Author Q&A

Witchbound: Natalie Gibson Talks Steamy Paranormal Romance, Witches, and Nephilim

Author Natalie Gibson discusses power dynamics, polyamory, and the paranormal in her new book The Magic Number.

About The Magic Number:

Camilla Lovejoy, healer for the powerful witch coven the Daughters of Women, has always wanted a child. The only problem is her special healing abilities won’t allow her to conceive. Nanae, a powerful male Nephilim who can help her overcome this, is her only hope. 

They turn to friend and sometimes lover, Izzy. He’s always loved Camilla but he’s always felt something was missing. Now with Nanae in the mix he may have found the perfect solution. As the trio embark on a passionate affair exploring submissive and dominant dark desires, sparks begin to fly.

Meanwhile, the Paion Fellowship, their power-hungry enemy responsible for torturing and murdering the members of the coven, is out for blood—Nanae’s Nephilim blood, and they won’t stop until they get what they want.

As the battles mount between the two rival organizations, Camilla’s dream of a child hangs in the balance, and the trio will have to risk everything to fight off the blood thieves to make it a reality.

Graphic, gritty, bloodthirsty, steamy, and uniquely original, the Witchbound saga is unlike any other horror/paranormal romance series you’ve ever read and is recommended for mature readers.

You’ve always loved reading, but you didn’t discover the joy of writing until your child was born in 2008. What was behind that shift into writer’s life?
While recovering from giving birth, I tore through every paranormal romance that I could find. I had an idea for what I wanted to read next—witches who get their magical abilities from sexual energy and the heavenly men who guarded them. When I did research for that and couldn’t find it, I decided to write the books myself. I created characters and put them into a world to see what happened. It was very much like reading the chose-your-own-adventure books that I loved as a kid.That is how my first book came to be but it is not how I write now. It was only after five or so total rewrites that I have the first book of the Witchbound series.

Your characters are so magical and interesting, from witches to Nephilim to Lilitu. Tell us more about them and your process of creating them. What kind of research is involved?
This is no small question. A ton of research went into these books. You could say that everything I’ve ever read or researched had an influence on the characters and creatures of the Witchbound world.

I was raised in a very religious household, in a very Christian area in Texas, right in the bible belt. Many of the stories wormed their way into my mind and one that I used to obsess over was that of the Nephilim. In Sunday school, it was always just glossed over to get to Noah but I always wondered why. How beautiful must the women have been to catch the eye of angels? What would the giant offspring of women and angels be like? Why would their very existence have angered God so much that he felt it necessary to wipe out almost all of humankind with a flood?

Then, as I entered adulthood, I began to study world religions and how so many shared so much. I read When God was a Woman by Merlin Stone and it changed my world. I began to see many religious stories for what they were—written by men afraid of the power of women. I created witches—women of power—that could have survived through all time periods, and wrote about how they would exist in the modern world.

I read everything I could find about ancient religions and stories they had that shared details and themes. I took myths and legends and made my own. I studied what I could find on the characters of Lilith and the ancient goddesses Ishtar, Akasha, and Inanna. Many of their myths involve them taking over the domains of male deities and using those powers for the betterment of all mankind.

I also did a lot of research on Sumerian writing, words, myths, and monsters. I studied modern witchcraft, pagans, and Wiccans.

Your book has it all! How did you manage to strike a balance between developing a story that includes a mix of horror, fantasy, and a healthy dose of steamy romance?

Well, first of all, thank you.

Each of the books is different because each of the women they are about are different. Some have more steam, others more action, and still others are heavy on the horrific. In some books I’ve read, it doesn’t seem realistic that the people, running for their lives from monsters, would stop and have time to make love. I think it was believable in mine because these people have healthy sex lives, their magic depends on it. So when danger hits, they do what makes them strong and they are used to the horrific and fantastical.

Normal everyday lives are a little bit everything. Comical things happen, even on the most dramatic of days. Scary and sad can happen at the same time. Falling in love is horrific and frightening and beautiful and steamy all at the same time.

The Magic Number is filled with strong female characters. What inspires you to write characters like Camilla and Nathalia, for example? Are any of the characters based on anyone in your life?
First, what inspires me is every female I have ever known and loved. In truth, every character is a little bit me. How could they not be? I have my characters do what seems reasonable for them.

Are they based on anyone in my life? Yikes. Yes, but I won’t say specifically which ones and who. They know who they are but I don’t need to out them to the whole world. Character mannerisms and speech patterns are based on real people. Physical characteristics too. I will say that Aaron is based on my husband Eric. I mean he never cut me and tried to use my blood to work a binding spell against me but Aaron says things I think Eric would say. I knew I loved Eric at a specific moment in time and I put that moment in For the Love of Magic. He was making us sandwiches in the kitchen of his condo wearing his boxers when his cat, Virgil, appeared out of thin air to greet me when so many of Eric’s friends and family thought Virgil was imaginary.

While your material is seemingly far beyond reality, your perspective is that it’s not quite as far from everyday life as one would think. Can you expand on this?
I think this goes back to my religious upbringing. I grew accustomed to the idea that supernatural things were happening all around us. I love the thought that there is but a thin veil between this world and a whole other one. We live our own lives and really never know about other people’s lives. We know what they want to share. Who’s to say that there isn’t magic in the house next door? It’s every bit as believable as the fine upstanding neighbors who have a sex dungeon in their basement or the man who lives in a two-room house and is a secret millionaire.

What inspired the Daughters of Women? If you were one of the Daughters of Women, what would you want your role to be and why?
The Daughters were created by a series of ideas. I wanted a modern coven of women, reasonable and educated, with a different kind of magic than what I’d read before. I didn’t want it to be something they could learn so I made it genetic. Types of abilities are passed from mother to daughter. They can get better at their one magic by practice but they are limited by their power source. Sexual pleasure is not always easy for women so that is their limit. But then if the organization had lasted since prehistory they would have discovered a way to collect and save up that energy and so the Capacitors came about.

So, what superpower would I want… I’d like to say Maeve’s matchmaking ability would be my choice. She selflessly sacrifices her own chance at love to find love for hundreds of couples and through these couples provides the power for others in her coven to work their own magics. But that wouldn’t be truthful. I’d go with Tara Kay. I’ve always had a strange connection with family land and it would be amazing to speak to mother earth and have her respond through living things. Book four, The Nature of Magic, is about her so you don’t have to wait long to see what I mean.

Where did the idea of Nanae’s Hunger Beast originate? Could this be a reflection of an average person’s “inner demons?”
The good guys need a strong baser instinct to fight against or they would be flat and boring. Each Nephilim has a hunger that they must resist but Nanae’s is a little different. Nanae is a healer. He would have been in constant contact with blood and flesh. He would have had to do something so he separated himself from his hunger, making it into a separate entity, pushing it down, trapping it. That made it easier for him to go about his daily life but it means when his hunger gets loose, it’s with a capital H. His Hunger has a will and mind of its own.

We all have our own inner demons that we must battle. There is no reason supernatural creatures would be any different, except that their inner demons are supernatural as well.

What’s your favorite thing about writing about a supernatural cast, and what is the most challenging?
The answer to both parts of that question are the same—making the Supes in this modern world but not of it. If a Nephilim has lived for 12,000 years, languages would be nothing for him to master. He would have witnessed the birth of each one. He would pick them up with ease. But, something that hasn’t been around more than 30 years, like the world wide web, would baffle him. It would be like if the WWW was invented two months before the death of an 89 year old woman. Would she comprehend it on her death bed?

Everything about it is my favorite. I love books with the supernatural. I have a normal human life and feel normal human emotions. Why would I want to read fiction about that?

Who was your favorite character to write and why?

I skipped this question at first because it’s so difficult to answer. Favorite character to write…in this book it is Izzy. Israel is an open book, easy to write, simple in his motivations but complex in his needs. Ask me after the next book and I will have a different answer.

Brian is a chilling character. What, in your opinion, makes a great villain?

The same thing that makes a great protagonist—devotion to a cause. I had an acting teacher say something to me that I never forgot and that had a profound effect on my writing. “Everyone thinks they are the hero of their own story. No one believes they are the villain. The motivation can never be ‘because they are evil.’ There is always a reason people do what they do and they always believe that reason is just.”

The Magic Number embraces sexual fluidity. Do you consider fiction a good platform on which to work toward normalizing diversity in sexual orientation and preference, as well as gender?

Absolutely! Representation is important. I don’t want to write books that only members of a particular community read. My books are written to be enjoyed, not teach life lessons. For me,enjoyment involves pushing boundaries. We humans need to feel uncomfortable before realizing we can be comfortable in that discomfort.

Do you typically write BDSM, or was this a new venture for you? How do the sexual relationships in The Magic Number differ from some of your previous work?
Power exchange is in our everyday life, sexual or not. Everything I write has to do with the exchange and interaction of power and position. Sex is about power exchange. Maybe it’s not always as obvious as in a BDSM relationship but it is always there. So power exchange is in everything that I write but this is the first time I’ve explored a full BDSM relationship.

Three is the magic number in this book. This romance is between three people and those people are openly into power exchange. It makes this different from the other books. It also makes it much more complicated. Think of the misunderstandings and hurt feelings that happen between two spouses. Now, that grows exponentially with the addition of a third person. It makes being open and honest uber-important. Izzy is the embodiment of open mindedness and honesty and that is why he is the key to this romance working.

What do you like most about writing steamy paranormal romance?

What’s not to like? Seriously.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so, is there any particular song or playlist that inspired you while working on this novel?
I know this is not normal but I do not listen to anything while I write. I need silence for the characters to take over. There are a few songs that inspire me to write these stories. Queen of the Dead soundtrack. Fully Alive and All Around Me by Flyleaf. Live’s album, The Distance to Here. A few songs by Three Days Grace.

What’s next in the Witchbound series? Any teasers for readers to look forward to?

Oh, man. More. More magic, more romance, more steam, more evil, more danger. The Nature of Magic is about Tara Kay and is my favorite of the series. Not only does she find her Nephilim, who’s been hibernating on her family land for a thousand years, and awakens and speaks to a goddess, but she uncovers a secret magical world hidden within a magical world! She isn’t the First or the One like Nathalia and baby Genevieve, but she is chosen. Tara Kay is special in a whole new way and her story advances the overall story arch.

These were amazing questions. I had a lot of fun with this interview. I thought about things I haven’t thought about in a while. I started writing this series twelve years ago! You helped me fall in love with them all over again.

About the Author:

Natalie Gibson writes novels filled with otherworldly violence, sexuality, and the supernatural, and she enjoys mixing horror, magic, fantasy, and romance into her writing. Her stories always have powerful females who change the world, magical creatures that battle their baser natures, and seriously evil bad guys who don’t. She resides in central New York with her family.

Available From:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s