YORKVILLE — Brittany Geragotelis has quite the hex life.
The neighborhood author just re-released "Life's a Witch," a young adult romance novel starring a cheerleader witch. The book's July 9 publication underscores the growing interest in Geragotelis' fiction following the January release of "Life's" prequel, "What the Spell?" There's even ongoing talks with producers about movie and television spinoffs.
But Geragotelis' prominence in the world of paranormal literature didn't come without problems.
The lifelong "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" fan faced rejection from publishers for 10 years before inking a contract with Simon & Schuster in 2011, she said.
Geragotelis, who previously edited American Cheerleader magazine, attracted the publishing powerhouse's attention after uploading "Life's a Witch" to Wattpad — analogous to an indie fiction YouTube. After 11 months, 18 million people had read the book, she said.
"Fans were asking me where they could buy it," Geragotelis, 34, said. "I was like, 'Oh, yeah. Why am I not publishing this?'"
So she self-published for three weeks before landing an agent, and then a publisher in a bidding war between four prominent houses, she said.
As part of her three-book deal, Geragotelis released an edited, reworked "Life's a Witch" in July that doesn't differ all that much from the Wattpad version, she said.
The book's main character, Hadley, is a direct descendent of the first woman killed during the Salem witch trials, who is also the most powerful witch in the present day. She and her coven must face off against a rival coven — or face death.
Hadley must also balance her coven's needs with her desires, as "she’s caught up in her feelings for a mysterious guy named Asher, who has plenty of secrets of his own," the Wattpad description notes.
"With everything at stake, can Hadley trust her magic — and her heart?”
Geragotelis said Hadley had to be a cheerleader for acrobatic and leadership purposes.
"I wanted her to be a cheerleader because I knew she was going to have a lot of fight scenes," she said. "I knew that she was going to have to push through pain and have to lead a group of witches."
Geragotelis said she drew inspiration from "Buffy" and "Veronica Mars," a neo-noir series about a teenage private detective.
"I gravitate toward scarred female characters," she said. "Those were the kind of women that I idolized in terms of story telling. Things have happened to them and they've had to persevere."
The third book in the series, "The Witch Is Back," is due out in January.
Meanwhile, Geragotelis is enjoying working on a romance of her own: on April 1, 2013, she married Matthew Gielen. The newlywed admitted that the wedding did have paranormal elements.
"We wrote our own vows," she said, and "we both wound up referencing the zombie apocalypse."