There are at least three books coming out about Salem this year. The Lace Reader is not about witches, though it is difficult to write anything about contemporary Salem and not include something about the witches who didn't exist at all back in the days of the witch trials but thrive here in great numbers now.
I was recently asked to comment on this for USA Today. Click here to read it.
They asked me why writers would choose to create stories about Salem now. At first I wasn't sure. Unlike the other writers, I live in Salem, so for me it was a natural setting. But it was more than that. In one respect, The Lace Reader is a cautionary tale. We live now in fearful times. And just as in the Salem of the 1600's, we have to be careful not to let our fears make us recklessly assign blame and create enemies.
But there is another more optimistic side to the story, and that is the quote they chose to use from my interview for the USA Today story.
I talked about the Harry Potter series, and how those books give children, who are relatively powerless, a feeling that they can change the world. I think this ability to connect with our inner strengths is a very important part of my story as well. Magic and everyday miracles are a very hopeful part of our collective consciousness and thus appear frequently in the stories we tell.
I can't speak for the other authors, but, ultimately, my book about Salem is optimistic. More than anything else, The Lace Reader is about healing our deepest wounds, recovering our strength, and moving on. I can't think of anything more hopeful than that.