The Snow Witch
A Portsmouth Novel
by
Matt Wingett

About the book

A woman on the run arrives in a British seaside town, a refugee from a horrifying past. Trapped by a freak blizzard, she finds unexpected kindness from the locals – except for one man who seems hellbent on possessing or destroying her. Unable to leave the icebound city, she is drawn into the lives of its people, whose stories force her to face her own cruel past.

What is she running from? What dark secret does she carry with her? – And how can she escape it if she won’t acknowledge it exists?

The  Snow Witch is a tale of loss, love, murder, obsession and witchcraft, rich in magical scenes that delight, horrify and intrigue.

About the Author

Matt Wingett is a writer, songwriter, playwright and public speaker. A former scriptwriter on ITV’s police show The Bill, he has written short stories, articles for the national press and also works as an advertising copywriter.

Matt has a lively interest in Portsmouth and has published classic histories of the city and literary works associated with it.

His interest in former Portsmouth citizen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle led him to write Conan Doyle and the Mysterious World of Light, 1887-1920, an account of the famous author’s faith in Spiritualism, which was shaped by his life in Southsea.

His desire to set stories in Britain’s only island city – which he considers the perfect setting for fiction – has driven much of his writing, including his novel, The Snow Witch.


Check out an excerpt taken from his book to whet your appetite

ONE cold morning Donitza saw the Red Man at her mother’s window. He stared in through the glass and she screamed, bringing her mother running from the back garden where she had been staring down with growing horror at the column of smoke rising from the valley floor. His face was a shimmering scarlet ball.

Her mother hesitated for a moment then leapt forward as he tried to open the front door. She caught the rough-hewn handle in both hands and pushed her weight against it. With a stern look she ordered her daughter: “The bag I told you to get ready. Get it. We’re leaving. Put on some extra warm clothing, too, Little Sparrow, it’s so cold out there. And bring your violin.” Then, as Donitza scurried to her bedroom, her mother released the door and the Red Man fell into the house.

Donitza heard the heated exchange between them while she scrabbled around in the bedroom for her bag, the man shouting that the Wolves had devoured the village and now they were coming here. He spoke of his wife and children, then broke down and wept in great, deep sobs. Her mother spoke kind words, calming words that after a while made the sobbing subside. When Donitza emerged from her room, carrying a cloth bag adorned with green leaves on a blue background, he was sitting quietly with tears in his eyes as her mother washed the wound on his brow.

A bullet from the Wolves – the Wolf Militia – had grazed his scalp all along the forehead and he was saying quietly that God had saved him. This God, Donitza supposed, was the Potter her mother had mentioned who had made the first man from red clay.

After the wound was dressed, he invited Donitza to kneel with him and give thanks for their deliverance, but her mother snapped at him that now was not the time – instead they should be on their ways. Still he insisted that they pray together, burying his bandaged head and bearded face in his hands. Her mother, furious, ran from the room to gather her things saying to a mystified Donitza, “Do you see the madness in these people?”

While he was still praying, her mother took his shoulders between her hands and shook him roughly, announcing loudly: “Now we must go. There are paths through the woods that will take us to safety.”

Eventually, after what seemed like an age, the man stood up, fortified and strengthened by the moments he had taken to commune with his Creator. In a calm voice he said, “I will go first to make sure it is safe for you women.” Ignoring her mother’s warning, he threw the door open and stepped out on to the snow. He took two steps forward and a hole opened in the back of his head, his blood and brains exploding backwards, spattering the opposite wall of the room.

Donitza thought with an air of unreality that this God of his was an indecisive one.


What People are saying about the book

A haunted and haunting book, infused with humanity at its rawest.

– Andy Paciorek, Folk Horror Revival

…weaves folklore and magic in such a natural way, as to make you believe and want magic like this in your everyday life…

– Grainne Rhuad, Subversify.com

Beautifully realised… Wingett places descriptions on the page as an artist adds images to canvas

– Mark Norman. Author and creator of The Folklore Podcast

…loads to love here: the music, the magic, the archetypes, the seriousness of intent… exquisite in philosophy, pitch and pace.

– Dr Alison Habens, Author, Lifestory


 

The Snow Witch is available as a paperback from £9.99, a hardback for £19.99 and a kindle ebook for £1.99

Amazon UK   /   Amazon US

The hardback is available for a limited time at the same price as the paperback, direct from the publisher.

Between 17th and 21st February 2018, The Snow Witch will be available as a free download from Amazon

 

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