This Writer Wednesday, the spotlight shines on Willow Ford!
Also writing as W. A. Ford, Willow’s writing is inspired by her family’s “rich oral tradition” and haunted folklore, both of which resonate in her interview.
Willow does her best writing while accompanied by her black cat, Mystery, whom she made mascot of her publishing imprint, Dark Flame Productions. She’s highly intuitive and her interview felt like sitting down for coffee with a longtime friend beneath the haint blue ceiling of a Southern front porch.
A quick note:
During this interview, you might note that many of the questions include the word “we” as if “we” asked them. Well, we did. This detail is meant to include you, my dear reader, and I do hope you enjoy each interview published to this blog!
Additionally, please note that each interview answer is the author's own words and the interviews in The Intuitive Storyteller blog are intended for informational and educational purposes only.
W. A Ford is an indie author with a lifelong love of reading and writing. She descends from a long line of storytellers and relishes in hearing and sharing family folklore.
About Willow's Book
The Dogwood Grove, Book One in the Children of Gweita
Friedrich des Allmandes is not that unusual for his time and place. A mixed-raced freeman, he gets by on day work and his deceased mother's mystical reputation. On the surface, his life is no different from any other hired hand, but Friedrich has his own mystical reputation. To his mother's people, he is a promised savior who can lead them to freedom, but not until he embraces the spirits of their homeland. To his father's people, he's a ghost... his father's ghost, and they're far more accurate than they know. Friedrich has no plans on following either path until he lays eyes on the most beautiful woman he's ever seen.
Savench lives in a gilded cage built by those who share her blood. Her days are spent serving her well-bred half-sister, but now that they've come of age, their resemblance cannot be ignored. Shunned by polite society, they are shunted into a rural household. All seems well, but behind the scenes Savench is victim to the supernatural forces of their new home. Help comes in the form of a hulking German who promises her an escape from her horrible life. The opportunity is perfect, but is he or anything he promises real? The fate of an entire bloodline rests on the choices made by two people with little understanding of their role in the universe.
And now, the interview:
Willow, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I grew up in a rural family with a rich oral tradition. I can't remember a time when I didn't want to have my own repertoire of stories to share at family gatherings. I've been scribbling stories since I learned to write!
Tell us about the person(s) or event(s) that inspired you to write your latest work.
The Dogwood Grove is based on one of my family's ghost stories. According to legend, there was a dense stand of trees near a shortcut into town. Although it was faster, most people went the long way around due to the entity that attempted to lure travelers into the trees. Anyone foolish enough to investigate would come face to face with their doppelganger.
What is your favorite genre to write and why do these types of stories appeal to you?
I love to write supernatural historical fantasy. My favorite family stories were the ones featuring ghosts (haints!), hoodoo, and otherworldly phenomena.
Do you have a furry familiar? Tell us about them!
Yes, my furry familiar is a cute black cat named Mystery. She's a mild-mannered rescue who likes salmon and naps. Her favorite time to cuddle is when I pull out my laptop to write. Since she's so interested in my writing, I've made her the mascot of Dark Flame Productions, my publishing imprint.
Tell us about your writing schedule and/or a ritual that is necessary for establishing and sustaining your writing mood and endurance.
I write every single day! I prefer to write at night when the world is quiet. I light a candle (usually scented) and put on an ambiance video of either a nature scene, a garden, or a coffeehouse.
Why do you write? How does the act of storytelling affect you?
I write to find connections between the past and present. I write to find my place in the stream of time. Writing relaxes me and helps me remain connected to my heritage.
I write to find my place in the stream of time. —W. A. Ford
Think about yourself back when you first started writing. If you could travel back in time, what would you say to that version of you (about the writing process, publishing, the world, etc.) that might help prepare them for today?
I would advise my younger self to learn more about the craft of written storytelling upfront. My earlier works went unfinished or took forever to write because I didn't know the long-form story structure or understand the expectations of my readers. I was writing based on oral tradition which relies heavily on the venue and audience feedback.
What are your recommendations for fueling your writing energy and promoting inspiration?
I'm a history major, so in addition to reading books in my genre, I read about new historical finds and theories. I also love creating mood boards on Pinterest that contain pictures of scenes, settings, face claims of elements and characters in my book. It helps to visit places that could be in your book.
How intuitive are you and does your intuition affect your writing?
I know my story long before I know the plot. I sit with the concept and build up the details in a free write state then go back and plug them into the expected story structure.
Tell us about your long-term writing and publishing goals.
My goal is to preserve my family's stories. I have twelve more books following The Dogwood Grove.
For what or whom are you most grateful right now and why?
I'm grateful for my ancestors who provided me love and gifted me an inheritance of creativity.
Besides writing, what activities bring you joy?
I enjoy going to the beach, relaxing in the mountains, reading playing cards, and studying the mystical arts.
Which book are you reading right now?
Annalisa, by Forbes Rydell
What’s the best book you’ve read in the past year?
Sorrowland, by Rivers Solomon
Fill in the blank: Magic is...
Magic is the fabric of my soul.
Stay connected with Willow! Here’s where you can find her:
Next Magic Monday, I will continue my Tarot Stories series on the Major Arcana. Next up, The Empress.
In her more than thirty years as a storyteller and visual designer, Amanda “Mandy” Hughes has written and designed over a dozen works of upmarket, literary, and women’s fiction under pen names A. Lee Hughes and Mandy Lee.
Mandy is the founder of Haint Blue Creative, a space for readers and storytellers to explore, learn, and create. Although she earned a Bachelor and Master of Science in Psychology, she has yet to figure out her family, much less herself.
When she’s not writing, Mandy loves going to the movies, theater, traveling, nature walks, birdwatching, margarita-making, and binge-watching The Office. She is a tarot enthusiast who uses the cards to promote wellness and enhance creativity. She lives in Georgia with her husband and four boys, two of whom are furrier than the others (but not by much). Visit her website at haintbluecreative.com and follow her on Instagram @haintbluecreative.