Meet the Author of DARK TILLY, Georgia Bowers!
Meet the newest fantastic author joining the Swoon Reads family, Georgia Bowers! We fell hard for her super twisty and deliciously witchy book about a girl being framed for her dark magic. Learn more about Dark Tilly!
What inspired you to write Dark Tilly?
Three things! I wrote a short story for a competition which had the theme Bewitched. This idea of a witch whose face was covered in the names of all the people she’d hurt popped into my head, and that she bewitches others into seeing what she wants them to see. I didn’t win the competition but I couldn’t stop thinking about this girl with the scars on her face, so I decided to flesh it out.
I’d also read a story in the Fortean Times about a skeleton that was found inside the hollow trunk of a witch hazel tree, which locals nicknamed the Wych Elm because of how scary it looked. Not long after the woman’s body was found graffiti started appearing around the town that said “Who put Bella down the Wych Elm?” My dark mind then loved the idea of a dead body twisted up in the branches of a tree, and I thought Bella in the Wych Elm sounded so deliciously creepy that I played around with it and came up with Ivy down the witching well…
Then one day I was fantasizing about writing an alternative YA version of Matilda by Roald Dahl where Matilda never met Miss Honey but was exploited by her dad to use her powers for crime. I obviously didn’t take it any further but had a title for it that I loved: Dark Tilly.
What is your favorite moment in the book?
It’s so hard to choose. I love the moment where Matilda’s at rock bottom stuck down a well but then she (almost literally!) reaches into the past to find a way out. I also love the finale though! I obviously can’t say too much about it but I… no I can’t say.
What was the most interesting thing about magical lore or history you discovered when you were doing research for this book?
I got lost down a rabbit hole of research for Dark Tilly and found some really interesting superstitions about animals, like if a toad crosses the threshold of your house it brings bad luck, or if an owl flies around your house it’s a sign of imminent death for one of the occupants!
I was keen to create a place where there was a deep rooted history of witchcraft so I read up on the history of witches in the UK, including my hometown. I was surprised to find an account of a witch test that took place in 1735 near where I live. The poor old woman was tied up in a wet sheet and dunked over and over in the river, then weighed against the bible of the local church.
What makes you swoon?
Enemies to lovers, every time!