Saturday, May 13, 2017

Author Chat: Crystal Cestari

"With rainbows in my hair and stories in my head, I am a writer drawn to magic in the everyday world.

My debut novel, The Best Kind of Magic, arrives May 16, 2017 from Hyperion. Follow Amber Sand, a magical matchmaker who can actually see true love, as she takes off on a fun and romantic adventure toward happily ever after." (taken from Crystal's

Did you always know you wanted to publish a novel?
Yes! I've loved writing since I was very young. While reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the first time in second grade, I remember thinking, "Wow, someone wrote this. Someone came up with this idea and turned it into an amazing story. I want to do that!" I've been scribbling down stories ever since.

Besides writing or reading, what is your favorite hobby?
I was a big theater and choir kid in high school, and my love for musical theater still burns strong. Though I haven't performed in quite some time, I try to see as many shows as I can, and am a reoccurring soloist in my shower. I recently saw Hamilton and sobbed three separate times.

Are you more of a coffee or a tea person when writing?
Coffee when writing, coffee when working: basically, coffee in the waking hours.

What makes your protagonist stand out from other YA heroines?
Amber's ability to actually see people's soulmates is a different spin for the genre, but one of the things I love most about her is her courage to stand up for what she believes in, no matter what. She sees herself as a crusader for true love, and doesn't mind taking a hit if people disagree with her visions. And she does it all with a snarky sense of humor.

Why did you decide to write about Wicca? Did you have to do quite a bit of research on the subject?
I have always been drawn to stories about magic, and while Wicca is definitely present in this story, it's not the main focus. I researched the beliefs and rituals to see how they would factor into Amber's worldview; since Amber's matchmaker magic makes her a bit of an outcast in her community, it's a world she understands but doesn't fully engage in.

What is your favorite under-appreciated novel?
I recently picked up Wink Poppy Midnight, and was definitely enchanted. The settings and descriptions had such a spellbinding feel; I read the whole thing in one sitting. Any story that teases the possibility of magic is welcome on my shelf. :)

Look for The Best Kind of Magic on May 16!

Amber Sand is not a witch. The Sand family Wicca gene somehow leapfrogged over her. But she did get one highly specific magical talent: she can see true love. As a matchmaker, Amber's pretty far down the sorcery food chain (even birthday party magicians rank higher), but after five seconds of eye contact, she can envision anyone's soul mate.

Amber works at her mother's magic shop--Windy City Magic--in downtown Chicago, and she's confident she's seen every kind of happy ending there is: except for one--her own. (The Fates are tricky jerks that way.) So when Charlie Blitzman, the mayor's son and most-desired boy in school, comes to her for help finding his father's missing girlfriend, she's distressed to find herself falling for him. Because while she can't see her own match, she can see his--and it's not Amber. How can she, an honest peddler of true love, pursue a boy she knows full well isn't her match?

The Best Kind of Magic is set in urban Chicago and will appeal to readers who long for magic in the real world. With a sharp-witted and sassy heroine, a quirky cast of mystical beings, and a heady dose of adventure, this novel will have you laughing out loud and questioning your belief in happy endings. ( (taken from