Actor Aubrey Plaza is best known for her performance as April Ludgate on the sitcom Parks and Recreation; more recently she appeared in the film Black Bear. Now she has collaborated with Dan Murphy on a children’s book, The Legend of the Christmas Witch (Viking, Nov. 16), with illustrations by Julia Iredale.  It tells the story of Kristtörn, the long lost-sister to Kris Kringle, better known to us today as Santa Claus, and how she came to live on the South Pole, befriended by penguins, and embark on a journey in search of her world-famous brother.

“An original legend is introduced in the familiar style of a fairy tale,” observes the Kirkus review. “In a story that pairs the popular holiday with the pagan background of Yuletide, questions of intolerance and human flaws offer interesting layers to ponder and discuss.… A well-written and thought-provoking tale.”

In this video interview, Plaza—bedecked in a witch’s hat of her own—introduces viewers to the Christmas Witch, whom she calls a “misunderstood character wrapped up in a Christmas bow”;  extols the artwork of Swedish painter John Bauer, whose illustrations of Nordic trolls, elves, and fairies inspired her vision of this tale; and discusses a sequel to this origion story, already written and currently being illustrated by Iredale, in which the Christmas Witch wakes up in the contemporary world.