Steph Post: The Beacon is the third and final book in the Crystal Coast series which follows Stevie Lewis, a witch discovering, coming into and ultimately embracing her coven and her powers in the town of Beaufort, North Carolina. The Beacon rounds out Stevie's story and ends on a series-satisfying note, but I can imagine that it must be difficult to wrap up a trilogy. Was writing The Beacon harder than writing its predecessors (The Coven and The Hunted)? Were there any challenges you found specific to ending a series?
Chrissy Lessey: Of all the books, The Beacon was the most difficult to write. I wanted to be sure to deliver an ending that would satisfy the readers who've followed this series from the beginning, so there was quite a lot of self-imposed pressure as I worked. It was also tough to write those final chapters. I've spent six years with this cast of characters. I'm going to miss them.
SP: One of the elements of your series that I most appreciate is the inclusion of the character of Charlie, Stevie's son, and how his diagnosis of autism affects both the normal and supernatural aspects of their lives. What prompted you to create Charlie's character and why do you think he resonates so much with readers?
CL: Charlie was inspired by a loved one who is on the spectrum. It was important to me to present his character as a complete person, not just a stereotypical bundle of symptoms. This was a difficult task given Charlie's communication challenges. I had to rely on his behavior, rather than dialogue, to reveal his personality. I think that's why he resonates with readers. In real life, we know it's actions, not words, that matter most.
SP: The setting for The Beacon and the rest of the Crystal Coast series is Beaufort, North Carolina, making it not only an addictive fantasy series, but a Southern fantasy series. How important is the setting to these novels? Could Stevie's story take place anywhere else?
CL: Beaufort is practically a character in this series. It's quirky, fun, and loaded with colorful history--much like the coven. I can't envision these events happening anywhere else.
SP: All of your novels are page-turners, but I felt that The Beacon really amped up the pace and action as Stevie's saga comes to a climatic end. Was this a deliberate stylistic decision?
CL: Yes, the pacing across the series was deliberate. I wanted readers to experience Stevie's shift from normal life to her wild ride through magical events. At the start of The Beacon, the stakes are already high and the danger is imminent, so a fast pace seemed natural for that story.
SP: You're a regular now at Comic Cons- I believe that as I'm writing this you are actually signing at the Cape Fear Comic Con in Wilmington, NC. Was this Comic Con experience something new for you that came about with the writing of the Crystal Coast series or is it something that's always been a part of your life? And for someone who's never even been to a Comic Con (yes, shameful, I know...) what is it like to sign and sell your books there?
CL: I had only a vague knowledge of Comic Cons prior to becoming a fantasy author. Shortly after my first novel was released, I received an invitation to sign books at a local con. Right away, I felt like I had found my tribe and was absolutely hooked from there on. The fans come to these events with such energy and enthusiasm, it's truly a delight to meet them.
SP: And finally, I know that The Beacon is just now hitting shelves this month, but I have to ask- what's next? Is there another novel in the works or are you planning on taking a well-deserved breather?
CL: I'm already working on something new. I'm straying away from fantasy and heading into Southern fiction, but I have a feeling I'll revisit magical story lines again someday.
Thanks again to Chrissy Lessey for stopping by. Be sure to check out her Crystal Coast series and if you're already fan, pick up a copy of The Beacon now to discover how the series concludes. Happy Reading!