We’re used to seeing her on the small screen playing Bernice Blackstock in Emmerdale, but Samantha Giles has more than one talent up her sleeve. Her debut children’s novel about a family of witches was a bestseller and has been translated into other languages – and she’s just released the second instalment, Rosemary And The Book Of The Dead.
Like the characters in her books, the actress, 50, identifies as a Wiccan – a follower of a modern pagan religion – and she confesses that she even cast a spell to help meet her husband, Sean Pritchard. But while their daughters – Eve, 13, and Olivia, nine – get involved in her beliefs, she admits her husband thinks it’s “nonsense”.
Here, she tells us about her Halloween rituals, what she loves about writing children’s books and why she’s excited to be playing Bernice once more…
Hi Samantha! Tell us about your books…
I’ve been bowled over by the response to my first, Rosemary And The Witches Of Pendle Hill, and I’m thrilled and overwhelmed to be published overseas. The new book is set a few months after the last one and is all about the Book Of The Dead being stolen from the British Museum. The characters assume the baddie from the first book has taken it as he’s still looking for world domination and wants to release beasts from the underworld. The story follows how the children find the Book Of The Dead and return it to the British Museum.
Are there any themes in it?
It’s all about the fact that we should celebrate being ourselves and that we’re all diverse, unique people, and nobody should have to hide their light under a bushel.
Would you ever turn your hand to adult fiction?
Not at the moment, but I’m sure I probably will at some point. I love the freedom of children’s books. I think you’d have to be a bit more sensible with adult books, whereas I can be a bit wacky with children’s fiction.
You identify as a Wiccan. What exactly does that mean?
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