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Spellcast by Barbara Ashford

It is obviously a sign from above that Maggie needs a change of scene when she is not only fired, but the ceiling of her bathroom collapses on top of her while she tries to take a consolatory bath. She packs a bag and leaves New York City for Vermont, intent on finding a Bed and Breakfast. What she finds instead is the Crossroads Theater and its enigmatic director Rowan.

Spellcast is a fairy tale, and like all the best fairy tales it is dark and dangerous, and examines all of the things about ourselves we would rather not look at. It also glimmers with wide eyed wonder and rustles with restless energy. It is impossible to put down.

Ashford’s love of theater is apparent and will touch everyone who has had the luck to walk across the stage, and everyone who has ever wanted to. She captures the camaraderie of the theater perfectly, with all of its dysfunctions and drama. Her descriptions of things I enjoyed so much when I was younger, my time spent engaged in summer theater, tickled a smile onto my face and marched goosebumps down my arms. It was perfect. And I didn’t realize I had enjoyed theater as much as I had, or that I missed it. It is an amazing author that can appeal to memories that are almost 20 years old and get me to recall them so vividly.

And it isn’t just theater. It is family, and friends, relationships and work and all those little and not so little things that fill our lives and make us who we are.

Spellcast can be a very personal read, if you let it. And I encourage you greatly to do so.

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Author Introduction- Barbara Ashford

 

I do so love talking with authors about what they do. Barbara Ashford’s first book, “Spellcast”, will be released May 3rd, and I managed to snag a few minutes of Barbara’s time so that she could introduce herself, as well as her upcoming book.

Barbara writes-

“I basically cannibalized my life to create Spellcast. Like my protagonist Maggie Graham, I grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, began performing at an early age, continued acting in college, and – after a series of jobs in educational administration – ran away to the theatre.

I performed on the stages of opera houses and elementary school auditoriums, in theatres that had once been barns, churches, and used car showrooms. My days in summer stock inspired the world of the Crossroads Theatre, from the hectic schedule of rehearsing one show during the day and performing in another at night to details like the roadside grill – affectionately known as the Ptomaine Stand – where the actors grab lunch.

Like Maggie, I held down a series of jobs to pay the bills: retail store clerk, accounts receivable manager, merchandising director, and office temp. Like Maggie, I eventually landed at a not-for-profit organization that ran a telephone helpline. And like Maggie, I made enduring friendships during my summer stock days – and found love.

The fantastic elements in Spellcast are purely the product of my imagination, as is Maggie’s family life. But the rest of the novel comes as close to autobiography as I’m ever likely to write.”

Barbara can be visited at her website  www.Barbara-Ashford.com

Spellcast will be released May 3rd, and sounds like an absolutely beautiful blend of urban fantasy and a bit of romance (right up my alley!). I have dabbled enough in theater to know I am awful at it, but I adore reading books that take place with the stage or theater as the setting. There has always been something magical about theater for me- what better backdrop for a fantasy novel could there be?
“Maggie Graham is having a very bad day. First, she loses her job. Then her bathroom ceilingcollapses. Hoping a weekend getaway will restore her spirits, she drives to Vermont – and windsup auditioning for the Crossroads Theatre.

Director Rowan Mackenzie is even odder than the misfits who comprise the company. Whatkind of director casts people in the roles they need? And never leaves the grounds of the theatre?And possesses the power to transform a train wreck of a show into something…magical?

There’s a secret at the Crossroads, and Maggie is determined to uncover it. She never imaginesshe’ll discover secrets about her past that will change her life – and Rowan’s – forever.