Monday, May 12, 2014

Of Witches and Wonders... An Interview with Chrissy Lessey

                This week I’m super excited because I had the chance to interview Chrissy Lessey again. Her novel The Coven and the prequel to the novel, The Secret Keepers, just released and so this is the post-published interview.  I had lots of questions about the books and her writing life, so please keep reading to learn more about this very talented author.  More information on Chrissy, her work and how to get in touch with her is below, so keep on reading!

Steph Post: So I’m not going to lie; I never read fantasy or paranormal. Yet I was hooked from the first chapter of The Coven. Did you intend on writing a book that would interest all readers regardless of genre preferences?

Chrissy Lessey: I just wrote the book that I wanted to read.  I honestly wasn’t even aware that I had a whopper of a genre-bender on my hands, until the time came to tell others about it. Is it contemporary or historical? Thriller or paranormal? Women’s fiction or fantasy? I need an “all of the above” category!

SP: You write about Beaufort, North Carolina in a way that really lets your reader imagine the area. Your attention to details made me feel as I was walking down the street with one of your characters. How important was it to you to get the setting right?

CL: Beaufort is a special town, populated with great people. It’s full of colorful history and natural beauty. The history and flavor of the town played a huge role in the development of the story, so I approached my description of the area with the same care I used with the characters.

SP: You also live near Beaufort; have you ever written about a place outside of the Crystal Coast? If not, would you?

CL: So far, my stories have been set on the Crystal Coast because I find the area fascinating. There’s a combination of history, fun, and inspiration here that fuels my imagination. I’m not opposed to using other settings, I just haven’t come up with a story yet that should be set elsewhere.

SP: The Coven centers on a family of witches and while their magical powers are an integral part of the story, the human bonds of family seem to be even more powerful.  How were you able to balance the paranormal and family drama elements of the story?

CL: The balance occurred naturally as I wrote the story and got to know the characters better. The paranormal elements could have easily overshadowed the family relationships and conflicts, but I tried to avoid that. To me, The Coven is more about family than magic.

SP: Can we talk about Charlie for a second? He’s my favorite character, as well as being a well-written autistic child. With the exception of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, I’ve never read a book that had an autistic child as an important character. How important was it to you to get the character of Charlie right?

CL: It was crucial for me to get Charlie’s character right. As an autism advocate, I’ve seen a great deal of misconceptions about the disorder and I’m happy to have this new platform for raising awareness. I wanted to be sure to present Charlie as a whole person, not just a bundle of stereotypical symptoms. It is my hope that readers will get to know (and love) Charlie and, by extension, see real-life individuals with autism in a new light.

SP: So far, in the Crystal Coast series, The Coven and its prequel The Secret Keepers have been released. Can you give us a hint on when the next book in the series will be released? Also, how many books are planned for the series?

CL: I’m still working on the next book, so it’s difficult to predict when it will be published. I’m shooting for Spring/Summer of 2015. I’m planning to do three full-length novels for this series.

SP: Finally, what is the most important thing you want readers to take away from your works?

CL: Hope is a prevailing theme in The Coven, and for me, hope is real-life magic. It makes it possible for us to carry on through life’s challenges. Not all magic involves reducing the laws of physics to mere suggestions.

Want to know more about The Coven? Here’s some details….

Photographer Stevie Lewis is a newly single mom focused on raising her five-year-old autistic son Charlie, and running the business she shares with her best friend. She lives in beautiful Beaufort, North Carolina, within walking distance of her parents. Her mother is the president of the Beaufort Historical Society, and her father enjoys watching Carolina Panthers football.

Although Stevie’s life has its challenges, it is altogether average.

That is until rich, ruthless Vanessa Moore, the bad seed sown by the pirate Blackbeard generations ago, returns to Beaufort, determined to retrieve a magical amulet and exact revenge for her mother’s imprisonment.

It turns out Stevie’s life isn’t so average at all. She learns that the Historical Society is really a coven of witches. Her mother is their queen; and Vanessa is bent on destroying them all.

When Vanessa endangers the life of young Charlie, Stevie’s dormant supernatural powers rush to the surface to save her son. With help from the clandestine coven led by her own mother, Stevie works to master her magical talent. How far will Stevie go to protect her only son?

Chrissy Lessey is an autism advocate who has mastered the art of justifying time spent on the lovely North Carolina beaches. She and her husband have two energetic children and an ill-mannered dog.

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