We had the pleasure of chatting with Philline Harms all about “Love and Other Wicked Things.”
1. What is your inspiration for “Love and Other Wicked Things”?
I have always been drawn to anything witchy; I bought my first deck of tarot cards when I was fourteen and watched every magic-related TV show I could find. The idea for Love and Other Wicked Things started brewing during my last years of high school, and the two main characters almost popped into my head fully formed. After that, it was just a matter of turning all the separate scenes that had been floating around my brain into a comprehensive plot!
2. When developing the characters and plot for the book do you turn to real life experiences for inspiration?
I think for most writers, some part of their real life will leak through into their fiction. I don’t consciously decide to base a character off someone I know, but sometimes little things like specific habits or a turn of speech will pop up. When my mom read Love and Other Wicked Things, she had a field day tracing some of the locations and characters back to places and people in my hometown.
3. What is one thing you want your readers to take away from your work?
Mostly, comfort! I wrote most of this novel during the darkest stages of the pandemic, and Oakriver turned into a cozy, perpetually autumnal safe space that I could retreat to every day. I would be overjoyed if it could be the same for my readers.
4. Could you please share your personal journey on how you first came across Wattpad and what motivated you to start writing there?
I was told about Wattpad by a friend during lunch break in middle school! She was telling me about this site where you could read books for free. When I downloaded it and realized that not only could you read stories, but you could also post your own stories, I started uploading right away because it felt like such a fun, low-stakes way to share my writing.
5. What does the Wattpad community mean to you on a personal level and how has it contributed to your growth as an author?
I honestly don’t think I would’ve written as many novels as I have if it hadn’t been for the Wattpad community. The response from my early readers was what got me to sit down at my desk and write every day. Writing on Wattpad also really helped me hone my craft; you get feedback from hundreds of thousands of people, so it’s like having an entire nation of beta-readers who will let you know which parts of your story are working and which aren’t. Plus, I never would’ve made so many incredible friendships with readers and other writers if it hadn’t been for Wattpad!
6. If you could pitch your story in one sentence what would your pitch be?
A chaotic fire witch and an earth witch who didn’t sign up for any of this spend 356 pages dodging dark magic, but mostly pining for each other.
7. How do you believe platforms like Wattpad can support and uplift voices?
The beautiful thing about Wattpad is that it gives anyone a home for their stories. This way, stories that perhaps wouldn’t be seen as “marketable” in traditional publishing find an incredibly open-minded and enthusiastic audience. When I first signed up at fifteen, I had barely read any queer literature, only to suddenly find myself wading through a whole flood of LGBTQIA+ stories. Wattpad taught me so much about so many different identities and cultures, and I’m so grateful that there’s now a whole publishing division to bring these stories into the traditional book world as well!
8. How did you come up with your title “Love and Other Wicked Things”?
I went through a journey with the title for this book. It had several different working titles: Project Witchcraft (not marketable), The Witches of Oakriver (boring), and then A Buried And A Burning Flame (absolutely impossible to remember and an unintentional tongue-twister). I ended up brainstorming about five titles with my flatmate and making a poll on Instagram to see which one my followers preferred, and Love and Other Wicked Things won!
9. What is your biggest success as a creator?
This is so cliché, but having been able to touch so many readers’ lives in some small way! It still blows my mind that, every day, people choose to spend time reading my words, and that some of those people continue to carry them with them long after the last chapter. Every piece of fan art and every Wattpad comment still just absolutely makes my day.
10. Finally, do you believe your writing journey would have been different if you had not chosen Wattpad as your platform? Can you elaborate on this?
I don’t think I would’ve gotten two books published at twenty-two, for starters! The traditional publishing process seems grueling, and I have a suspicion that it would’ve taken me at least another decade to summon the courage to actually query any of my novels to an agent. I also think that writing on Wattpad really impacted my approach to writing as a craft. It showed me that it’s okay to be utterly self-indulgent with your writing, and that there’s an audience for every novel, no matter how niche it appears. I think the main reason why people love to read on the platform is that the stories on there are bold and trope-y and fun. I hope I can continue to carry that essence with me in my future works.
About the book
Nineteen-year-old Rhia Greenbrook has lived in the sleepy town of Oakriver in a house with three generations of witches her entire life. Rhia draws her magic from the earth and likes to spend her time amongst plants and nature. Her practice is gentle, sacred, and-per her family’s tradition-secret. New-to-town witch Valerie Morgan is looking for answers about her mother’s disappearance from Oakriver seventeen years ago. Without her mother’s guidance, Valerie has cultivated her fire magic on her own and she makes no effort to keep her powers hidden. Although Rhia is immediately annoyed by Valerie’s blatant use of magic, she can’t deny the instant magnetism between them. But amidst their magical connection, a dark presence looms over Oakriver. Unsettling visions from Rhia’s grandmother and dangerous sleepwalking episodes throw into question Valerie’s past and what role her presence plays in the strange happenings. And as Valerie gets tangled up further into the darkness, it’s up to Rhia to tap into the full potential of her power in order to save the town she loves and the girl she’s fallen for.