Monday, April 29, 2013

The Witch of the South: Spotlight on Mona McGregor

by Jennifer Harlow

Under the guise of writing a story about how to run a successful small business, I was granted an interview with Mona McGregor, propritress of Midnight Magic in Goodnight, Virginia. In truth I had gotten her name from Dr. George Black, head of the F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad, months before as part of a series of articles for Government Secrets Gazette, which is now defunct thanks to budget cuts. Hoping to blackmail or at least get a viable story, I decided to meet with as many supernaturals as possible before I, you know, got caught. Ms. McGregor was the last to accept the invitation. I met her at her two-story Victorian home in her modest yet comfortable living room. Here is a transcription of the conversation:

Jennifer Harlow (JH): Thanks so much for meeting with me. And the tea.
Mona McGregor (MM): You’re in the south now, hon. You step in this house, I’m duty bound to feed and water you, whether you like it or not.
JH: Well, I have always appreciated the kindness of stra—

Two little girls, one about ten and the other a few years younger, come barreling in from the kitchen. [I later learned their names are Sophie and Cora.]

Cora: Aunt Mona! Aunt Mona! Sophie won’t let me have some soda. Tell her I can.
MM: You’ve had enough sugar today. You’re about a sugar cube away from running to California Water only. And don’t disturb us again, okay?
Sophie: Yes, Aunt Mona.

The elder escorted the younger from the room.

MM: Sorry about that. Everything’s a drama. So, we better make this quick before they find more trouble. Ask your questions.
JH: Fair enough. You run a magic shop, Midnight Magic. How did that come about?
MM: I inherited it from my grandmother about ten years ago. It was opened over a hundred years ago by my Great-Great Grandmother Ramona.
JH: So, when you inherit the coven, you also inherit the shop?
MM: Excuse me? What coven?
JH: The one you’re High Priestess of. According to George Black, you have over a hundred witches under your tutelage. You’re the most powerful witch in America, if not the planet. I’ve even heard you could rule the world with one hand and bake a cake with the other all with a gorgeous smile on your face. Kudos.

The witch stared me down for a few seconds.

MM: You’re not here to talk about my store, are you?
JH: Actually I’m compiling a tome on supernaturals such as yourself. I just left Kansas after talking to a telekinetic F.R.E.A.K. I lied on the off-chance you wouldn’t talk to me. Sorry. But George can vouch for me. I’ve known him for years. I’m practically an honorary F.R.E.A.K. Call him. Or Jason and Vivian Dahl, or Anna West. I’ve met them all. Got their stories, now I want yours. Bet it’s a good one. So…from what George tells me, you can control the elements: earth, air, fire, water.
MM: [a long pause] Yeah, I’m a walking natural disaster.
JH: And you’ve been in charge of the coven since you were, what? Mid-twenties if I recall correctly. Quite a responsibility for someone so young.
MM: I’d been groomed to do it almost since birth.
JH: And you’ve lived in Goodnight all your life? Ever want to leave? Give the job to someone else?
MM: Never. Like I said, I was prepared from birth to do it. It’s why I was put on this earth. To help people, to guide them. It’s hard, yes, and sometimes I want to throttle these people, but I keep calm and carry on.
JH: You’re also one of the people in charge of the annual supernatural summit. I would think werewolves, vampires and witches wouldn’t get along.
MM: That’s why the summit is so important. It provides community. Allies. Support. When your existence is supposedly surrounded in secrecy, it’s hard to find people in the same situation as you. It can be quite lonely.
JH: I can imagine.
MM: I doubt it. [a pause] Anyway, we help each other when needed. Co-oporation. I even attend the pack Christmas party. When I’m brave enough.
JH: Yeah, they are an intense bunch.
MM: To put it mildly.
JH: Seems like you have lot on your plate. Shop, over a hundred witches, kids, taking on other supernaturals problems in the spirit of cooperation. When do you find time to sleep? Or date? [She just stared at me. Obviously a sore subject. I cleared my throat.]  So, can all witches manipulate the elements?
MM: Only a High Priestess. All witches can perform spells, create potions and charms though.
JH: What does it feel like when you perform a spell?
MM: Your body goes warm and it’s like your battery is being filled. Then when you release it, it’s like releasing static electricity. That’s all magic is really. Energy.
JH: Ever have any problems with people doing black magic? Raising demons and such?
MM: Not really. Most witches are pacifists. We’re about nature and balance. Violence upsets that natural balance. Goodnight hasn’t had a death by supernatural means in decades. [scoff] We’re not werewolves.
Cora: [in other room] Aunt Mona! I need help with my homework, and Sophie’s being mean!
MM: [rolling eyes] I’m sorry, I’m going to have to cut this short. We have homework, and dinner, and I have a ton of potions still to make not to mention my sister just got engaged so…
JH: No rest for the wicked, right?
MM: [standing] Something like that. I hope you got everything you need.

I stood and was escorted to the door.

JH: Thanks for your time. And the sweet tea.
MM: Just…out of curiosity. Who said that about me? The gorgeous smile and ruling the world thing?
JH: A good reporter never reveals a source, Miss McGregor. But I will say you may not think highly of werewolves, but one sure does think highly of you.

With a wink, I walked off her painted porch. 

To find out more about Ms. McGregor and the town of Goodnight, check out What's A Witch To Do available now.



Beth Groundwater said...

What a great character interview, Jennifer. Really makes me what to learn more about her!

Jennifer Harlow said...

Thanks Beth!