Tarot in Fiction with author TL Brown
Isn’t it amazing when two things you love come together? As an avid reader, I love fiction that includes tarot or witchy business, especially when the representation is accurate and respectful, so when I picked up author TL Brown’s latest release ‘A Thin Witchline Between Love & Hate’, and discovered an amazing new world with witchcraft and tarot, I was hooked.
I gobbled this book down in two sittings, and unable to pace myself, read right through to 1:15am, at which point I immediately messaged the author about her wonderful use of tarot within the story. (Don’t worry, Tracy lives in the USA, so I didn’t disturb her sleep!) During one scene, Lucie, the main character who’s a kick-ass witch, whips out her tarot deck and reads with a nine-card spread called ‘Life Right Now’. Not only did the spread intrigue me, but I immediately began to wonder about its origins, and how the author herself uses tarot within her creative life. Thankfully, Tracy agreed to both an interview, and to sharing the Life Right Now spread with you, my fellow tarot lovers!
Witch politics, maddening men, a desperate demon, and monsters from above blow apart Lucie Bellerose's world. Can she still save her thinning witchline?
The confident witch next door? She’s a hot mess. The reliable, level-headed friend you know you can count on? She’s broken and hiding big lies. The powerful woman who finds herself at the center of an old prophecy? She’s overwhelmed.
Witches hide things.
Lucie Bellerose holds secrets in her heart, fear in her belly, and her Tarot cards close to her chest. She’s a witch among too many men, with too many problems, and one thinning witchline. A tyrannical former teacher who likes to inflict pain? Check. A loyal friend she keeps dragging through hell? Check. A mysterious man who excites her and infuriates her – often in the same 60 seconds? Check. Then there are the expectations of the Congress of Empire Witches, danger lurking behind doors to other worlds, and one psychotic demon who needs to possess her.
And this is only the beginning of Lucie’s problems.
Join Lucie Bellerose as she navigates infuriating men, witch politics, controlling her growing power, a fiery temper, a crazed demon... and 'monsters and beasties' when doors to other worlds begin to open.
Recommended readers: Adults 18+ years
Hello, and welcome, Tracy. Thanks again for agreeing to the interview, and for sharing the intriguing Life Right Now spread!
Thank you, Julie, for inviting me to interview with you. I’m thrilled to share a little about my latest book, A Thin Witchline Between Love and Hate (Book 1, Bellerose Witchline Series) and my thoughts on Tarot with your readers.
To begin, from where did the inspiration for A Thin Witchline Between Love & Hate come?
Two things converged:
One: I’ve wanted to explore a storyline about a single, independent witch approaching 40 years of age who was in the process of rebuilding her life following a challenging time – much of which was caused by her own doing.
Two: I was already writing an unrelated series and had introduced a side character – a witch – named Lucie Bellerose. In that book, Through the Door (Door to Door Paranormal Mysteries, Book 2), Lucie had a small role… But I saw an opportunity to grow her influence in the third and final book of that series, Doors Wide Open. Then I realized Lucie developed a frustrating chemistry with the antagonist in the Door to Door series, the morally-gray John Templeton.
As I was completing Doors Wide Open, I shaped the storyline into a starting point for Lucie’s own series.
John Templeton is certainly morally-gray, but he’s an endearing character all the same! While the story holds a cast of intriguing characters, what drew you into creating a character who’s a witch?
I’ve always been drawn to powerful women in stories (books, movies) who also practiced magic – these were typically the villains, of course. As a child, Sleeping Beauty’s Maleficent was my absolute favorite. I know, Maleficent was a fairy but to my young mind she was a witch – Tinkerbell was a fairy! And it didn’t matter to me that Maleficent was “evil” – I loved the idea of having mastery over one’s craft and building your own power. I also happen to enjoy a good villain. Not sure what that says about me…
Elemental magic has always intrigued me. And while my witch Lucie is loving and kindhearted, she has a wicked temper and recognizes there are many lenses to look through when considering a subject. She doesn’t believe situations are either black or white. Same with people. Even her former teacher, who is a sadist, she respects for his mastery of his craft.
Did your research for Lucie’s magical practices take you down any interesting rabbit holes?
I think any time you are exploring a magical path, whether secular-focused or associated with religious beliefs, the most interesting takeaway ends up being the diversity of opinions as to what is “true” or what is the “right” way to do (or present) something.
Applying a familiar magical path / practice to fiction writing adds another layer of complexity for an author. Breaking the “rules” surrounding a conventional character or a trope is an option, and one I’ve often opted to do.
In my 20s, I met a woman who was remarkably clairvoyant. Even if you are not someone who believes in such talents, the specificity of what she would blurt out was shocking. I spent a lot of time visiting with her and her husband one summer. She also practiced magic and might’ve added a touch of the divine (non-specific) to her rituals.
What I learned is there are many ways to follow one path. And there are always many paths you can choose to follow.
Do you practice any of Lucie’s rituals in your own life?
I tend to identify with fire and earth elements. Lucie’s influence tends to be over fire and light. She’s also a Taurus (earth sign).
Humans are made up of energy (among other things). I think it’s possible for those who are adept to shape and mold their personal energy to interact with the energies given off by other people and other things. Is it magic? Is it science we just don’t understand yet? I don’t have the answer, but the thought excites me. :-)
If you could travel through any door right now, where would it take you, and which door in your house would you use to portal?
Honestly, and this might reveal a bit of my own craziness, but I’d love to door travel into Lucie’s world of The Empire – specifically the fictional city of Matar. I’d use the door to my basement since I no longer have a pantry. (I might’ve given this some thought! Ha!)
Which character would tag along on the ride with you?
If I were to door travel to somewhere other than the Empire, I might take Lucie’s good friend Rabbit. He’s reliable, loyal, and resourceful. He’s 100% trustworthy. And he’s a nice guy.
What do you love most about tarot?
The artwork and the possibilities created by a deck’s art and your brain. You come to Tarot with a question. You prepare yourself to be open, center yourself, and focus on whatever you are bringing to the table.
Your cards and the designations you’ve assigned to placement help you look at your reason for reading (a choice, a challenge, a concern, etc.) through a new perspective.
For me, the cards don’t deliver answers – your brain, inspired by the cards and their positions, help you consider ideas and solutions.
And yes, this can still happen if you are not reading your own cards but are working with a Tarot reader who is seeking to assist you, who wants the best for you, and sets aside their own preferences for a particular answer. I do believe it can be helpful if you work with one Tarot reader you have developed a relationship or connection with over time versus hopping from reader to reader.
Do you use tarot to guide any of your creative processes?
I hadn’t in a long time, but for Lucie’s book, I did pull out my personal deck of Tarot that I only use for myself. I thought a lot about my relationship with the cards – my experience with the cards. There are cards in the deck I dislike immensely – but not because they have inherent power, but because of what they’ve come to mean to me as various points. I tapped into that for Lucie’s book.
Conversely there are cards in my desk that fill me with joy. The artwork speaks to the “me” inside of me… if that makes sense! I have fond feelings for The Hermit and The Magician cards. They made their way into Lucie’s book.
Are you a closet tarot reader, or do you read for whoever will allow you to sling cards?
Ha! I guess I’m mostly a closet Tarot reader. People still have strange ideas about Tarot and some have incorrectly associated it with something evil. To me, that’s laughable. It’s like saying money is evil. No, it’s not. It’s a tool.
Tarot is a tool… A beautiful tool you can use to create a better path for yourself.
As you know, the ‘Life Right Now’ spread really captured my attention. Is the spread one you created yourself?
To be honest, I don’t remember if I saw the spread or if I dreamt it up – which I doubt. It just seems like a placement of cards that makes sense to me:
For our readers, here’s a representation of Lucie’s spread with the querent card (Q: representing the seeker) placed in the centre. Tarot, as art, can get your brain working on your query in light of the cards and positions.
Your motives (drivers)
What influences this
What's going on right now around your immediate self
What influences this
Ideas or perspectives you might not be considering
What influences this
The likely outcome—unless you act—which, by the way, might be a valid choice
What influences this
Have you used this spread to read for yourself or others?
Yes, definitely for myself. I haven’t read for others in a while. In most cases I’ll go with a three-card spread: driver, where you are, what’s a possible outcome.
I prefer the ‘Life Right Now’ spread, however. I will do a Wheel of the Year reading for myself and my husband every fall. I don’t use my own personal deck for him, of course.
What’s next for Lucie, (without spoilers of course!) and will we see more tarot in her next adventure?
Oh, much drama is heading Lucie’s way!
As you know since you read A Thin Witchline Between Love & Hate, in a fit of anger Lucie destroyed a card from her one-of-a-kind deck by setting it on fire. Logically she knew the card had nothing to do with what had happened. However, much like the “Lucie” on that card she destroyed, she felt powerless in the chaos surrounding her. She struck out against something she had come to trust: Tarot.
Yes, Tarot will be in the next book, Crossing the Witchline (Book 2, Bellerose Witchline Series). There are a couple of subplots I’m experimenting with that might find Lucie stepping back into her personal deck of Tarot – literally. We’ll see. ;-)
Do you think tarot gets a good or bad rep in fiction?
Both. But I think there is still a lot of ignorance surrounding Tarot. Unfortunately, some people have assigned provocative and negative descriptions to what Tarot is and represents. Some people are driven by fear and perpetuate the ignorance.
Lucie has a tarot deck created especially for her by an artist friend. If you could have a few of the cards made as book merchandise, which cards would you choose, and why?
First, I’d love to have that WHOLE DECK created for me. That would be fantastic!
But for book merchandise, I had a couple of opposing ideas:
1: One card, The Tower, with burn marks (from Lucie). But, while it might be clever marketing, it’s not really the message about Tarot I’d like to send…
2: Three cards: The Fool, The World (or The Universe, depending on deck), and The Magician… because as long as we are alive, we will experience the beginning and the end, and we probably have more tools at our disposal to make the journey than we think. The Magician lives in all of us!
Tracy, it’s been a pleasure chatting to you! Many thanks for taking time out from your busy schedule to natter with me today. I’m very excited to read the next instalment of Lucie’s adventure, and I’ll certainly be using the Life Right Now spread in my own tarot practice.
Thank you so very much for letting me share my thoughts on Tarot as well as tell your readers about my dear Lucie Bellerose and her new dark fantasy series. I am very grateful for the opportunity!
Writer Tracy Brown lives in the beautiful Finger Lakes of New York dreaming up epic stories and quirky characters who definitely make her life much more interesting. She believes magic still exists; you just need to look in the right places.
Tracy is the author of the Door to Door Paranormal Mystery Series, three books penned under the name T.L. Brown. She released the first book in the Bellerose Witchline Series, A Thin Witchline Between Love & Hate, in March 2022. Although this is a standalone adult dark fantasy series, the first installment picks up the tale following the last book in the Door to Door series, Doors Wide Open. Both series share some of Brown’s most popular characters.
Tracy’s married to one damn amazing man. Together they talk about music for hours, cook up fabulous meals, and raise clever chickens.
You can find Tracy online at:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/T.L.-Brown/e/B08LR3T5KM
Instagram (her absolute favorite place to connect): https://www.instagram.com/writertracybrown/
YouTube Book Trailers: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCs3LICbFDa5m8m2V3ssnjrg
Fantasy Soundtrack for A Thin Witchline Between Love & Hate: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37mc0mnpiZ8WmPqVMBw1y3
If there’s a topic you’d like to see featured in the blog, or have a subject you’d like to chat about as a guest blogger, let me know. Our creative community is wide and deep, so don’t be shy. Come and share your experiences and wisdom with your fellow curious creatives! You can reach me at email@example.com