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Shopping in vintage stores has always been a little frustrating for me, because so many of the clothes are meant for women who aren’t as…*ahem*…voluptuous as I am. But I’ve always enjoyed looking, and getting a sense of different times and approaches to wardrobes.

So, years ago I was meandering through the aisles of a vintage clothing store on Haight Street in San Francisco, enjoying watching the colorful characters both in the store and out on the street, and I thought to myself: what if a certain natural-born witch was searching for a home? Wouldn’t this be a great place for her to settle? The Haight-Ashbury neighborhood may have changed a lot over the decades, but it continues to be a haven for iconoclasts and outcasts, artists and outsiders of all types. It would take a lot for a person to stand out as odd on these streets.

Thus came the first inkling of what would become the Witchcraft mysteries: a misfit witch might well feel welcome in a neighborhood like this one.

As I flipped through old silk gowns and taffeta skirts, crinkly blouses and sequined dresses, I kept feeling the tiniest sense of the people who had worn these items: a young person out on the town, a career woman dressing for an interview, a mother dressing up for a school meeting. How fun would it be if one could really sense the vibrations of the people who had worn these clothes? Or…would there be cases in which one would definitely notwant to sense the history of a particular wardrobe choice?

As a mystery author, my next thoughts quite naturally turned to…murder.

(Some mystery authors feel awkward about their frequent daydreams about homicide, and it doesgive my boyfriend pause when I point out how easily one might push someone down a stairwell, or the best places to hide a body, for example. But I’ll own it.)

Aaaanywaaaay, once I decided that a Haight Street vintage clothing store was the perfect setting for a witch trying to fit in, the next item on the agenda was a witch’s familiar. I considered the proverbial black cat, but as I was researching folklore about witches I read that pigs were often considered suspect because they “root” around and dug things up, and rootwork is a powerful form of botanical witchcraft. My housemate kept threatening to get us a miniature Vietnamese pig, “just like George Clooney” – and voila! Lily-the-witch’s familiar, Oscar-the-pig, was born. Gargoyle-like, Oscar has taken on more than one role in Lily’s Haight Street vintage clothing store.

Looking back, it seems hard to believe that I’m already up to #9 in the Witchcraft Mystery series! In A Magical Match, Lily is up to her witchy ears in trouble when she starts seeing double, and her fiancé Sailor winds up in jail, accused of murder. I hope you’ll follow along with the series, and discover the world of magical mayhem, vintage clothes, and Oscar-the-pig.

And if you find it hard to fit into vintage clothes, just remember: there are always hats, jewelry, and purses!

So, what’s your favorite vintage item?

 

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