Today I’m happy to share with you an interview with Chrissy Lessey, Autism Advocate and North Carolina author of the fantasy Crystal Coast Series. It’s no secret that I love the natural beauty of our home state, North Carolina (NC). We take a trip or two every year to the beaches of NC that comprise the Crystal Coast.
My oldest son, now a teenager, took his first gleeful steps in the ocean at Atlantic Beach with his great-grandparents and grandparents standing by. We were evacuated by Hurricane Ophelia during our Emerald Isle vacation but first we got some AMAZING photos of the biggest waves we’d ever seen crashing along the shore. My boys marvel at the underwater life at the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.
In the winter, the boys play football on the sand and in the summer, we pack up the sand toys, umbrellas, chairs, plenty of food and park ourselves on the beach till the kids drop. The beaches of the Crystal Coast are always a fun vacation.
Needless to say, I’m always excited when my favorite places are featured in books. I can picture the scene better and watch the story unfold in my mind’s eye. I also love to support local authors so I jumped at the chance to interview Chrissy and have her tell us about herself and her Crystal Coast series.
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Interview with Chrissy Lessy, Autism Advocate & Author of the Magical Crystal Coast Series
1. Have you always wanted to be a writer? What or who inspired you to pursue writing?
I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. Even as a child, I stayed up way past my bedtime getting lost in great novels. This led to a love of writing and a desire to create my own stories at a young age.
2. The beaches of North Carolina are one of our favorite places to visit. My husband and I dream of moving there. What do you love about living at the beach?
Life seems to move at a slower pace here, and I enjoy the laid-back atmosphere. It’s also great to be able to visit the beach whenever I want. There’s something about that crisp, salty air that always makes me smile.
3. Your Crystal Coast series is set in beautiful Beaufort, NC, how do you think the beach setting enhances or sets the mood for your magical novels?
As a writer, I enjoy capturing the sensory experience that comes with being on the water. There are sights, smells, and sounds that are unique to this setting, and I want my readers to experience all of it. Coastal areas seem to have a natural magic about them. Beaufort, with its colorful history and general quirkiness, is a perfect fit for my novels.
4. What are your favorite places to visit in NC or around the world?
I feel very fortunate to live in North Carolina. We have beaches and mountains, and I enjoy all of it. I haven’t traveled internationally yet, but as a history buff, a visit to the UK is high on my wish list.
5. What do you love about writing magical novels? What is the greatest challenge?
Writing magical novels comes with a certain flexibility. When your characters can reduce the laws of physics to mere suggestions, you can get away with quite a lot. The challenge, however, is suspending the reader’s disbelief. I have to ensure that my readers get so absorbed in the story they won’t get hung up on what seems impossible.
6. Your bio shows you’re an autism advocate. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and know the disease is often misunderstood. What do you wish people understood about autism?
I would especially love to see more acceptance in schools and workplaces.
7. What do you hope readers experience from reading your books?
I hope they develop a better understanding of autism and an appreciation for strong female characters. Ultimately, I hope they see that the trials of adversity can often lead to a better version of themselves.
8. Give our readers one tip about overcoming writer’s block or balancing writing with family life.
When writer’s block strikes, I step away from the manuscript. I find it helpful to tackle an organizational project. I can let my mind wander while I clean out a closet and before I know it, my writer’s block is cured. Balancing writing with family life is tricky, especially since most authors work from home. If writing is your job, then you have to treat it as such. It’s important to establish specific “work hours” and stick to them.
9. Can you tell us anything about your next work on the horizon?
I’m currently at work on the third and final book in The Crystal Coast Series*. Stevie has already experienced some tremendous challenges. In the last book, she’ll face her greatest struggle yet.
10. What are your favorite books or who are your favorite authors?
I have many favorites, but I’d say Paula Brackston and Anne Rice are my favorite fantasy novelists. I also enjoy David Sedaris’ essays when I’m in the mood for non-fiction.
About Chrissy Lessy (From Goodreads):
Chrissy Lessey is an autism advocate, a coffee junkie, and an avid reader. Her writing career began fifteen years ago when she penned a weekly humorous advice column for a local newspaper. Her fiction debut was The Secret Keepers*, a historical short story prequel marking the beginning of the Crystal Coast Series. It was quickly followed up by Book One of the series, The Coven*.
A long-time fan of rock music, Chrissy married a talented drummer. She still enjoys hearing him play drums, as long as it’s not in the house. Together, they have two energetic children and an ill-mannered dog.
This post linked up with Mommy Monday Blog Hop
Don’t you just love how Chrissy weaves autism awareness into the story? What other books have you read that made you more aware of what life is truly like for people with autism? What beach books do you love? What magical fantasy books are your favorites? Leave a comment for Chrissy to answer, what do you want to ask her?