Either the kids consume it or my wife throws it away. I do my share disposing of any pizza, red meat, and beer. Now 15 to 20 years ago, in any one of my post-college apartments, all bets would have been off…
Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
A Knight of Witchwood Park releases in June 2014. It focuses on Jimmy and a minor character from the first book, who becomes Jimmy’s first girlfriend. The enigmatic Emily Spellmaker is also going to start playing a larger role in the series. We’ll learn what happened to her in book two. But I don’t even know who she really is yet, so that will have to wait until at least book three.
I’m committed to Witchwood Park through the five books for the first story arc. Whether there is anything more to Witchwood Park after that is going to depend on whether there is an audience demand.
Thanks for your time. If anybody wants to find me, try facebook.com/swdevelin…