Denise D. Young, fantasy-romance author

PersephoneKnits has a mission statement of positivity and support toward creative outcomes and growth. That doesn’t mean ignoring failures and challenges, but rather going into projects with our eyes and our hands wide open. Part of that is setting intention, and Denise models that beautifully.

From her blog:

  • The release of my Tangled Magic series: four fantasy-romance novellas, starting in May 2019.
  • The launch of my Dark Faerie Tales series: This series of short stories promises fairy tales retold with a twist. Expect dark beginnings with brighter endings. First release, WITCHING HOUR, coming in Autumn 2019.
  • The launch of my YouTube channel: I’m planning guided meditations, poetry, readings from my stories, and more. Launching Spring 2019.
  • I’m planning a blog series called Tarot Tuesdays, with the first Tuesday of every month featuring a post dedicated to discovering the life lessons in the tarot.

She was kind enough to answer some questions about the process of planning, and how Tarot can be used as a tool in writing and creating.

PersephoneKnits: Welcome and thank you for answering my questions! I was intrigued and impressed with how you laid out your planning and vision. I tend to be less methodical, and it shows! It’s something I’ve been trying to work on. Could you give the readers a little insight into your method for setting intentions and paths?

Denise D. Young: In her poem “The Summer Day,” Mary Oliver posed the question, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” In order to set our intentions, we need to know who we are. Our wild, authentic self. And when we have this connection to our wild authenticity, we can clarify our vision for our lives. One of mine is a connection to nature. I’m a Pagan and Witch, and that means I walk a nature-based spiritual path—a path steeped in magic, myth, and symbolism. When I started writing fiction with the goal of publishing, I knew I wanted to imbue my stories with the same magic that sang in my veins. In this way, my intentions, my path forward arose naturally out of my faith.

We’re kind of obsessed with goals in our culture, but I think part of the reason we often struggle to meet them is because we haven’t first thought about the intentions they’re based in, if that makes sense. There’s a lot of effort expended in writing a novel. Even more of our effort is poured into writing a series, if we go that route. I know I wasted many hours of writing trying to write something that was “fun,” but not necessarily in line with my values. Now that I’ve taken time to step back and clarify my vision, I can examine a story idea to see if it’s what I want to work on.

I recommend first writing down your core values in life. Intentions should spring from core values, and goals are mile-markers on our paths that tell us whether we’re making progress.

PK: I feel this. At the turn of the year, I spent some time doing this. I wrote an entire list of mindful declarations about what I wanted my work to reflect. Since then, I’ve found it easier to stay on track and focus with my goals.

You work a lot with Tarot, and I was wondering if you could choose a card that would best represent your characters.

DY: If I had to select a card to represent Cassie and Nick in Tangled Roots, the first book in the Tangled Magic series, I’d say Nick is The Hanged Man and Cassie is most represented in the Three of Cups. Both characters are witches, but they’re in very different places regarding their relationship with magic.

hanged man

The Hanged Man usually is pictured hanging upside-down by one of his feet. This card represents a period of stillness, and a time of listening for answers rather than wandering about blindly searching. When the story opens, Nick is stuck in one of these periods of pause. He’s struggling, though, because such stillness is not always tranquil. As the story opens, we learn that Nick’s entire coven vanished in a tragic accident. Nick is stuck in a state of fear, and he’s thinking of fleeing his hometown of Willow Creek, Virginia, in order to escape this feeling of entrapment. But, before he can leave, Cassie shows up at his door.

Cassie, on the other hand, is a woman out of time. She’s been thrust 45 years into the future with no memory of how or idea as to why she’s there. What she doesn’t know is that the hands of fate are at play. Back in 1974, Cassie was a member of the Willow Creek Coven. She fled a restrictive childhood in which she wasn’t allowed to practice magic and has entered a period of her life in which magic is encouraged, celebrated, and shared.

3 of cups

The Three of Cups represents sisterhood, friendship, connection, and celebration. It’s the joy of experiences shared with kindred spirits, which is very much what Cassie has found in her coven of witches. Sadly, though, when Cassie awakens in 2019, the sisterhood she knew is gone—for now, anyway. But I’d like to think she and Nick have found the potential for the Three of Cups in each other. We’ll just have to see where the story takes us.

PK: I know there are books out there about using Tarot to write. Would you be willing to set up a spread for us that addresses when we feel like we’re spinning our wheels? When the stories aren’t selling or the words won’t come?

DY: Absolutely! I call this one The Writer’s Path. It’s short and simple and can be used at different stages throughout the writing process. It helps whenever you’re stuck in a story and uncertain what’s not working, why it’s not working, or how to fix it.

The Writer's Path Tarot Spread (1)

Before the reading, I recommend taking a minute to center and ground yourself. I’m not a big fan of saying “clear your mind” because I don’t know about you, but my mind is never “clear,” but I like to soften instead. To slow down, focus on my breath, and release tension from my body before I begin. I also say words of thanks to the universe for any guidance they offer. Enjoy!

PK: This is fabulous. Thank you for sharing it here! If people are interested, here are a few posts about how I’ve used Tarot when I’m feeling a fork in the road or when I’m anxious. It can really be a great tool for getting unstuck. And, Denise has opportunities to learn more on her blog.

DY: Thanks so much for having me! It’s been a pleasure! Thanks, everyone, for reading! Stay magical, stay wild, and stay creative!

“If you’ve ever hoped to find a book of spells in a dusty attic, if you suspect every misty forest contains a hidden portal to another realm, or if you don’t mind a little darkness before your happily-ever-after, her books might be just the thing you’ve been waiting for.”

Tangled Roots can be pre-ordered now! Support your indie authors!



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