In The Line, first book in the Witching Savannah series, our heroine tells us that her family moved to Savannah shortly after the end of the American Civil War. Whenever someone asks me where the Taylors lived before that point, I tell a little lie, a lie that conveys a deeper truth. In the actual backstory, the family came to Savannah directly from Ireland. The lie I enjoy telling, though, is that they came from Providence, RI, beloved home of H.P. Lovecraft. Why lie about something I’ve made up anyway? Because the deeper truth is that my witches have much more in common with Keziah Mason, the titular witch of Lovecraft’s The Dreams in the Witch House, than with any of the other popular fictional witches.
The magic in the world of the Witching Savannah series has many roots, but the deepest is firmly anchored in Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. (Many readers would have picked up on my affectionate homage to Brown Jenkin in Witching Savannah’s second book, The Source.) In my fancy, Lovecraft’s deities, be they the “Outer Gods,” the “Great Old Ones,” or “Elder Gods,” merged together with Zacharia Sitchin’s Anunnaki and Erich Von Däniken’s ancient alien astronauts. These entities melded in my mind to form my version of the old gods, the creatures who meddled in our evolution and gave rise to both witches and those of us who have no magic. After the great rebellion, the line, a magical web of energy, was created by witches to protect us all from these demon gods.
But Lovecraft isn’t the sole inspiration behind the magic of Witching Savannah. A few historical personages also found their way into the brew. Physically beautiful, but spiritually monstrous Maria Orsic, leader of the Vril Gessellschaft, an occult organization that took its name from a work by Edward Bulwer-Lytton—yes, he of the dark and stormy night—plays a role in the backstory, as does a certain unnamed American aviation hero, whose public good guy image covered many dark truths.
The final mystical ingredients were supplied by Jack Parsons, the rocket scientist and occultist, who blew himself up allegedly while performing a magical rite. Parsons was once a protégé of Aleister Crowley and best friend of L. Ron Hubbard, science fiction writer and founder of the Church of Scientology. In life, Parsons attempted to bridge the gap between the occult and science; for me Parsons provided the link between the worlds of Occult Fiction and Science Fiction.