Growing up in Essex, I suppose it's only natural to write about witches.

That's certainly what inspired Katy Birchall to come up with the idea of her new Teen Witch series of books.

Morgan Charmley is Sabrina the Teenage Witch for a new generation, packed full of comedy and magical mishaps, and throughout the book Katy makes witty references to Essex’s historical links to witchcraft.

She says: "I was obsessed with Sabrina when I was growing up and I suppose watching the new Netflix series, which is a lot darker, I wanted to take it back to the television series, when it was funny.

"Coming from Essex, I knew a little about the witch trials that took place in the county, but when I looked into it a bit more I was amazed at the history.

"It felt completely natural to set the stories in Essex and so there's quite a few familiar place names in there like Manningtree and Frinton."

Katy grew up in Eight Ash Green and went to Holmewood House School before going to a boarding school in Surrey.

She started her writing career as an intern at the Telegraph newspaper, before getting a job on the prestigious magazine Country Life, where she eventually became deputy features editor.

"I was there for five years," Katy tells me, "and that's when I began writing books, the first one coming out in 2015. I still write the occasional feature for Country Life but I'm a full time author now.

"Actually my first published bit of work was a letter to the Essex County Standard when I was 11."

Katy's debut was the first book in the It Girl series back in 2015, and after penning a number of others including the Hotel Royale books, and collaborating with Britain's Got Talent and Strictly judge, Alesha Dixon, on the bestselling Lightning Girl series, she's back with a new set of novels.

In the first book Morgan Charmley has spent her entire 13 years on the planet attempting to prove she has control over her witch powers so that she's allowed to attend a normal school. And the day has finally arrived. But will she be able to make friends and fit in with non-magical teenagers? Can she resist using her powers to make herself popular or turn her teachers into toads? Can she keep her spells a secret?

"I'm hoping to come back home to do some school talks and book signings," Katy says. "Actually it's the favourite part of my job. Having teenagers come up to you and telling me how they love your books, there's nothing better.

"I got an e-mail from one young girl who said that she loved one of my characters because she was clumsy at school too. It made her feel normal and that's a really special feeling to get as a writer. The fact you've connected with a reader or made a difference."

Out now Morgan Charmley: Teen Witch is published by Scholastic priced £6.99, available in all good bookshops.