Recently, I had the chance to fire a few questions at Pandamoon Publishing author Chrissy Lessey. Her latest novel, Crystal Coast: The Coven, will be released April 30, 2014. In the course of our conversation we learn there is a prequel due out shortly before that, just to whet your appetite and get ready for what sounds like a great storyabout magic, witches and the history of a small costal town in North Carolina.
Here’s a brief synopsis: Photographer Stevie Lewis knows nothing of the magic that is prevalent in her small town. As a newly single mom, she is focused on raising her five year-old autistic son, Charlie, and running a business she shares with her best friend, Lexi. Stevie has no knowledge of her family’s 300-year-old magical legacy or the long-held secrets that haunt her hometown until Vanessa, a dark witch, returns to retrieve a powerful amulet reputed to be in Blackbeard’s recently recovered treasure. While in town, Vanessa also plans to exact revenge on the coven responsible for rendering her mother powerless and locking her away in a mental institution. Determined to shake the coven to its core, Vanessa targets young Charlie as her first victim. When Charlie’s life is threatened, it unlocks Stevie’s dormant power and she discovers that she is a genetic witch capable of reducing the laws of physics to mere suggestions. With help from the clandestine coven led by her own mother and a few eccentric octogenarians, Stevie works to master her newly acquired magical talent. Complicating matters further, her high school crush returns to town and she finds herself torn between beginning a new relationship with him and reuniting with her ex-husband. Time is running short for Stevie and Charlie. Will she have enough skill to take on Vanessa and save her son and her newly found coven? Or will the dark witch Vanessa finally crush the hated coven and rise to power?
Q: Let’s talk about when you were a kid. In school were you a troublemaker, an instigator or the teacher’s pet? Explain.
A: My mother would tell you that I had multiple personalities as a child. At school, my grades were excellent and my behavior (almost always) was beyond reproach. I was definitely the teacher’s pet more often than not. However, at home, I was a serious troublemaker. My poor mother would read those glowing reports from my teachers and say, “They must have you mixed up with someone else.”
Q: How much research do you do before starting a novel? Does the research help develop the plot or do you use it for all background details?
A: I did a lot of research for my last novel. It’s my favorite part of the writing process and it tends to shape my stories in unexpected ways. When I started working on The Coven, I knew that I wanted to include some information about Blackbeard. I didn’t originally intend for the pirate to have much of a role in the backstory. But by the time I completed my research, I realized that I had quite a story line centered around him. This resulted in The Secret Keepers, a short story prequel to The Coven, which will soon be released as an e-book by Pandamoon Publishing in April.
Q: Where do you see yourself at this moment in your life had you never decided to write a book?
A: I am happiest when I’m writing. So, I suspect most things would be pretty much the same, except I’d be a whole lot grumpier.
Q: When writing, I’m sure you hit snags where characters aren’t behaving or the plot just isn’t working. When that happens to me I play video solitaire. What do you do?
A: It depends on the seriousness of the snag. For relatively minor issues, I play a few rounds of Candy Crush. If I’ve got a whopper of a problem, I start organizing stuff. When I hit a major snag while plotting The Coven’s sequel, I organized every single closet in my house plus most of the cabinets. I’m glad I got the plot worked out when I did because I came dangerously close to cleaning out the garage.
Q: When friends, family and even people you barely know at work or wherever else find out you are publishing a book, they expect a gratis copy. It could be a touchy situation. How do handle it?
A: The fact is, my publisher pays for the production of my novel and they own the finished product. I don’t have a huge stockpile of books at my disposal. I would literally have to purchase them in order to give them away. That’s not a good business model at all. I do appreciate everyone’s enthusiasm and I suspect that most people are not aware of the logistics within the publishing industry, so I keep my answer short: I don’t have copies togive away.
About Chrissy Lessey Chrissy Lessey is an autism advocate, a coffee junkie, and an avid reader. Her writing career began nearly fifteen years ago when she penned a weekly humorous advice column for a local newspaper. Since then, she has discovered the joyous torture that is fiction writing. Her debut novel, The Coven, marks the beginning of the Crystal Coast Trilogy. She is currently working on the next installment in the series as well as other projects.