For Jenny Perinovic, writing needs to be fun. Her delightfully creepy novel A Magic Dark and Bright tells the story of Amelia Dupree, her life in the little town of Asylum, and what happens when she and her neighbour Charlie awaken the ghost of the Woman in White by mistake.
Despite the fact that A Magic Dark and Bright tells Amelia’s story, Amelia was not the original lead.
“Amelia’s voice came to me right away, but she wasn’t telling her own story – she was telling me Charlie’s. It took a long time and many drafts until I could really get a handle on her story. I knew right off the bat that something terrible had happened to her, and because of that, she and Charlie decided to dabble in magic. But so much of her story – including her guilt over her brother’s death, her drama with Ben, and her relationship with her mom – didn’t happen until later,” revealed Perinovic.
The first thought that comes to mind for many hen reading about the Woman in White is the similarity between her ethereal, vaguely menacing presence and that of the well-known Woman in Black.
“People keep bringing up that comparison, but I have to be honest – I’m too much of a wimp to watch horror movies, so I’ve never seen it,” said Perinovic. “I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of spirits trapped in the forest – I grew up in a town a lot like Asylum, and I spent many hours scaring myself silly by making up ghost stories about the woods around my house. The Woman in White definitely grew out of that fascination and evolved with every draft I wrote.”
What makes A Magic Dark and Bright truly different from canyon the novels out there is that it doesn’t fit neatly into any one genre.
“I think it’s primarily paranormal, with a strong romance and elements of suspense. I’ve always had a really hard time fitting it into a neat box – it was too sweet and romantic to be horror, too scary to be romance – but I think all of those elements are integral to the story I wanted to tell,” said Perinovic.
And that’s what’s most important to her: telling the story she wants to tell.
“I once had a classmate tell me that she didn’t think writing should be fun, because writing was art and ‘one should suffer for art.’ I thoroughly reject that idea. Write the books you want to read, tell the stories that make your heart sing, the ones that bring you back to a blank page day after day. If you don’t have fun while writing it, no one is going to have fun while reading it.”
It seems to be working for her. A Magic Dark and Bright has been garnering many starred reviews and people are eagerly awaiting the sequel.
“I’m currently working on three different projects – and I promise, one of them is Book 2 of the Asylum Saga! I’m not done with Charlie and Amelia yet,” assued Perinovic.