The best mythic fiction exploring complex psychology

Why am I passionate about this?

All of us bear the scars of emotional wounds, as complex psychology beats at the heart of all relationships. I’ve personally survived the betrayal of a parent, the loss of a child, emotional abuse, and life with an addict who could look me in the eye and lie. These themes resound in my stories. Literature is a safe place to explore and heal our own traumas through the dramatic interactions of our characters. My witch killer is not just “crazy” he’s unraveling a complex psychological past. In standing with our heroes as they meet and conquer evil, in its many guises, we find our way to healing our own trauma. 

I wrote...

To Charm a Killer

By W. L. Hawkin,

Book cover of To Charm a Killer

What is my book about?

When a third witch vanishes from Vancouver, the witches of Hollystone Coven spin a charm to catch the killer. But spells create ripples and in the ensuing chaos, an innocent seventeen-year-old girl gets caught up in the charm. As obsessed with the killer as the killer is with him, High Priest Estrada vows to find the man and stop him. But can Estrada keep up with this killer’s complex psychological game? “I know you.” Tilting Estrada’s head, he ran his fingers softly up his neck, across his jaw, and over his lips, then touched them to his own lips. “Because I love you.”

W. L. Hawkin weaves threads of Macbeth and ancient Irish myth with edgy romance in this mysterious urban fantasy.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of Widdershins

W. L. Hawkin Why did I love this book?

I can’t talk Mythic Fiction without a shout-out to the man who penned the phrase. It’s beyond Urban Fantasy—mythic archetypes, mystery, magic, and toe-curling mayhem. When Celtic fiddler, Lizzie Mahone, gets stranded on a lonely country road at midnight, she has no idea how her life will change. Widdershins is a dark dip into the faerie realm that brings us face-to-face with freakish Bogansnasty-pants faeries with sewer-mouths—faerie courts in shopping malls, and gripping psychological terror when Jilly Coppercorn gets trapped in a sinister world with her childhood abuser. Politics is rampant. At its core is the conflict between the settler fae and the Indigenous animal people. Behind it lurks love and hope. 

By Charles de Lint,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Widdershins as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Widdershins, fantasy author Charles de Lint has delivered one of his most accessible and moving works of his career.

Jilly Coppercorn and Geordie Riddell. Since they were introduced in the first Newford story, "Timeskip," back in 1989, their friends and readers alike have been waiting for them to realize what everybody else already knows: that they belong together. But they've been more clueless about how they feel for each other than the characters in When Harry Met Sally. Now in Widdershins, a stand-alone novel of fairy courts set in shopping malls and the Bohemian street scene of Newford's Crowsea…

Book cover of Empire of Wild

W. L. Hawkin Why did I love this book?

I read this book twice, cover-to-cover and back-to-back. First, to find out what happens to our feisty Métis hero, Joan of Arcand, and then again to savor Dimaline’s lyrical writing. When Mere (her grandmother) is murdered by a wolfish shape-shifting creature—a rogarou—we find ourselves trapped in a mythic Métis world. “A dog, a man, a wolf. He was clothed, he was naked in his fur, he wore moccasins to jig.” Carrying a ground-up salt bone for protection, Joan ventures into the Empire of Wild to slay the rogarou who killed Mere and reclaim her husband. Like her hero, Dimaline is brave and fearless, pouring history, politics, and religion into her cauldron, then stirring with a branch of magic realism and psychological terror. Dimaline is my hero.

By Cherie Dimaline,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Empire of Wild as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most anticipated books of the summer for Time, Harper's Bazaar, Bustle and Publishers Weekly

'Deftly written, gripping and informative. Empire of Wild is a rip-roaring read!'
Margaret Atwood

'Empire of Wild is doing everything I love in a contemporary novel and more. It is tough, funny, beautiful, honest and propulsive'
Tommy Orange, author of There There

'Dimaline turns an old story into something newly haunting and resonant'
New York Times

'An utterly compelling blend of propulsive narrative, starkly beautiful writing and passionate, near dysfunctional love'
Daily Mail

Broken-hearted Joan has been searching…

Book cover of Interview with the Vampire

W. L. Hawkin Why did I love this book?

Rice delves into the beating heart of the myth, illuminating its inner secrets in Louie’s relentless, lyrical monologue. The lonely Lestat makes Louie as his companion then jealously keeps him from meeting other vampires. Such emotional abuse. Finally free, Louie falls madly in love with Armand in Paris. In one of my favorite scenes Armand says, “I want you. I want you more than anything in the world.” This love and longing beats at the ironic core of Rice’s book—Dead Men Loving. In the lunatic Lestat, and the broody Louie, I see shades of my own boys—Estrada and his lover, Michael Stryker. Their relentless psychological game ensues through all five of my novels.

By Anne Rice,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Interview with the Vampire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Anne Rice, this sensuously written spellbinding classic remains 'the most successful vampire story since Bram Stoker's Dracula' (The Times)

In a darkened room a young man sits telling the macabre and eerie story of his life - the story of a vampire, gifted with eternal life, cursed with an exquisite craving for human blood.

When Interview with the Vampire was published the Washington Post said it was a 'thrilling, strikingly original work of the imagination . . . sometimes horrible, sometimes beautiful, always unforgettable'. Now, more than forty years since its release, Anne…

Book cover of Wolf at the Door

W. L. Hawkin Why did I love this book?

Once upon a time in the deep woods, a kind woman invited twelve family members and friends to Thanksgiving dinner. But not burning the turkey became the least of her worries. Wolf at the Door is a kick-ass nightmare, a ghoulish debut novella that will keep you sitting rigid in bed with your eyes and ears wide, long after its done. You may never walk in the woods again. How will our hero save her dinner guests from becoming the main course for two brutally vicious werewolves who just happen to be the neighbors? How well do you know the couple next door?

By Joel McKay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wolf at the Door as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

All Charlotte Deerborn wanted was a nice Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends. Too bad for her no one else wanted to be there. By the time the turkey is carved, old grievances, bad behavior and crass remarks have transformed her dinner party into a disaster. And then a werewolf shows up to do some carving of its own.

Wolf at the Door, winner of the 2022 Global Book Award gold medal for horror, is a fast-paced, absurdist take on modern creature horror, levering humor and action to highlight how one family comes to grips with what really matters in…

Book cover of Coraline

W. L. Hawkin Why did I love this book?

Coraline is a bored little girl who lives in an old gothic house inhabited by eccentric people far cooler than her parents. She is bold, smart-alecky, and curious. That’s how she meets the other mother, the beldame, a monster who can suck a child’s soul out through her eyeballs. She keeps them in a glass marble. All the beldame leaves behind is a filmy shell with black button eyes that she sews in with a long needle and black thread. The beldame is archetypal: D’sonoqua the child-stealer, Cinderella’s abusive stepmother, Snow White’s jealous queen, Hansel and Gretel’s cannibal witch. Every nightmare monster imaginable. How will Coraline outwit the beldame at her own psychological game? 

By Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Coraline as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

"Sometimes funny, always creepy, genuinely moving, this marvellous spine-chiller will appeal to readers from nine to ninety." - "Books for Keeps". "I was looking forward to "Coraline", and I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I was enthralled. This is a marvellously strange and scary book." - Philip Pullman, "Guardian". "If any writer can get the guys to read about the girls, it should be Neil Gaiman. His new novel "Coraline" is a dreamlike adventure. For all its gripping nightmare imagery, this is actually a conventional fairy story with a moral." - "Daily Telegraph". Stephen King once called Neil Gaiman 'a treasure-house…

You might also like...

What You Do To Me: A Novel

By Rochelle B. Weinstein,

Book cover of What You Do To Me: A Novel

Rochelle B. Weinstein Author Of When We Let Go

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Not only am I the author of seven women’s fiction novels, I’m a voracious reader who believes she was raised by Judy Blume and Sidney Sheldon. In our broken home, reading was an escape, a salve for the wound, a place where I felt heard and understood. My novels touch on deep emotions—real and relatable. If I don’t capture that feeling when I’m reading through my drafts, I dig deeper. And that’s the thing about a great book, that gut punch, that slide under my skin, I get you. There’s no better read than the one that pulls the heartstrings and gives you all the feels.    

Rochelle's book list on tugging on every one of your heartstrings

What is my book about?

What You Do To Me follows Rolling Stone reporter Cecilia James on the hunt to find the muse behind a famous love song, all while managing an estranged relationship with her father and boyfriend Pete.

Inspired by Hey There Deliah, the dual timeline stretches across the sunny beaches of 1970s Miami with star-crossed lovers Eddie and Sara, to the glittery music industry of 1990s LA. For music lovers and fans of that first, unforgettable love, What You Do To Me is the story of a love song with equal parts heart and harmony.

What You Do To Me: A Novel

By Rochelle B. Weinstein,

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of This Is Not How It Ends comes a moving novel of two unfinished love stories and the music and lyrics that bring them together.

Journalist Cecilia James is a sucker for a love song. So when she stumbles across a clue to the identity of the muse for one of rock’s greatest, she devotes herself to uncovering the truth, even as her own relationship is falling apart.

While writing an article for Rolling Stone, Cecilia works to reveal the mystery that has intrigued fans and discovers a classic tale of two soulmates separated by fate and circumstance. Rock…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in indigenous peoples, romantic love, and vampires?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about indigenous peoples, romantic love, and vampires.

Indigenous Peoples Explore 33 books about indigenous peoples
Romantic Love Explore 826 books about romantic love
Vampires Explore 268 books about vampires