Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Interview with Kate Williams for The Babysitters Coven

The Babysitters Coven (The Babysitters Coven #1)

by Kate Williams
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: September 17th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Witches
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Adventures in Babysitting meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this funny, action-packed novel about a coven of witchy babysitters who realize their calling to protect the innocent and save the world from an onslaught of evil. 

Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it's kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she's good at it.

And lately Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let's just say she owes some people a new tree.

Enter Cassandra Heaven. She's Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria food. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme's babysitters club?

The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra's mother left her: "Find the babysitters. Love, Mom."

Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they're about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.

Can you briefly describe THE BABYSITTERS COVEN and the characters? 

THE BABYSITTERS COVEN is a YA novel is about Esme Pearl, a teenage babysitter with superpowered spells, a pit bull, and a killer wardrobe. When one of Esme’s babysitting charges gets kidnapped on Halloween, she has to call on her best friend Janis, her dog Pig, and the new girl Cassandra to help her find the missing kid, save the world, and get home before the parents do. Esme and Janis love fashion and pop culture, while Cassandra loves fighting and her bad attitude, but what they have in common is that they’re all pretty brave and know their way around the mall. 

Who would you say is your favourite character from the story and why? 

Pig, the dog. She’s actually based off my dog, whose real name is Rosie but who we call ‘the pig.’ Much like fictional Pig, real-life Rosie has a farting problem, a head like a cement block, and the biggest, purest heart on the planet. 

How did the story occur to you? Did you find inspiration anywhere? 

Ok, so this is a long story, but I will try not to meander (too much): Many years ago, Rookie magazine (RIP) published a story by Hazel Cills called “Don’t be a babysitter,” and it was all about horror movies where, to put it gently, not nice things happen to the babysitter. I read that article and thought, “Ha! I should write a YA novel called The Babysitters Coven, where the babysitters fight back because they’re witches.” The idea just seemed really funny to me, plus I’m a pop culture junkie, so I loved the thought of writing something that put a new twist on a referential trope. 

However, for a long time, TBC just stayed as my joke book as I labored under the false pretense that I needed to write something “serious” so that I would be taken “seriously” because writing is “serious business.” I kept trying to write all these different things that weren’t fun to write and that didn’t feel like me and it felt like banging my head against a wall. It was super frustrating, and I got really down on myself because I kept starting projects and not finishing them. I thought that maybe I wasn’t really capable of doing this thing that I’d always said I wanted to do, which was to write a YA novel. 

Then, in 2014, I went to Mexico City, and on Día De Los Muertos, met up with a friend to take a boat through the Xochimilcan canals. We stopped at Isla de Los Munecas, which is this strange little island where the trees are filled with dismembered dolls that are supposedly possessed with the spirit of a little girl who drowned nearby. When the boat stopped, we all put on masks before we climbed out, so that that the ghosts couldn’t identify us and follow us home. (For some reason, I made the decision to use the bathroom there, and it was the most terrifying pee of my entire life because I had to take off my mask to find the toilet in the dark.) After that, we went to a cemetery. It was 3am, but the place was packed with entire families, vendors and mariachi bands. We drank tequila and set off fireworks, and the whole graveyard was filled with incense and smoke and singing. It was one of the most magical nights of my life, and on the boat ride out, I started talking to my friend, who is a director, about writing. He told me that he had learned to go with the ideas that seemed to choose him, instead of chasing the ones that always seemed just out of reach. Right then and there, I decided that I was going to start working on The Babysitters Coven as soon as I got home. I did just that, and five years later, here we are! 

Also, as a I can tell, none of the ghosts followed me home, thank god. 

If you could choose one song to describe your book, which one would it be? 

“Just a Girl” by No Doubt 

If your book was going to be made into a movie, who would play your characters?

Esme would be played by Heathers-era Winona Ryder, Janis would be played by The Cosby Show-era Lisa Bonet, and Cassandra would be played by Girlfight-era Michelle Rodriguez. Brian would be played by Ludacris, Dion would be played by Bobby from Twin Peaks, and Pig would be played by Rosie. 

Fall is here or almost here, and we love to go out and find our perfect cosy spot. What drink and place do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date?

Iced coffee, because Esme drinks iced all year round. And this book is best enjoyed at the mall food court, or while sitting on the curb outside of your favorite thrift store. 

Can you recommend your readers any other books in case they are left hungry for more once they finish THE BABYSITTERS COVEN?

My all time favorite book is “Witch Baby” by Francesca Lia Block. It is ‘90s perfectness. 

What’s next for you? 

Book 2! It has a title and a first draft, and plus new characters and a lot more Pig!

I'm a YA write or die, originally from Kansas but now living in California. 

I've written for Cosmopolitan, NYLON and Seventeen, amongst other magazines, and worked with brands including Urban Outfitters, Vans and Calvin Klein. 

The Babysitters Coven is my first novel, but fingers crossed it won't be my last.


  1. This book is already on my TBR and YA fantasy is my favorite genre.

  2. Sounds like it's full of insights into the youthful covens of today! -- I have added it to my TBR!

  3. Sounds like an interesting read, will definitely be adding it to my tbr!