Behind the Book: Aislinn Brophy’s Inspirations for Writing HOW TO SUCCEED IN WITCHCRAFT
Hi there! I’m Aislinn Brophy, author of How to Succeed in Witchcraft. The book follows Shay, a potions-obsessed witch at a prestigious magical school, who must decide between getting the scholarship for magical university that she desperately needs or exposing the predatory drama teacher who controls the scholarship.
Penguin Teen asked me to share my top inspirations for How to Succeed in Witchcraft. So, without further ado, here they are!
1. These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling. When I was writing How to Succeed in Witchcraft, I was going through a big contemporary fantasy phase! I loved books like These Witches Don’t Burn, which had a realistic setting with an infusion of magic. I also enjoyed the casual queerness of These Witches Don’t Burn, and I was excited to have that element be a part of my book as well.
2. South Florida. I grew up in Boca Raton—I promise it’s not just your grandma that lives there—so I wanted to write a story set in the places where I spent my childhood.
3. In the Heights. While I was drafting, I spent a lot of time listening to this truly excellent musical. The show that Shay’s school puts on in the book is made up of characters that are supposed to be Latinx, though their high school doesn’t have the racial diversity to cast it appropriately. When I think of musicals with primarily POC casts that are frequently done by predominantly white high schools, the first thing that comes to mind is In the Heights. In early drafts, I actually had In the Heights be the show they were putting on, though I changed that in revisions.
4. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. I love what this book does with interconnecting magic, power, and privilege at an elite institution! I wanted to put my own spin on that in a high school setting.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll buy a copy of How to Succeed in Witchcraft, which is out on shelves now!