Lets Talk Witches with Joyce & Jim Lavene, Authors of Spell Booked!

Posted October 29, 2014 by Melissa in Author Interview, There are Witches in the Air 2014 | 31 Comments


I am so happy to welcome Joyce & Jim Lavene back to Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf for a Witchy chat! They have the first in a new paranormal cozy series, The Retired Witches Mysteries, out this December and I can vouch for what a great read it is:) Check out yesterday’s post for a great teaser and look for my review closer to release date!


1. Please start by telling us a little bit about yourselves.
My husband, Jim, and I have always been interested in witchcraft, the supernatural, and paranormal. Both of us come from families that had pagans or Wiccans in them. We were both raised with ghost stories and tales of elves, fairies, and lost lands. We have been writing together since 1995, published since 1999, and hope to continue for a long time to come. We have been married more than 40 years and have three children and five grandchildren.

2. When did you first discover your interest in magick & witchcraft and how/when did you decide to incorporate it into your writing?
As I said, we’ve always been interested but it took a while to incorporate it into our work. Our first book with paranormal was The Telltale Turtle with pet psychic Mary Catherine Roberts. We also write the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries with our hunky ghost, Eric Gamlyn. Our new Ren Faire Mysteries have become paranormal too. We also wrote Broken Hearted Ghoul in the Taxi for the Dead Mysteries which is about old fashioned zombies who don’t eat brains. Spell Booked is the first in our Retired Witches Mysteries.

3. Do you believe in magick?
Absolutely! We have seen too many things that can’t be explained by science or coincidence not to believe.

4. What do you hope that readers take away with them after reading your work?
That magic is all around us, in our lives every day. It may not be flashy like you see on TV or in the movies but it a vital, living force in the world.

5. I find it interesting to know what environment authors find most productive… Do you use a pen and paper or laptop? Quiet room at home or bustling café? Basically, what gets your creative juices flowing?
We work on the computer for the most part – either laptop, tablet, or desktop. But we also use a pen and legal pad when necessary. We moved into a large office this year which is fabulous because we finally have all the room we need for everything. Our stories always start with a ride in the country or a walk around a lake where we start talking about the story and characters. Everything else comes after.

6. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
Toughest? Probably when fantasy author Marion Zimmer Bradley told us our work was good but that our work and fifty cents would get us a ride on the subway.
Best compliment? It’s always when a reader tells us he or she cares so much for one of our characters and wants to know when the next book will be out.

7a. What book is currently on your nightstand? And who are some of your favorite authors?
Jim is re-reading all the E.E. Doc Smith science fiction he can find.
I am reading the Dresden Files, book two.
Favorite authors? Marion Zimmer Bradley (despite her critique). Barbara Hambly. Anne McCaffrey. Tanith Lee. Chelsea Quinn Yarbro.

7b. Now to get more specific: What are some of your favorite Witchy reads?
Dresden! The Witches of East End. Harry Potter. Juliet Blackwell’s books. Tonya Knappes.

8. Do you have any favorite Witchy Movies?
Hocus Pocus (all time fav). Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Harry Potter. The Craft.

9. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
We love to explore out of the way places and take plenty of pictures. We spend a lot of time with our family.

10. What do you plan to do for Halloween this year? Do you plan to dress up?
We always dress up! We have a huge Halloween party each year too and go trick or treating. Last year we made a full sized man sandwich for the party! Everyone is encouraged to bring spooky food. But we observe Samhain too with a small, private get-together

11. Do any animals share your life? Please tell us about them.
Quincy Jade Opal is our oldest cat. We found him after his mother had been killed in the road. He was so small. Now he weighs 17 pounds. He’s a black cat with green eyes so we can’t let him near the door around Halloween. Rudi is our rescue dog. He’s part bulldog and mostly mutt. He was abandoned in a park, nearly frozen to death. The vet said he would only weigh 35 pounds but now he’s 80. Maybe it’s us? He’s happiest when Quincy is licking his ears. Stan is our newest cat. We took him in when he was left at a house in our neighborhood. He’s trouble! We call him Stan the Man, Tiger, Trouble Lavene. He’s an orange tabby with a big ruff who likes to have his tummy rubbed.

12. If you were a witch, what one power would you really want to have and what power would frighten you?
Hmm. If I were a witch I would want to fly. How awesome would that be? Scary power would be using death spells.

This or That?
1. Trick or Treat? Treat.
2. Candy or Caramel Popcorn? Candy.
3. Pumpkin carving or pumpkin painting? Carving.
4. Ghosts: Real or Not? Real!
5. The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown or Friday the 13th? Great Pumpkin.
6. Orange or Black? Black.
7. Cats or Bats? Cats.
8. Twilight or Harry Potter? Harry Potter.
9. Snickers or Sour Patch Kids? Snickers.
10. Halloween or Samhain? Both.


The Book

Title:  Spell Booked
Series: Retired Witches Mystery #1
Author: Joyce & Jim Lavene
Age Range: Adult
Genre: Paranormal Cozy Mystery | Witches
Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: December 2nd 2014
Available Formats: Paperback, E-book
Add the book: Goodreads
Buy the book: Amazon | BN |The Book Depository


The national bestselling authors of the Missing Pieces Mysteries summon up the first Retired Witches Mystery in a brand new supernatural series…

Once upon a time in Wilmington, North Carolina, three witches ran a curio shop named Smuggler’s Arcane. But as the years passed, their magical powers started to fade—leaving them no choice but to conjure up a retirement package…

Before they could blink their eyes or twitch their noses, Molly, Elsie, and Olivia somehow became eligible for AARP. But they can’t fly off to Boca Raton just yet. First they must give up their magic, recruit and train three new witches, and pass on their cherished spellbook.

They’ve barely begun to consider potential practitioners when Olivia winds up dead and their spellbook is stolen. To honor their friend and reclaim their spells, Molly and Elsie are about to go wand-to-wand with a dangerous young witch more powerful than the trio was in their prime. And this time they’re going to need more than magic up their sleeves…

The Author

Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.

Connect with the authors: Website | Twitter | Facebook

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31 responses to “Lets Talk Witches with Joyce & Jim Lavene, Authors of Spell Booked!

  1. This is so interesting! I love a good author interview. And this book does look really good – I definitely haven’t heard of it before now, but I’d like to give it a go. I do need more books to add to my witch challenge before the end of the year! Great interview and post! 🙂

    In other news, I have a giveaway going on for a horror novel you might be interested in.

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds
    Tracy (@Cornerfolds) recently posted…HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Author Interview & Giveaway: Imaginary Jack by Kimmi McMy Profile

      • Tarot can be a little harder than oracle cards. Just cause there’s a bit more to it. But it depends on the deck. I have an Angel Tarot deck and it’s really easy but I just use it in an easy way. Traditional tarot is not something I have tried, but I have had readings done for me and they just are harder for me to interpret.
        It’s pretty easy though if you just go in thinking it’s not complicated. The book should explain how to use it. If you have questions just email me. I did a distance reading for a friend yesterday and it was so spot on. Like as accurate as could be. It was my first distance reading but it felt AWESOME to do it and have it come through so clear.
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