Storyline: A Discovery of Witches (2018) According to Harkness, the novel began as "a thought experiment" after she noticed the plethora of novels surrounding vampires and magic at an airport bookshop. As a historian, she noted that people today were interested in reading about the same sorts of subjects as they would have in the past, including the supernatural. "In some ways I think their popularity right now is about our feeling that we still want there to be magic and enchantment in the world," theorises Harkness. "Magic provides a way of still having room for possibilities, an unlimited sense of what the world offers. Magic is always there when science is found wanting." Harkness has studied magic and the occult, which provided much of the inspiration for the novel, since 1983.The writing of the novel took place in the early mornings "in the blissful quiet before [she] switched on [her] email", while she also continued teaching at the University of Southern California during the day, and blogging about wine in the evenings. Aside from Anne Rice novels that she "read and loved" in her twenties, Harkness claims she has not read other vampire fiction such as The Historian or the Twilight series. Some elements of this novel sprang directly from Harkness' own life: she has spent many hours engaged in research in the Bodleian Library, and in the course of her own research, Harkness discovered an ancient—and long-lost—book of spells, the Book of Soyga....
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