Writing About Witches in a Christian World

Publishing a book about witches almost broke my Christian friends.


Kidding. Kind of.

Here’s the thing: I was raised a Mormon (yes, we believe in and follow Christ) and I am one now. If you have any questions, you can see stuff ’bout it here, here, and here. I’m an old fashioned kind of gal. I don’t drink, smoke, and didn’t do the pre marital sex thing.

I also write fantasy about witches.

The Beginning

When Miss Mabel’s first came out, my friend Terry, as a kind of aside, mentioned that I’d probably have people who refused to read it because, well, it’s about witches. JK Rowling got it in spades, right? Nobigdeal, guys. NO BIG DEAL.

Yes, that happened as Terry predicted. A lot. Which is totally fine with me.


As Miss Mabel’s School for Girls  continued to do better and better, (check out an awesome Barnes and Noble article that included Miss Mabel’s here) I had more people emailing me about the book. Some of them were really excited . . .

. . . until they found out it had witches. 

Honestly, it’s never bothered me. In fact, that’s their right. I turn away erotica books because I don’t enjoy them or their content. In fact, I totally admire people with that conviction to stand up for what they believe. I know how frightening that can be, so I’d never judge another person for turning away my book because it may clash with their spiritual beliefs.

Image courtesy of CC wikipedia commons

Image courtesy of CC wikipedia commons

That being said, I’ve had a lot of readers ask me what it’s like to write about witches as an active, go-to-church-every-week Christian.

So, for those of you who have asked, here it is:

What it’s like to be a Christian author writing about witches:

I sit down.

I write about imperfect people trying to do good things.

I find things that I struggle with, or I see other struggle with, and I put it to paper.

I infuse magic into my writing because to me, writing is magic.

I eat a couple pounds of brownies. Just kidding. 

I have a few books about Wiccanism that I’ve skimmed and studied and genuinely enjoyed learning from. I celebrate other people’s beliefs. I am not a practicing Wiccan, but I find that their closeness to the earth and seeking to be good and do no harm very inspiring.

I go to church every Sunday.

I still pray every day.

I put characteristics in my imperfect characters that I wish I could embody. Bianca’s pretty tough, and confident, and I wish I could be as brave as her. 

Yep. That’s pretty much what it’s like.

So . . . how do I feel about the book as a whole? 

I feel great about it. Amazing, actually. I’m proud, my husband is proud, my mama is proud. I don’t mention God. I don’t create a Deity for the Antebellum world. I don’t have a Christ-figure in the work. Neither do I have a spiritual warfare kind of battle where God helps Bianca overcome her evil teacher. Bianca overcomes with inner strength, which is also something I believe that God asks of us.

Do I feel like my book takes away from my belief in God?

No, I still feel like God’s okay with how I’ve handled it. I think expanding my talent, living the way I feel I should, and staying close to my Christian beliefs is as acceptable to God as it would be if I wrote a spiritual warfare book.

Am I saying that one or the other is good or bad?


I’m just saying that as a Christian, I write about witches.


Have you turned a book away because it clashed with spiritual or moral beliefs? What was your experience?


  1. Sarah says

    I think you’ve handled it in the perfect way. I’m currently writing a book that has magic/witches/etc. in it and the thought crossed my mind that it may eventually face this same thing. But you wrote Miss Mables’ SO well (loved it!). You can’t ask for more than that.

    I have put down books before, but usually it has to do with too much sex for me… or because it was incredibly boring, but that one is rare and has nothing to do with beliefs.

    • says

      I think that reading to expand our beliefs and insights on how other people think or live is so important. I’ve put down books because of too much sex as well, but I love a book that gives me insights into different things. I read a book on a teenage lesbian relationship the other day and just loved the insights and the overall emotion of the book.

  2. says

    I’ve never turned away a book because of beliefs or morals. I have turned away a book because of subject matter being if no interest to me, though.

  3. says

    Thank you! You bring up some good points. I was raised in a family where I wasn’t even allowed to read Harry Potter because of the ‘dark magic.’ There’s an important to differentiate between real and fantasy. Plus, as a fellow Mormon, I truly enjoyed Miss Mabel’s. :)

    • says

      I was never restricted on what I read, which I am grateful for now, because there are still good messages behind stories like HP. The conquering of good over evil without turning to the darkness. It’s a different kind of spiritual warfare, really.

  4. says

    One of the things that I really appreciate about Miss Mabel’s is the way the magic is handled. Magic is just treated as a natural law that the students learn to manipulate, in the same way that scientists have learned to manipulate physics to give us things like electric light, dishwashers, and smartphones (which may as well be magic, given how little I understand about how any of it works). It makes sense that another world, like Antebellum, could have a different set of natural laws that could allow for mechanistic magic.

    • says

      Yes! Yes, you hit it in a way that I couldn’t quite word. It’s a natural law, a part of life. Not something to be worshipped. Thank you! You always know how to say what I can’t figure out, Catherine 😉

  5. says

    This sounds a lot like being a Christian writing Romance. I get the same thing. And yet, how many people go their whole lives without ever falling in love? Love is a natural part of life, and that’s how I look at it. I see the sexual relationship as sacred, which is why I don’t write erotica, but I don’t ignore sex ether. I’s a natural part of our existence.

  6. says

    I love this post! I’ve had an ongoing argument with my dad about books with witches & magic (mainly Harry Potter) and am always at a loss on how he could hate the idea so much when the stories are about GOOD people and good prevailing over evil. I’m so proud of you! And while I wouldn’t consider myself a go-to-church-every-week Christian, my beliefs are still very important to me but so are books and stories I’ve grown to love over the years. Anyways, I could go on forever on this topic, but yay for this post and yay for you!

    • says

      It’s the triumph of good over evil, really. LOTR. HP. The Bible. All good stories. When magic is used not in a worship sense, and a mechanical sense (as my editor Catherine has commented) then it’s something to improve us or make us happy! The best part of reading is finding a story that can give us magic and take us away.

      Love your freaking face, Manda!

  7. says

    Wow! What an eye-opening post! As someone who is intentionally ignorant of all things religious, I find it shocking that some people don’t read books because it has witches? WTF? I thought people were only against it back in the 1500s or something, not in 2014!

    A suggestion: You could always change the w’s into b’s. :)

  8. LaDonna Cole says

    As someone who grew up an avid reader and under strict rules about do’s and don’t’s, I find there is a definite paradox in what is deemed acceptable and what is not. I remember not being able to read the book Grease, but was encouraged to read a biographical account of a warlock turned Christian (which, btw, turned out to be all lies.) I think we each have to follow our own conscience about what is healthy spiritually and what is not. My kids and I were avid Harry Potter fans and took quite a bit of slack from it from the bandwagon sect. Neither of my kids grew up to be involved in the occult, (unless you count video games and a taste for super hero comics, lol.) I love Miss Mabel’s and any book where good and evil clash in an epic battle. That is what it’s about. The fight, the victory, the failures, the struggle toward something greater than this present darkness. Write on, my Katie. You are doing Him proud.

  9. says

    It is a writer’s privilege to write about what she/he wants to write about. And it is the privilege of readers to choose the book they want to read. I would never turn away a book because it approaches ideas, beliefs different than mine. I would put it down it is derogative, racist, xenophobe, misogyn, and hurts people.
    I applaud you for sticking to your beliefs as a person and a writer.
    And bravo for making it to B&N blog.
    Best to you and your book.

    • says

      Hear, hear Evelyn 😉

      By the way, I have a character named Evelyn who was kind of evil and will show up in a later book, but it in no way reflects on your or how much I appreciate your comments 😉

  10. says

    On the contrary, I think it’s more interesting to read about other beliefs (though I’d probably turn down a book about the joys of eating meat). Never thought that witches could be such a problem for some, though.

    • says

      One of my favorite things about reading is opening up other ways of life and beliefs. I’m cutting back on my meat, hoping to go with one small serving once a day and see how I feel. Are you vegan or vegetarian?

  11. says

    How cool is that to have your book featured in B&N’s article? Congrats! :)

    I was raised Mormon, but I’ve got my own set of ideas on spiritual matters, so I’m not a subscriber to any organized religions. So it’s probably not surprising that I’ve not turned down any books due to spiritual reasons. I will say though, that there have been stories that tend to get “preachy” sometimes, which I don’t like. And this has nothing to do with religion, really. It’s really more of a tone when I feel like the narration is orating to me (about any subject matter) rather than engaging with me. I think my dislike of that is connected to my real-life aversion of being told what to think about things. I suppose that’s a cornerstone of my beliefs: I like to decide for myself. 😉

    At the end of the day, it’s all about respect for one another, even if our beliefs aren’t the same. I love that you do, which makes me respect you even more. :)

    • says

      Sara, I screamed and clapped! I just had a lady email me that bought it after reading the article, too. It was an awesome, awesome moment!

      I agree with you! At the end of the day, it’s about respect. Bottom line.

  12. Michelle Morrison says

    Interesting post. :-) I think it’s important to keep in mind, the characters in your book (and in the Harry Potter books) are fictional. It doesn’t say anything in the Bible about fictional characters in a book being wrong. There is magic and witchcraft in The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Walt Disney movies; I don’t see how that is any different than your book or Harry Potter.

    There are people at my church who sincerely believe witchcraft isn’t good, but they don’t pinpoint books like Harry Potter specifically. They are consistent about it and don’t read or watch anything with witches. I can respect that. It’s the people who condemn books like Harry Potter and don’t have a problem with the Disney movies that I wonder about.

    I didn’t get the idea that Miss Mabel’s was all about witchcraft either; it was as you said about people and the magic was secondary to that.

    • says

      Good points!

      And I’m glad that you didn’t think MMSFG was all about witchcraft, as that obviously wasn’t my intent. As far as inconsistency, you’re right. I can respect anyone who stays away from things they deem against their morals, but at least be encompassing with it. Thanks Michelle.

  13. says

    It is fiction and witches have nothing to do with people being anti-religion, though I know many people think that. It is your escape from reality and your personal religion shouldn’t matter. Keep your head up and keep writing.

  14. says

    OMGosh!! 😛 I loved this post. I’ve been worrying about this for me and my book too, Because I have witches and magic in mine too. Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts. I love reading about your thoughts on writing witches.

    • says

      Oh, sure!

      I think anyone can run up against something like this in writing regardless of what they write. For me, it’s witches. For others maybe it’s sex scenes or romance. I think the important thing is that we treat everyone with respect and understand that one book won’t be right for everyone.

  15. says

    Huh. I don’t see how it makes sense to look at a book that has witches any differently than a book that has, say, thieves. After all, a book with a totally imaginary fictional thief in it is not necessarily advocating theft, right? And reading (or writing) a book with a bully in it doesn’t make you one or mean you think bullying is okay. Once you start ruling out books on the grounds that the characters don’t live the way you do, you’re either halfway into hypocritical territory or else you’re going to end up with a pretty thin bookshelf.

    So write about witches! The thing is, you’re really writing about a young woman with a strong moral compass who faces challenges with grace. The fantasy setting is just icing.

    Of course, I totally respect the choices of readers who prefer not to read about witches (or erotica, or… thieves, for that matter) because it makes them feel uncomfortable or they just plain don’t like those kinds of stories or whatever. I’m not a big fan of people who like to tell other people what they should or shouldn’t read, though.

    • says

      I think, for many of them, it’s more about avoiding the appearance of evil. For example, in high school and college I avoided parties that had a lot of alcohol because I didn’t even want to be there, or put myself in that position. At least, that’s what I’ve understood from them when they explain it.

      Telling other people what to read or not to read? Let me at ’em. 😉 One of the great things about reading is how it can expand our minds and help us understand things that we may not otherwise understand.

      • says

        That makes sense. I completely agree with not going where you don’t want to be, and I guess not reading books with uncomfortable elements is the same kind of thing for lots of people.

  16. says

    Huh. It never even dawned on me that some people might have a problem with witches and how they might contradict them religiously (or whatever).

    It’s fiction. Period. You like the subject matter or you don’t. I don’t really see why anyone would let it bother them enough to not read something, but to each their own, eh?
    Every time I read you, I adore you more. You’re one cool cat, sistah.

  17. says

    Good for you!
    I stay away from close-minded books.
    If the magic helps you illustrate your characters, or the story you’re trying to tell, then of course it should be there. In the end, a good story is a good story, regardless of the devices it uses to become one.

  18. says

    ^ here by way of Beth. I’m a Mormon, too. But… I am very deeply inspired by philosophical Taoism, enough to associate with it, and I don’t see conflicts whatsoever.

    I have family members (kin and in-laws) that identify with Wiccanism. I agree with what you’ve said.

    Also, Stephanie Meyer. People get weird enough about a Latter-Day Saint writing about sparkly vampires, let alone the usual protests from some religious folk about anything fictious with a supernatural theme.

    • says

      Perhaps it’s just because the supernatural tends to have evil worship? Or maybe people just don’t hear about it enough to “become mainstream”? Who knows.

      Bottom line: do what you do. Haters will hate 😉

  19. says

    Hey Katie – once again, congratulations on your continued success with Miss Mabel’s. And how awesome is it to get in anything related to Barnes & Noble? Man, I would be so pumped. Maybe someday, maybe someday.

    Funny … I’ve been meaning to write a similar post. You see, I’m a Christian as well. Church every Sunday, play on the worship team on Sunday mornings much of the time, believe in the power of prayer. But for me, it’s not writing about witches that makes me wonder how people might react. You see, I write horror/dark fiction, and this can run the gamut from serial killers to the supernatural, and pretty much anything else you can think of that any normal human being might find scary (except, of course, for those times when I end up writing flash fiction about love … not sure where those come from :-) Why do I write what I write? I don’t know. I just do. It’s what comes out when I sit down and start typing the keys. I’ve often wondered why I don’t write fantasy, or sci-fi, or just about anything else. But it’s me. I’m a Christian and I read horror/dark fiction, and I have no problem with it, and I know there are many others who do, too. But I know there are plenty of Christians who would never read these kinds of books, and that’s ok.

    I suppose I’ll face a situation similar to yours someday. I’m looking forward to that, because it means I’m starting off pretty good! :-)

    • says

      Maybe someday? Bust that attitude out, friend. You’re going to ROCK Barnes and Noble. Then I’ll say I knew you before you were cool 😉

      If we’re talking about maybe’s, lets talk about you maybe doing a guest post on how to write horror as a Christian. I like it.

      Okay. Go.

  20. says

    I think most people are pretty tolerant. Really, I do. I think the majority of people are totally good with it, but others are more selective. And I often wonder I wrote about witches and magic as well! Why do we write what we write? I’m sure there’s all kinds of subconscious process going on. Which, you know, gives me ALOT of credit for thinking 😉

    Dave, you are going to ROCK it when you publish!

  21. Terry says

    A writer that doesn’t have a menagerie of interests wouldn’t generate a good foundation for the story or wouldn’t be able to be detail-oriented. Being well read is part of being a good writer. Thinking, writing and reading should never be a bad thing. Creative minds should never be stagnant.

    With that said — kudos to Katie.

  22. says

    Hi Katie,

    Thanks for addressing this! Your candor and your heart have shown through and it’s likely that you’ll have many new fans after this post.

    I have to admit I was one who was a little put off initially by the witches. However, your book is on my reading list because it’s important to me to support new authors. And, of course, you now have a new fan.

    Best wishes for continued success!


    • says

      Jenn, you’re so sweet! I’d never ask you to read it if it’s off putting to you, but I hope that when you get into it, you end up liking it despite the magic inside. I definitely appreciate the support. Thank you!

  23. L. Jagi Lamplighter says

    Hey, if you would ever like to guest blog on the blog of a fellow Christian-writer-about-witches, let me know! (Now must go check out your book!)

    (In case you want to check out my blog. I have a writing feature about once a week:
    http://www.ljagilamplighter.com/ )

  24. says

    Yes I do. (About witches, as it happens. Nothing personal. Just… well… suffice it to say I have very good reasons for it.) But I don’t agree with censoring authors who write about them.


  25. says

    Such a great post and discussion. I think that you handled things well. I’m not a religious person anymore but grew up in a very strict Christian home (way more strict than Mormons- and yep, I’m familiar with it) and I think it kind of pushed me the opposite direction. At the same time I do get uncomfortable with things if they are purposely ANTI-Christian, and I also don’t usually read Christian books. I guess I just prefer religion to stay out of my books. I’m neutral to it. But I think you did good. And if people have a problem with it you should just ignore them. It sounds like you are handling it all well though.

    • says

      I think I’m anti anything that’s anti. Well, almost anything. But when it brings a bad vibe into it, regardless what religion or belief it is, I’m not good with that either.

      Apparently you can’t please everyone 😉

  26. says

    Katie, I’m not affiliated with any organized religion and I’m on the fence as to whether God (as in the capital G-God) exists. But if He/She/It does exist, then I’m very happy that you are using the brain that He/She/It gave you :) Obviously, you and Dave are examples of people who have a faith but also a gift for creativity that you and your readers delight in. (Well, maybe I shouldn’t say one would “delight” in Dave’s horror writing ;))
    By the way, I find erotica difficult to fathom as a genre. I am so with you on that one.

  27. Sheena says

    Hi Katie! I met you when you did a book signing at the coffee shop where I worked. I just finished your book – and I loved it! I was raised in a very conservative Christian home, and when my parents come to visit from Pennsylvania…. I hide my Harry Potter books. Because my mom would be horrified – and part of me always felt awful reading “those” kind of books. That being said, I loved what you had to say about being the kind of girl you are (All those things you mentioned in the beginning – yup, me too!) and that you write what you do and why. Thanks for being open and sharing!

    • says


      It’s so lovely to hear from you again! I do indeed remember you. I’m really glad you enjoyed it–I promise not to tell your mom 😉

      I hope to hear more from you. Thank you so much!

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