I am a professional actress and voice artist who has always been a storyteller, whether on stage, in front of a keyboard or behind part of my extensive collection of notebooks and pens. Living in Devon, I have a wealth of subject matter on my doorstep.
My first short story (originally written under the pen name Anna Norman and published in the Lovecraft-inspired Secret Invasion, a charity anthology in aid of MIND, in 2015), is based on the landscape and artefacts in and around Dartmoor's Fernworthy Reservoir, one of my favourite places. This story has since been included in the anthology Fairy Tales and Folklore Reimagined, published by Between The Lines in 2017.
In 2016, I accidentally became a playwright, having decided to do something meaningful with the Honours degree in History I achieved from The Open University in 2015. The result was a one-act play, WITCH, which examines the human story behind accusations of witchcraft, focusing on the social conditions and interactions which led to such accusations. It was based on depositions from the 1687 trial of a Lyme Regis housewife. The play, in which I perform alongside my colleagues from our company Circle of Spears Productions, enjoyed a very successful debut season in 2016 in the library at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle (where better to perform a play about witch trials?!) and since then, has gone on to enjoy further success in a number of venues throughout the country, with a lengthy list of performances. It is currently being booked by universities as Theatre in Education and has now been performed more than 75 times - our 75th performance was also our London premiere.
I have been lucky enough to secure a contract with Troy Books in Cornwall for a book based on the research I originally undertook to write WITCH - it will look at the various issues raised in the play, expand on them and examine how theatre may be used to preserve our social history whilst simultaneously making it more accessible.
I published my first children's book in 2017. Written for my daughter in 2010, when she was three, Sammy's Saturday Job has finally been released as a Kindle ebook. It follows the tale of a little dragon who wants to be a firefighter. She gets a chance to help out, but it doesn't go well and she needs to work out how to put things right. It encourages children to persevere and to think creatively about helping others. It also promotes inclusiveness by showing that being different doesn't mean that you have nothing to offer.
Publishing this particular story means a great deal to me because the three year-old I wrote it for became a ten year-old who sat down with me and helped me to work out what illustrations I should draw for it and where they should go. I can't think of a better editing assistant.
In 2018, I began writing for The Moorlander, Dartmoor’s newspaper. You can find me as one half of the Folkmoor column, which I write with my husband Mark, sharing interesting folk traditions from Dartmoor’s history.
In August 2018, I published The Septillion of Hheserakh. This is a collection of short stories in the form of myths and legends from the Empire in which my forthcoming High Fantasy series, The Fire-Eyes Chronicles, is set. This is a companion book to the series and, while it can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone book, the tales enhance the action in the Chronicles. Among other things, you can discover how the world was created, where magic came from, how the elves got their pointed ears and why there is an unusual standing stone right in the middle of the road just outside one of the Empire’s largest southern sea ports.
The Fire-Eyes Chronicles follow the adventures of feisty, independent young elf Aamena. I'm currently working on the first instalment of her story, Dragonheart.
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My websites are www.traceynormanswitch.com
Where can you meet me in 2020?
March 8th - Pink Moon, Queen Street, Exeter, 10am - I've been invited to speak at an event celebrating International Women's Day. I'll be talking about The Witches on your Doorstep, sharing some of Devon's unknown witch cases.
April 17th and 18th - Alexandra Palace, London - I've been invited to give two talks as part of Family History Live! on 17th, I'm discussing Plants, Poultices and Persecution at 1.30pm and on 18th, I'll be talking about The Witches on Your Doorstep at 11.30am. In between times, I'll also be in character as Mistress Margery, demonstrating the wonderful craft of spinning.
April 25th - The Guildhall, Launceston, for Lawrence House Museum - I've been invited to give my talk "Plants, Poultices and Persecution" - ticket link to follow as soon as it's made available. The venue can seat 50, so make sure you book early!
June 6th - Crediton Literary Festival, Crediton Library - along with my Exeter Authors Association colleagues, I'll be at the 2020 Crediton Literary Festival - we'll be releasing the full programme shortly, so watch this space!
June 20th - Vixen Tor Folklore Festival, Exeter Phoenix, 10am til late - I'm speaking about the Dartmoor legend of Vixiana and the demonisation of the witch figure at this brand new folklore festival from Ashley and Sue Thorpe, creators of last November's fantastic Hell Tor Film Festival. This is a day of talks, craft workshops, music, film and theatre, all celebrating the Fierce Women of Folklore. Full programme to be announced shortly, but this will also be an opportunity to see my show WITCH, as we're performing in the evening.
September 2nd - Chawleigh WI, Village Hall, Chawleigh 7.30pm - The Witches on Your Doorstep
September 19th - Bideford - Family History Day - Details TBC
November 14-15 - Hell Tor Film Festival, Exeter Phoenix, 10 am til late both days - details TBA