Samantha Giles on playing Bernice, practising magic and her very sceptical husband

The actress is a eager practitioner of pagan Wicca magic, so it comes as little shock to find that her e-book is a heart-warming story of thriller, spells, witches and wizards. “I’m a practising hedge witch,” explains Samantha, who sells spell kits by way of her Facebook web page. “A lot of witches work in covens, but a hedge witch works alone, so if I do any spells I do it all on my own.

I make anything from a love spell, for someone trying to find a soulmate, to a cleansing spell for if you’ve just moved house, or you feel that your house has a strange energy.

“I do Change of Luck spells, Sell Your House spells, New Moon needs, safety spells and Phoenix spells, that are for individuals making an attempt to remodel themselves, for instance by making an attempt to shed some pounds.

“The kits contain natural products – crystals, candles, leaves and herbs. I don’t very often make spells for myself, but I keep rosemary by the front door because it’s said to be lucky. It’s something I’ve always been interested in. I love nature and the outdoors and a huge part of Wicca is following the natural cycles of the year.”

Samantha, much-loved for her portrayal of Emmerdale’s widespread Bernice Blackstock, can actually vouch for the effectivity of her incantations, having solid a love spell simply three months earlier than she met her husband Sean, a theatre manufacturing supervisor. Not that Sean himself is a convert to the topic…

“He thinks it’s all a load of rubbish!” Samantha, 49, laughs. “I told him about the love spell after we met. He thought it was nonsense, but that’s fine. Sometimes you clash if you’re too similar.”

Samantha Giles

Samantha sells spell kits by way of her Facebook web page (Image: Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

Samantha started writing her e-book, Rosemary and the Witches of Pendle Hill, in 2017 after a vivid dream by which she was residing in a home with 4 witches and wizards.

“The characters were so clear and detailed that I woke up and thought I’d got to write about it,” she says.

Aimed at eight to 12-year-olds, it tells the story of an actress and two younger daughters, Rosemary and Lois, who share their house with 4 witches. When one of many witches disappears, the 2 ladies set off on a magical, however hazardous journey to search out her. The e-book additionally touches on the well-known Pendle witch trials of 1612, when 11 individuals have been executed after being discovered responsible of homicide by means of witchcraft.

“The Mum is loosely based on me, because she does little spells for people and the girls are based on my two,” says Samantha, who’s mum to Eve, 12 and Olivia, eight.

“There’s a lot of humour in the story and plenty of action and I also brought in the issue of mental health.

“The Dad suffers with melancholy. I’ve acquired shut associates that undergo with melancholy and I had very unhealthy postnatal melancholy myself, so I can draw on that.”

Samantha was working on Emmerdale at the time, so wrote the book over nine months on her days off. It then took a further three years of painstaking determination to get it published.

“It’s extremely troublesome to get a literary agent, I had no thought,” she explains. “People mentioned to me, ‘Oh, you will not have an issue getting a e-book revealed since you’ve acquired a excessive profile.’ But I do not suppose it made an iota of distinction. I did not get anyplace for some time after which as soon as I acquired an agent it was a case of sprucing the e-book and getting it prepared for them to submit it to publishers.”

The novel was rejected by 20 publishers and then lockdown was imposed, so Samantha put the project on the back burner.

But then suddenly in April she received an email out of the blue telling her that Agora Books wanted it.

She says: “I went into lockdown considering there was completely no probability of something occurring and I accepted that perhaps it was by no means going to occur, so it was an actual shock after they have been and needed to publish it fairly shortly.”

Although she is thrilled at her new role as an author, Samantha is hopeful that once social distancing regulations are eased further, she will be able to resume her acting career too. Having landed the role of Emmerdale’s ditsy Bernice in 1998, she initially stayed with the show for four years.

Then she spent three years as nurse Sally Boothe in the much-loved Sunday night drama series Where The Heart Is.

She was then a regular in Hollyoaks for two years, but was tempted back to Emmerdale in 2012, staying for seven years, before leaving last November in a storyline that saw Bernice move to Australia.

The character started out as a barmaid at The Woolpack, but ended up as the landlady after inheriting the pub from a guilty friend who had cheated with Bernice’s fiance. In her Dales years she was married, divorced, had a series of tempestuous failed relationships and opened a beauty salon called Beauty and Bernice.

Samantha won Best Soap Actress at the TV Quick awards in 2000, and was nominated for Sexiest Female at the 2002 British Soap Awards. Just four months after she left, lockdown forced an end to filming on all television productions and while some shows have returned, much filming remains suspended and most theatres are still closed.

Does Samantha regret her decision to leave the security of a soap job when she did? “No,” she says firmly. “I really feel pissed off in regards to the timing, nevertheless it was meant to be.

“I was meant to be at home with the girls and spend time with them. I’ve accepted it and I think I absolutely left at the right time.

Samantha with husband Sean

Samantha’s husband Sean laughs off her love spell claim (Image: Pictures in Mind / Scope Features)

“I’d considered it for a few years. I had a beautiful seven years there, however I actually felt that I’d explored the character and it was time to go on and play another elements.

“I’d maybe like to play a baddie or a bit more serious part. I loved the comedy, but in a way there’s only so much you can do before it feels a bit frustrating that you never get any big stories.

“But by no means say by no means. They’ve left it open, which could be very variety, as a result of as soon as you have mentioned you need to depart, you possibly can’t then ask to not be killed; you need to go along with no matter they need to do.

“But my character has just gone to Australia, so it would be very easy to pop back.”

As effectively as education her daughters at house in Liverpool, Samantha additionally spent a lot of lockdown writing. She’s begun engaged on a sequel to Rosemary and the Witches of Pendle Hill and lately completed one other youngsters’s e-book. She’s additionally been retaining busy with witchcraft commissions by way of her Facebook web page, entitled Samantha’s Spells.

The actress’s curiosity in magic got here from her mum. “When we were younger she had a little bit of a psychic ability and could look in your hand and tell you things,” she remembers.

“As she’s got older that’s gone, but she still gets very strong feelings about people.”

Samantha started to take it extra severely when she discovered herself out of labor after the beginning of her eldest daughter Eve. She started placing spell kits collectively and going spherical psychic festivals to promote them.

Despite stellar success as an actress, she has all the time continued to practise her magic and stays undeterred by the doubters. “Loads of things aren’t scientifically proven are they? But it doesn’t mean to say they don’t work.

“Each to their very own, I say.”

Samantha Giles’ e-book Rosemary And The Witches Of Pendle Hill Agora Books, £6.99, out subsequent Thursday, is obtainable to pre-order on Amazon and out of your native bookshop (appropriate for ages 8-12)

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Keshav Ghoshal

I am an average guy who believes hard work makes everything possible. I completed BE computer science from LPU and can’t find my destiny on that. Music and Writing are the only things which make me happy and satisfied. e-mail: keshavghoshal@trendycow.net

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