The Author's Corner
Confessions of a
Spellcraft for Teens
Moonbeams & Shooting
Stars: Discover Inner Strength and Live a Happier More
a Teenage Witch:
TWPT: How typical is it to find the Wiccan path as young as you did? With the dissemination of information being as widespread as it is these days do you think that this will be more commonplace in the future?
I first found out
about Wicca when I was fourteen. The more I learned about the religion, the
more it felt right for me. I am not sure if my experience is typical or not but
I do know that the majority of practitioners I speak with are in their teens
and twenties. What really surprised me was when my first book Spellcraft for
Teens came out, I had received a few
correspondences from young people around ages nine and ten. It goes to show
that people find Wicca during different life stages and that’s okay! I am happy
young adults are investigating spirituality and questioning religion - it
illustrates a positive level of individuality and maturity.
TWPT: Where was it that you received your first exposure to the ideas and concepts of Wicca and how long before you realized that it spoke to your spirit in a more meaningful way than did your previous path?
GR: I learned about Wicca because I
went searching on the Internet. I had wanted to know if Witchcraft and spells
were real. At fourteen I was curious about spirituality. I think at that time
movies, TV shows and books about young Witches were flourishing, but I truly
think that I would have been drawn to the path even if that type of media
wasn't out there. Eventually, after sometime on the Internet I began to
decipher what was fact and what was fiction. It was amazing to me that people
were Wiccan and the more I learned about it, the more I felt it was the
religion meant for me. My family is
catholic but growing up it wasn’t pushed upon me. Holidays like Christmas were
about family togetherness more so than the religious context. I think this less
conservative upbringing helped me avoid feeling guilty about researching a new
path. Aspects of Wicca spoke to my spirit in a way that was so liberating; a
feminine deity, empowering Magick, individual responsibility instead of
patriarchal rules, direct contact with the higher powers and the flexibility
that came with personalization. I can truly relate when someone says they’ve
always been Wiccan at heart.
Tell me about
who it is that you are writing for and what you hope to be able to communicate
to your target audience.
My main readership is
comprised of teens and people in their early twenties. Spellcraft for Teens was
for a younger crowd (about 13 to 16), my second book Moonbeams & Shooting
Stars was for females 16 to 18, now Confessions of a Teenage Witch branches out
covering a wider market 16 to 24 male and female. I keep the gender and age
group in mind each and every time I write. It’s important to me because I want
to give the best advice without talking down yet catering to their needs. As to
communicating a clear message it would be - you are not alone.
Do you ever
see yourself as a bridge between the teens and those who are further along the
path helping each to see the truth of the other?
I do see myself as one of the people bridging
the gap between teens and older, more seasoned practitioners. I don’t think I
am alone in this pursuit. More and more people are recognizing that there is a
break down in dialogue among teens and adult Wiccans. The older generation
sometimes stereotypes young practitioners and teens can’t always relate to
adults. It is my hope that with some effort this will change.
As you get
further from your teen years do you still expect to be writing for a teen
audience or will your writing reflect your personal growth and follow the teens
that you have connected with as they grow older?
I really like writing for teens its something that I want to continue to do in
the future. Mainly because this is an age group in which so much change takes
place and you really struggle to find who you are. I would however like to
transition from YA nonfiction to YA fiction. I recognize that I have a lot to
learn in regard to this type of writing but I am eagerly willing to take it on.
surprised when the publisher accepted your first book for publication? What
were some of your first reactions to the news and the realization that lots of
folks would be reading and evaluating your words?
Your new book
Confessions of a Teenage Witch is currently out on the book shelves and I'm
sure that our readers are wondering who this book is written for in terms of
the content. Beginner, intermediate or advanced practitioner. Who would benefit
from picking up a copy?
GR: Confessions of a Teenage Witch
is mostly intermediate, but I enclosed a Q& A chapter to get beginners more
up to speed. The intermediate aspects come from the issues addressed in the
book; coming out of the broomcloset (expressing one’s beliefs to friends and
family) creating a circle casting, developing your own spells, compiling
various elements for a personalized Sabbat ritual. It’s very much about
building upon skills that one already has and taking those abilities one step
TWPT: Was it difficult to share portions of your personal Book of Shadows during the course of writing Confessions of a Teenage Witch? In what way were you using these excerpts to illustrate your new book?
GR: I think at first I was hesitant. I questioned how much I actually wanted to reveal, but after weighing out the positives and negatives, I decided to follow my intuition and move forth. I didn't add everything, I kept a few parts out because they were too personal. If I didn't open myself up, then I don't think the book would have turned out to be what it has become. I wanted to show a progression of learning to convey humor, honest and openness. I think you can trust someone who says "look these are my flaws. I am not perfect." After all there is no such thing as a perfect Wiccan.
TWPT: You spoke in your new book of the impact of not being allowed to participate in a study group because of your age. You felt rejected by this person who would not let you join because of your age. Don't you think that it is for the teen's protection as well as the adults in the group to have some guidelines about teen participation in study groups or covens even with parental permission?
If the person who
posted the notice had initially clarified that it was for adults only, I
wouldn’t have contacted her, but the notice lead me to believe it was an
informal study/discussion group for anyone to join. Additionally, I had
permission from my mother. It wasn’t a coven, so I felt I should have been able
to attend a discussion group for Wiccans in my area. I see nothing wrong with
creating guidelines and if someone is under the legal age of 18 then parents
should definitely be involved. Out right banning is not fair, especially if an
age requirement isn’t clearly stated upfront.
writing made you a spokesperson for teens following the Wiccan Path? How do you
feel about that responsibility?
GR: I don’t like to think of
myself as a spokesperson but I make an effort to help voice concerns of teens
and try my best to squash stereotypes cast upon young Wiccans. It’s never been
my intention to speak for a whole group but instead I hope my comments spark
discussion and highlight topics otherwise ignored. I take my responsibilities
very seriously because whether intentionally or not what I do/write/say might
effect the way young adult Wiccans are perceived.
When was it
that you started writing seriously with the idea in mind that you would like to
see your material published?
GR: From the beginning I wanted to
send my ideas and experiences out into the world. I started writing book
reviews for an e-zine called Cauldrons & Broomsticks (which is
unfortunately no longer published) from there I realized the age gap of writers
versus who they were writing for. I was driven to develop my own book because I
felt there was a need for a guide that was for teens by a teen. That's how
Spellcraft initially developed and I just continued from there catering my
writing to a young, smart readership.
TWPT: You mention in your book that you are primarily a solitary practitioner but do you ever get out and work with groups on occasion?
As a teen I wasn't
welcome in groups so I focused on solitary work.
Additionally, it can be hard to find practitioners in one's area that you
really jive with. Although, I love being a solitary and will remain one, I can
see myself connecting in a group setting in the future.
What are some
of the unfair criticisms and/or unkind words that you have heard directed at
teens concerning Wicca that are just not true? How would you answer some of
GR: Most critics are about teens abilities and intentions. I've heard things like
"they are only in it for the spells" or "they are too young to
understand." Teenagers are drawn to Wicca for a variety of reasons and
it's just not fair to lump a whole diverse group of people under one negative
(and false) assumption. Additionally, young adults do have the capacity to
understand deep symbolism and philosophy. I've read serious debates held by
teens on my message board, The Wicca Cauldron on the Wiccan Rede and various
other topics relating to the Craft. I really have to say that adults shouldn’t
under estimate the power and intellect of young people!
Tell me about
how your parents reacted to the news that their daughter wanted to follow the
Wiccan path. Is there anyway to work through this situation so that no one ends
up alienated from the other?
GR: My parents are divorced so the reaction I was concerned with was my mom's. I let her know from the beginning that I was interested in Wicca. She was hesitant but only because she didn't know anything about the path. Once I learned enough to explain it clearly then she was fine with the idea of letting me explore further. I recognize that most teens may not have such open-minded parents so I developed a whole section in Confessions of a Teenage Witch to address these concerns. I am not sure if there will ever be a clear cut way to make both parents and teens satisfied, religion will always be a challenging subject.
parents been supportive in your efforts to succeed as an author?
GR: Definitely supportive! In fact
for both Moonbeams & Shooting Stars and Confessions of a Teenage Witch my
mom and I collaborated on the photography. Every black and white photo was planned
and discussed to death. But it was worth it in the end because I love the final
What are some
of the advantages (if any) of starting your path at an early age instead of
coming to it after having spent many years on a different spiritual path?
GR: I think that one of the advantages would be that in your teens you are growing as an individual and take on change naturally. Often religion comes into play, growth and change are part of the process so being young and focusing on religion you mature both personally and spiritually. Plus, there isn't a build up of say, 25 years of another faith competing with Wicca.
several books published so far what are your thoughts on the process of getting
a book out of your head and into a printed format? Was it as hard as you
thought it would be?
GR: Writing a book is a solitary
journey and each author has his or her own method. I usually take several
months to fully formulate a concept, then as I write, I know the exact topics
and chapters. Some days are easy but on other days I have a hard time finding
my "flow." I write from my heart and hope that shows on the page.
Dealing with the
business side of publishing is a lot harder than I first anticipated. Most
writers don't talk about the struggle to obtain respect. I've had disagreements
about covers and constantly struggle to obtain substantial publicity. It's hard
too, because people think I make a lot of money and I really don't. I truly
believe there is a conflict between perception and reality in this line of
Many of the
older practitioners have had to learn to go to the internet for contact and
information but do you think that having grown up as part of the internet
generation has made you more comfortable with the possibilities that the
internet offers for networking and sharing your ideas with the Wiccan/Pagan
community at large?
GR: Almost all of my communication with Wiccans is via the internet. It is a great place for networking and debates. But at the same time there are unscrupulous people who want to take advantage of young people using the guise of Wicca. This is something teens should be made aware of and be on the look out for. When meeting someone offline you should be extra careful. Just because someone says they're a Wiccan doesn't mean they are a good person.
What kinds of
feedback have you been receiving from your readers about your early books and
your latest book Confessions of a Teenage Witch even though it has only been
out a short while? (out July 5, 2005 from Penguin)
GR: I am really happy with the
feedback that I have received from Confessions of a Teenage Witch. I think
teens are relieved to see something new and different. Plus, guys are glad its
not a pink girly cover! Book reviews thus far have been positive and I am very
thankful for that because I have a habit of taking reviews personally. Some
readers who have read my previous books are commenting on how they see I’ve
developed with my writing. That is so very meaningful to hear.
Do you ever
use this feedback in attempt to make your future projects more useful to your
readers and the things they want to read about?
GR: I used a lot of the feedback
from Spellcraft for Teens and my website http://www.copper-moon.com/
Confessions of a Teenage Witch. Had I not incorporated these concepts,
Confessions would be another book entirely. Teens asked for various subjects
and I made sure to put them in!
Do you enjoy
the process of researching, writing and editing your books? Is it more pleasure
or more like work for you and why?
GR: Towards the beginning of
writing my books there is a level of excitement. Its so new and fun, I want to
expand upon outlined ideas. Usually I feel like I have plenty of time. Then
towards the middle I find my stride and am used to the daily grind. At the end,
I worry so much thinking I’ll never get it done, nobody will like it, I want to
rewrite portions, and I am exhausted. When I go through editing after its
written and I am facing a deadline, I am like a walking ghost, I stop making
sense when I talk, I become an insomniac worrying more. Then I finally mail it
to my editor and take a few personal days to come down from the experience. So
it can be a pleasure but there are times where I just get so overworked its
hard to enjoy something that feels more like a burden. This is part of being a
writer, and I just always hope when the book comes out that the hard work was
What are some
of the challenges currently facing teen practitioners and how would you like to
see some of these areas addressed over the coming years?
GR: Coming Out of the Broomcloset
to one's family is one of the biggest challenges for teen Wiccans. Because there
are many misconceptions about this path and a lack of tolerance from other
faiths, it is a big struggle for young adults. Another challenge (as I’ve
mentioned already) is working out conflicts with adult practitioners and
overcoming stereotypes. In the upcoming years I think we’ll see a slow evolving
of tolerance and acceptance. The more that teens step up and say “we
misinformation does the media dole out in regards to what a Wiccan or Witch
would look like or do in regards to their practice and how does that
misinformation mold what teens expect when they first decide to follow the
GR: I think the media follows
what’s profitable; power crazy teens worked for the movie The Craft, the TV
show Charmed is going into its eighth season and Nicole Kidman recently made a
hit with BeWitched. The don’t care about accuracy in fictional portrayals but
they do aim for pretty female actors. The misinformation about magical powers
and effortlessly casting spells can filter into the mind of a person interested
in Wicca. Yet, with some research and awareness facts can be separated from
fiction quite easily. At the very least, these entertainment bits spark
discussion and open the way to saying “hey, that’s not what I do.”
TWPT: Do you find that the real-time chats on the internet help you to have a personal connection with other Wiccans/Pagans around the country even though you might never meet them face to face? Is this a good substitute for face to face meetings or is this simply something that fills the gap when you are isolated? What are the risks of this medium?
with teens over IM or via e-mail are important, they don't just fill a gap in
my schedule. I enjoy hearing feedback and conversing about really life issues.
It's not only across the country either, I speak with a diverse group of young
adults based all around the globe. The best part is helping someone and letting
them know I value their opinion. I can't meet everyone face to face so its a
there any last thoughts you would like to share with the readers of TWPT or
those who might decide to pick up your latest book?
GR: Imajicka, thank you so much! I hope that your web viewers have enjoyed this interview and gotten to know who this Gwinevere Rain chick is. As to you visitors, if you decided to pick up a copy of Confessions of a Teenage Witch, please let me know your thoughts once you've finished reading it, you can contact me through my website http://www.copper-moon.com/ . I always love feedback! Love & Light ~ Gwinevere Rain
TWPT: It was great talking to you and I wish you a long and successful writing career as well. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.