“This can’t be right,” Delfy Hall, author of The Warlock and the Wolf said to her four dogs after finding out she won the 2015 Nautilus Gold Award in Young Adult Fiction.
She thought it was a mistake, but she continued to read through the email message and realized that she had indeed won, for her first published novel.
Set in 1646 during the Dutch Golden Age, The Warlock and the Wolf captures the life of Mina, an orphan who is an apprentice to a scientist, who occasionally requires her to obtain measurements of animals, which is sometimes hard to do if they are alive. Mina loves animals and will do anything to protect them.
Mina’s life takes an unexpected turn when she is introduced to the world of magic, which she does not believe in. However, when her parents’ murderer is on the loose and is said to be a warlock, she must face him and possibly the truth of what he is.
Warlock is her first published novel, but it’s not her first story.
Hall, who lives in her native Lexington, became interested in writing as a child.
“In my family, we used to give each other poems for gifts for Valentines and birthdays, and so I started writing poetry as a little kid,” she said.
She attended the University of Texas at Austin and earned a master’s degree in writing. She said she studied with “great writers” and said the experience was exciting and fulfilling.
She said her biggest obstacle is “staying focused and carving out time every day for my writing,” but she’s determined to get her work done.
Connecting to an audience also is a problem, as it is with many writers. She said the great number of books on the market makes it harder for readers to discover her work. Fans can connect with her Saturday, when she has a reading and signing at The Morris Book Shop.
Hall said she’s inspired not only by her love of animals — one of her dogs prompted the idea for the wolf in her book — but by her admiration of fantasy and science fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin and spy novelist John Le Carré. Hall said she likes stories that have “elements of adventure.”
Such elements are present in The Warlock and the Wolf, as Mina struggles to do what she thinks is right.
Some her inspiration for the novel was just being outside.
“My friends and I used to run around and pretend that we were hiking through the wilderness and watch all the animals,” Hall said.
She wanted to give animals a voice in a story.
Hall does’nt think she’s like Mina, but they both share a love of animals.
“I think she is probably braver and more adventurous,” Hall said. “She is all the good qualities that I wish I had.”
If you go
What: Reading and signing of The Warlock and the Wolf
When: 3 p.m. June 18
Where: The Morris Book Shop, 882 E. High St.