Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The History Behind The Skinwalker's Apprentice + Giveaway

Today we are celebrating the release of The Skinwalker's Apprentice by Claribel Ortega with a guest post by author Claribel Ortega and a fab giveaway!

This History Behind
The Skinwalker’s Apprentice

     The Skinwalker’s Apprentice is a book about two witches and the events in their lives leading up to a treacherous race against time that holds the fate of the magical world in the balance. But behind the spells and witchcraft, The Skinwalker’s Apprentice – which is part of the Empire Witch Series – is inspired by real life events and residents of NYC.
     In TSWA, we meet Goody Garlick, a nurse maid who aids one of the story’s heroines Margo Pennyfeather. Goody Garlick was an actual resident of what was then known as Easthampton, Long Island (now East Hampton) and she was accused of witchcraft thirty five years before the Salem witch trials began. This little known story is also shrouded in mystery, as Garlick lived on the island until her death, but no records of her death or burial site has ever been found.
     Aside from Garlick, Lion Gardner, the settlement’s founder is also talked about briefly in TSWA, and one of his direct descendants, Live Pirrotti, contributed artwork to the book.
     For the next book in the series, Emerald Kipp and The Riddle of The Timekeeper, the character of The Timekeeper is inspired by real life New York resident, the late John Votta. Votta was nicknamed The Timekeeper for his daily hobby of shouting the time to NYU students, and helping them stay on time for class. He was a small man of less than five feet tall and was a cherished part of the NYU community.
     Votta passed away in 2012 but through Riddle of The Timekeeper, his spirit lives on in an alternate magical NYC.
     In a New York Times article from 1879, NYC resident Henrietta Snowden was nicknamed “The Witch of East Broadway.” Snowden plays a pivotal role in Riddle of The Timekeeper, and her character is described much like the actual person she was based on – unusually tall, with a penchant for trouble and an array of cats and dogs living in her apartment, all with small silver coins tied around their necks.
     There are many more characters inspired by little known NYC residents weaved throughout the story, with more to come as the series progresses. Author Claribel Ortega also plans to include obscure but magical places in the upcoming books, such as the inspiration behind the iconic yellow brick road from The Wizard of Oz, which is located in Peekskill, New York.

The Skinwalker's Apprentice by Claribel Ortega

New York City 1984: It’s Emerald Kipp’s sixteenth birthday, and nothing has changed. She’s still the biggest loser in school, she’s still trying to find a place for herself and yeah, she’s still a witch. Her last year of high school is turning out to be the worst yet, and Emerald thinks it can’t possibly get any worse. Unfortunately for her, she’s dead wrong.

East Hampton, NY 1658: The Pennyfeathers are the black sheep of their small English settlement. As hard as they try to keep the family secrets just that, the magical bunch just can’t seem to fit in. But when a High Priestess witch chooses 16-year-old Margo Pennyfeather as an apprentice, Margo’s luck finally begins to change. What she doesn’t know, is there’s a lot more to her apprenticeship, and to being a witch, than she could ever imagine

Discover the mysterious beginnings of The Empire Witch Series in The Skinwalker's Apprentice: An Emerald Kipp Novella.

***The Skinwalker's Apprentice Giveaway***

The author is giving away a signed paperback copy of The Skinwalker's Apprentice and a Forever 21 Prize Pack including: posh stackable rings, cameo bow necklace, and shopper tote (design may vary).

To enter, use the easy peasy Rafflecopter form below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is a tour giveaway and winner's will be drawn by the author, agent, or publisher.  Book tour organized by YA Bound Book Tour.


  1. Thanks for the giveaway, Had I not see this I am not sure this book would have gotten on my radar.

    1. I hope you enjoy my book Jacquelyn! Good luck with the giveaway :D

  2. What an interesting idea for a series! I love that you are using actual events for inspiration. I imagine some rather extensive research went into writing this book and then ones to follow!

    1. Katy thank you! I'm glad you think it's interesting. I did so much research, months and months worth, before I wrote any of the book. I often times wrote scenes where they actually took place in NYC, and traveled to places for upcoming books for inspiration as well. Was a lot of fun actually! Also had to make sure everything was accurate for the time period of the 80's in terms of subway lines, stores I mention etc. I think it gives the book an extra layer of depth and I love history so I wanted to make it a part of the story. I hope you get to read it, and I hope you enjoy it!

  3. Interesting info about the book

  4. It sounds really interesting! I myself am a child of the 80's, and back in the day I spent some wild times in NYC. Ahh, the good ole days, hah! I will be looking forward to this one, thanks!