Hello besties !!!
Welcome to another interview of the Pride Month event 2022 at Misty Realms 🤍
Today I am incredibly elated and honoured to welcome Aislinn the wonderful author of HOW TO SUCCEED IN WITCHCRAFT!! We talked about so much, like being biracial and queer, writing about enemies-to-lovers sapphics, thier debut novel— HOW TO SUCCEED IN WITCHCRAFT a fun thing she wants to do this Pride, Shay + Ana and more!! I hope you enjoy reading 🏫🎭🪄🌈
How to Succeed in Witchcraft by Aislinn Brophy
An overachieving teen witch vies for a prestigious scholarship at her elite high school in this contemporary YA fantasy for fans of Never Have I Ever and Sabrina the Teen Witch!
Magically brilliant, academically perfect, chronically overcommitted…
Shay Johnson has all the makings of a successful witch. Now that she’s a junior at T.K. Anderson Magical Magnet School, she’s one step closer to winning the full-ride Brockton Scholarship–her ticket into the university of her dreams. Her main competition? Ana freaking lvarez. The key to victory? Impressing Mr. B, drama teacher and head of the scholarship committee.
When Mr. B persuades Shay to star in this year’s aggressively inclusive, racially diverse musical—at their not-quite-diverse school–she agrees, wearily, even though she’ll have to put up with Ana playing the other lead. But with rehearsals underway, Shay realizes Ana is…not the despicable witch she’d thought. Perhaps she could even be a friend–or more. And Shay could use someone in her corner once she finds herself on the receiving end of Mr. B’s unpleasant and unwanted attention. When Shay learns she’s not the first witch to experience his inappropriate behavior, she must decide if she’ll come forward. But how can she speak out when the scholarship–and her future–are on the line?
An unforgettable debut, How to Succeed in Witchcraft conjures up searing social commentary, delightfully awkward high school theatre, and magical proclamations of love.
Find and pre-order How to Succeed in Witchcraft on:
Interview with Aislinn Brophy
Hello Aislinn! Thank you so much for visiting us on Misty Realms for pride month. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing journey till now?
Hi Kashvi! So happy to be here on the blog. I’m Aislinn—that’s pronounced Ash-lyn—and I’m a writer and actor currently based in Atlanta. I live with my partner and our two adorable cats. Outside of work, I love dancing, making excessive numbers of playlists, and playing D&D.
My writing journey probably started in earnest in the summer after middle school when I discovered fanfiction. That was a big moment for me! I wrote a huge amount of stuff in a very short period of time, which let me hone my skills in a non-judgmental space. When I got to high school, I had an incredible English teacher, who encouraged a group of his students to do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Because of that, I ended up finishing my first full-length novel, and I became absolutely certain that I wanted to be a professional author.
In college, I discovered my love for theater, and I switched to writing plays for a while. When I eventually returned to novel-writing, I found that all the time I spent working on plays had really improved my ability to create naturalistic dialogue. I focused my energy on writing a new book, finished How to Succeed in Witchcraft, and that more or less brings us to today!
I cannot express how excited I am to read How to Succeed in Witchcraft without sounding like an incoherent mess!! For those who may only be learning about How to Succeed in Witchcraft for the first time, what is it about – and what is something that readers can look forward to when they read it?
Wow, thank you so much! I’m equally excited for people to finally read it!
How to Succeed in Witchcraft is about Shay, a potions-obsessed witch at a prestigious magical school, who has to decide between getting the scholarship for magical university that she desperately needs or exposing the predatory drama teacher who controls the scholarship. Readers can look forward to a big, fun sapphic romance! It’s got banter, academic rivalry, gay panic…all off my favorite things, really!
How to Succeed in Witchcraft deals with an extremely important issue that many teens and people in academia have experienced— inappropriate behaviour of a teacher and deciding what action to take on it. In the book Shay is conflicted whether to expose her teacher’s misbehaviour or winning a scholarship that she desperately needs. What do you hope readers will take away from the challenging position that Shay is put in the story?
Through this book, I was trying to portray how deeply unhealthy achievement culture and the American college admissions rat race can be. Shay really buys into those things, and her all-consuming need for a very specific form of success leads her to be pretty individualistic. She thinks she needs to work hard, put her head down, and address her problems on her own. That mindset is really isolating, and isolation makes people more vulnerable to be preyed on.
With all of that said, one of the things I’ve tried to layer into this story is the importance of community and being connected with other people. Shay doesn’t solve her problems all by herself. She’s able to get the support she needs to deal with a seemingly insurmountable problem from her friends and family. So ultimately, I hope that readers come away with the knowledge that even though the world might conspire to make us feel powerless and alone, our communities are what give us the strength to push for things to be better.
As you have mentioned on Twitter there is a sapphic enemies to lovers romance!! What was the experience of writing this romance between Shay and Ana? What was a quote/moment that transpired between them that you loved writing?
I had so much fun with their relationship! It was one of the most enjoyable parts of creating this story. Their banter was so amusing to me, and I had such a good time having Shay slowly learn things about Ana throughout the book. I think their relationship also felt healing to me in some ways. Ana and Shay have been pitted against each other a lot, because they’re both magically strong, academically gifted BIPOC girls in a white environment. There’s this idea sometimes that there can only be one successful person of color in any given white space. It felt really special to have these two girls ultimately reject that and decide to like each other.
Without giving too much away, I loved writing their first kiss. That scene was initially completely different, but I revised the arc of their relationship in the second half of the book and got such a kick out of how that scene turned out!
Shay is both biracial and queer. What was the experience of exploring the intersection of these identities like for you?
If I’m being honest, that intersection of identities in a character is what I feel most comfortable writing. Shay is obviously just one person, so she speaks to a single experience of what it’s like to be biracial and queer. I think I had a certain amount of anxiety while writing that some people might take her as being representative of “the” mixed-race experience, as if there’s only one, which can happen when there’s a limited number of representations of a specific identity in mainstream media. But how other people perceive my work isn’t something that I can really control, so I just tried to have a good time creating the character. Besides, I’m not the only author writing queer multiracial characters in the YA space. I’m excited to add my perspectives to that growing body of work, and continue creating stories that show lots of different versions of what it can look like to hold those identities.
Before I conclude I wanted to ask if you had any one fun thing you want to do in Pride Month 2022!!
I’m hoping to go to some fun events. The Atlanta Pride festival and parade are actually in October, but there’s always something queer happening around here! I think I would like to go to a drag show, because I haven’t seen one in a while.
That was it! Thank you so much for your time Aislinn, it was so so lovely having you over on my blog, and I cannot wait to read How to Succeed in Witchcraft and fall in love with it! Is there anything you would like to add?
Thanks for having me! I’d like to shoutout some other debut books that I’m excited about this year—Deep in Providence by Riss M. Neilson, The Witchery by S. Isabelle, and We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds. There are obviously so many incredible releases coming out in 2022, so those are just a few of the ones I hope people will check out.
Aislinn Brophy (she/they) is an actor, writer, and arts administrator based in the Atlanta area. She was born and raised in South Florida, but made her way up to the frigid northeast for college. Their hobbies include pawning off their baking on anybody nearby, doing funny voices, and dismantling the patriarchy.
Aislinn has a degree in Theatre, Dance & Media, and her experiences as a performer consistently wiggle their way into her writing. In all aspects of her work as an artist, she is passionate about exploring identity and social justice issues. Their debut YA novel, HOW TO SUCCEED IN WITCHCRAFT, will be published September 2022, with a second untitled novel to follow. You can find them on Twitter (@aislinnbrophy), Instagram and TikTok (@aislinnbrophyauthor), and on their website at aislinnbrophy.com.
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Thank you so much Aislinn for taking your time to do this interview for Misty Realms, I had a delightful time chatting about How to Succeed in Witchcraft !!! HAPPY PRIDE 🏳️🌈