This month I caught up with E.L. Williams about her books and her inspiration as she celebrates the new covers for her urban fantasy, dystopian series.
So, E.L. Williams, for those who don’t know you, tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Emma and I write witchy, magical fiction. I published my debut novel, The First Ethereal in 2020 and the sequel, The Blessing of Crows, in 2022. I’ve just finished a novella called, The Magic Keepers which jumped the queue and made me put book three on hold. I grew up in Wales, but I now live in Berkshire with my husband and, in his opinion anyway, an unhealthy amount of house plants.
I’ve worked in sustainability, advising companies on their social and environmental impacts, for the last twenty years, so writing fiction is very much my refuge.
I’m a huge animal lover and until recently our lives revolved around our two dogs, Annie and Bailey. They both lived to a ripe old age, but we’re still adjusting to being an animal-free household. Luckily, I have a ‘to be written’ list that’s as long as my arm so I have plenty to keep me busy.
Sorry to hear about your dogs, that’s such a difficult time. And you deal with loss in your book, the First Ethereal – I love the new cover by the way! – Can you tell us more about the book?
The first book is about the race to find the mythical being capable of stopping the pending apocalypse. Readers have said it’s like A Discovery of Witches meets The Celestine Prophecy with a pinch of Da Vinci Code.
The First Ethereal is set in a small market town on the edge of the Brecon Beacons in Wales. The story revolves around Storm, a widowed ex-witch who’s mysteriously lost her magic and a young empath, Lilly, who’s just discovered that she’s living her last human life.
Fate throws them together and aided by the Keeper of a magical library, they’re drawn into the desperate race to find the Ethereal. There’s a slow burn romance subplot, and at its core, I suppose it’s a love letter to life.
The sequel picks up the story a decade later when a new threat rises to threaten the utopian world the Ethereals created. Both books are dark in places, but there’s some humour too (I hope!)
There definitely is humour in there, I think it’s the British dry humour that’s subtle but adds heart. In your books, magic isn’t out in the open. Why did you choose to do that?
I love the idea of magic hiding in plain sight, which is why I set my books in our world and not one purely of my creation. There’s something very hopeful about that. The idea that there are forces around us that we just can’t comprehend – yet. That there might be people we walk past in the street who are capable of incredible, magical feats – I love that idea! The epigraph for Ethereal is the W.B Yeats quote, ‘The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper,’ which I think sums it up. The magic is there – we just need to catch up!
The roots of the story are grounded in the power of love over fear. Of friendship and family being the people we choose. Also, about the need to choose life – and sometimes fight for it.
Such a great message and one that’s in so many books. Which authors do you enjoy reading?
Deborah Harkness, author of the All-Souls trilogy because I love anything witchy. Joanne Harris for her ability to mix magic into everyday things, especially food! I just ploughed through Mark Well’s Cambridge Gothic series and a certain Omensford series has me happily hooked [GC: blushes. Aww shucks!] – although I have a plea please for more books ASAP. My current read is Heather G. Harris’ Glimmer of the Other and I’m loving that too. Bonus points – there’s a
Where can we learn more about you and your book(s)?
My website is www.elwilliamsauthor.com There’s a link to a free short story if anyone fancies
dipping their toe into the Ethereal world.
You can find the books on Amazon and paperbacks will soon be available to order via my
website and bookshops.
I’m on Facebook, Instagram and Threads @elwilliamsauthor