by Kristina Wojtaszek
CHAR is second in a series begun by my novella OPAL, the main character of which is no longer the young queen Opal, but an entirely new character named Luna. Luna came to me in a series of images that caught my imagination and clung. Like the Changing Woman of myth, representing the phases of the moon and the life of a female as daughter, mother and old crone, I glimpsed Luna in a series of roles. I first saw her as a child, barefoot and cloaked in red, standing in the center of a ring of thrones, courageously awaiting her fate at the hands of a powerful few. Next I saw a young woman with skin the color of night, slipping silently from the human world on the wings of a moth (hence the name Luna, which means “of the moon.” Luna is also a species of magnificent moths). But perhaps the most impressive image I had was that of a woman made haggard by her own grief and isolation, living in a house of human bones and charred wood, alone in a world that shunned her, whispered accusations of a witch growing like poison around her.
That last image served as the beginning of CHAR, with the rest of the “witch’s” story unfolding in the heart of the book. Who could love a murderous witch with uncontrollable power?
That was my starting point, because I knew her story was more than the rumors, and I knew that it was her I loved best of all. Perhaps Luna is a shadow of myself, and of all women, who hold the powers of devastation and compassion in a single breath. As Luna walks the wooded paths of her story, learning the quiet language of plants, she struggles to conceal a passion and power that will threaten all she holds dear. Luna is also a scribe, a ruthless pursuer of knowledge through stories, and a writer of her own when what she learns fails to satisfy her. Along the way, she finds herself unsettled in love, caught easily in the webs of affection woven around her, yet struggling to free her wings, unravel her past, and find her own destiny. Shunned and beloved, feared and admired, Luna is the embodiment of Changing Woman’s magical shifting, from child to crone and over again, her light and shadows altering in the night sky.
To tell the truth, I found myself watching the moon instead of my path and got a bit lost in the telling; Luna took over a story I hadn’t initially intended to be hers. Ah, well. Such is the enchantment of a good witch.
Kristina Wojtaszek grew up as a woodland sprite and mermaid, playing around the shores of Lake Michigan. At any given time she could be found with live snakes tangled in her hair and worn out shoes filled with sand. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management as an excuse to spend her days lost in the woods with a book in hand. Now a mother of two little tricksters and their menagerie of small beasts, she continues to conjure bits of fantasy during the rare spell of silence. Her fairy tales, ghost stories, poems and YA fiction have been published by World Weaver Press, Far Off Places and Sucker Literary Magazine. Follow her @KristinaWojtasz or on her blog, Twice Upon a Time.
World Weaver Press
Publishing fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction.