Renee Writes

Author Spotlight: Rise of the Darkwitch by Ziv Gray

Welcome to another Friday Author Spotlight! This week I have Ziv Gray with the first book in her series, Rise of the Darkwitch.

Born in Belfast on the seventy-fifth anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, Ziv Gray writes for inclusion.

Passionate about issues of mental health and LGBTQA+ rights and representation, Ziv seeks to highlight social issues – but can’t resist the allure of sci-fi and fantasy.

Ziv lives in Northern Ireland with husband Barry, rescue Lurcher, and four guinea pigs.


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About the Book


Emmy’s a freak. They call her a Darkwitch. A demon.

All her life as an abused apprentice in Krodge’s Apothecary, she’s wondered: who am I? When the Masvams attack, Emmy loses her home, her mistress, her life – but the changes bring more knowledge about her heritage than she ever dreamed of knowing.

The Masvam crown lies at the tips of Prince Mantos’s fingers, but his brother wants it more. Bandim will stop at nothing to get what he wants. He’ll use dark magic. He’ll even kill.

There’s more to Emmy than the moons’ light shows.

Mantos faces a dark choice: kill his brother, or be killed.

Both must answer the question:

Who are you?

Get it today on Amazon!


Keep reading for an interview with the author:


Why did you decide to be a writer?

I’ve been writing since I was fourteen, and found it to be the best way to cope. I had difficult teenage years, dealing with mental health issues and being queer in a Catholic school. The easiest way to work through my problems was to write. The habit stuck, and sixteen years later, I’m a published author.

What genres do you write?

Young adult fantasy primarily, but also historical fiction.

What inspires you to write?

Helping young people to deal with their own issues. My aim is always to let young LGBTQIA people see themselves in fiction, not as victims, but as protagonists with epic storylines.

How often do you write?

Every day, without fail. Sometimes it’s only a few hundred words, but I do write every day.

How long does it take you to write a novel?

Six months from start to final edit, usually.

What authors and books have most influenced you?

Cliché as it is now, the Harry Potter series. Also David Eddings’s Belgariad and Malloreon books. More recently, George R.R. Martin.

What is the biggest obstacle you face as an author and what do you do to overcome it?

Self-publicising. Self-publishing is essentially easy. You follow the steps and boom, your book it out there. Getting people to actually buy it is the difficult bit, and I’m not very good at getting people to do that.

What made you decide to self-publish?

I decided to be brave and just go for it! It hasn’t been easy and I’m still learning a lot. Essentially, I was fed up of waiting to be found.

What fears do you have about writing and being an indie author? How do you cope with your fears?

I fear I’ll languish in the bottom of the charts until the end of times… Or that I’ll waste a huge chunk of money on advertising that does not thing for me.

What is your writing process?

Bum on seat, earphones on, 25 minute timer set–and go! Repeat until exhausted.

What are you working on now?

The sequel to Rise of the Darkwitch.

What inspired your current work?

It’s turning out to be a YA inspired by Game of Thrones and Harry Potter. Perhaps a strange combination, but there’s magic and murder. Just not as much as in A Song of Ice and Fire.

What was the hardest part about writing your latest book?

I suppose it was having the courage to persevere and get it done. It’s so hard when you have no idea what the outcome will be. There’s nothing worse than seeing ‘zero sales.’

How do you market/promote your work? Have you found something that works really well for you?

I find this to be the most challenging part of the indie publishing process. I’m not good at self-propelled. I’ve found that playing around with my price point has worked to stimulate sales. Also, offering the novel free on KDP for a week was helpful, although I don’t know if I’ll be re-enrolling for another 3 month term.

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