Interview with Chrissy Lessey, Autism Advocate & Author of The Crystal Coast Series

Interview with Chrissy Lessey, Autism Advocate and Author of the Magical Fantasy The Crystal Coast series. The series tells the story of single mom Stevie raising her autistic son in Beaufort, NC and learns her mother is really the queen of a coven of witches. Stevie's own supernatural powers are activated when her son's life is threatened.

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):

Interview with Chrissy Lessey, NC author of the magical fantasy The Crystal Coast series starring single mother Stevie of an autistic child.

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*.


Chrissy lives on the coast of North Carolina and has mastered the art of justifying time spent on the beach. Whenever she can steal a few minutes away from her responsibilities, she can be found enjoying a good book while listening to the waves crash on the shore.

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.

Follow Chrissy on her website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest pink banner

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?

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55 Comments

  1. Omg now this is something I will have to read. I have a 3 year old, most likely on the spectrum. Too soon for a diagnosis, but is and her therapist all know.

    1. I think it’s great that authors are attentive and try to raise awareness of these “conditions” that are often misunderstood. I hope you get a diagnosis to help your son with his needs. When I was getting diagnosed with RA, I know that waiting for a diagnosis was the hardest part. Once I had it, then at least we could move forward to finding a suitable treatment. As a mom of 3 sons, I imagine it’s a million times harder waiting for someone to help your child. Best of luck and thanks for stopping by.

  2. I love that she includes autism in her books. I think it’s super important that we have diverse characters available in fiction. Everyone should have a chance to identify with a character in a book. I also love that she writes about North Carolina. I grew up in South Carolina and I love both of the Carolinas a lot! What a great place for a setting!

    1. Thanks for commenting Pam. I agree that we need diverse characters in fiction, it helps teach people to be more empathetic and try to understand what others are going through. The Carolinas are beautiful and you’re right these books have a fantastic setting. It makes the book more enjoyable when you can picture it in your mind’s eye and think “hey, I’ve been there!”. It makes the story more real to me so I love reading books set in places where I’ve been.

  3. I love her quote that you have in the opening about seeing people with autism as people first and not a collection of symptoms. What a powerful statement. Great interview. Thank you for sharing!

    1. You’re very welcome Allie, I loved her quote as well. As a patient with a chronic illness, I wish some of my previous doctors saw me as a person and not a collection of symptoms!

  4. Beaches make for awesome book settings. I always feel like I can escape a little bit further at the beach. I just forwarded this link to my cousin who is also an advocate for autism!

  5. Thank you for this insightful interview. I love it when authors take creative licenses and push beyond the boundaries of conventional rules for how things work.

  6. Awesome interview! I love to hear why authors write what they write, and what inspires them. I also love to read about my state in books (maine), it is really fun to visualize those specific scenes.

  7. Crystal Coast sounds amazing. I love going to the beach at least once a year. It gets my sons digging addiction fixed. Better there than at t-ball LOL.

  8. I have always wanted to go to North Carolina. I’ve been to South Carolina once and it was absolutely beautiful. I, like you, love to read books that feature my favorite places to travel. I love to see if the author makes the location real or fictious.

  9. she is amazing! And I love that there are people who contribute so much and I can see that the society in the US is becoming more and more accepting on this issue! Unfortunately people in my country still act as if they were raised in the wild jungle when it comes to accepting others.

    http://www.siniciliya.com

  10. I have never been to North Carolina – but it sounds like I can get a taste of NC through this novel! One aspect I love about reading is the ability to transport the reader anywhere!

  11. This is such a wonderful interview! I am not familiar with her work, but I am going to check it out now! Thank you!

  12. I drove through NC this summer but we stuck to the Appalachian Trail. I lived on a beach for many years and can totally relate to the author saying how life was slower. There is something about the ocean that just relaxes and inspires.

  13. That is such a great interview. In my PhD research, I had to conduct several interviews of project managers and I conducted surveys. It was fascinating how much I learned in the process. Interviewing skill is really hard to master. You did a great job here and looks like you enjoyed it as well!

  14. Thanks for the post! My son was diagnosed with Asperger’s when he was 3. You’d never know by interacting with him, as he feel he has it very mildly, I can relate to the topic. I’ll have to check these out!

  15. Chrissy is so inspiring! I would also love to live in North Carolina! I’ve always thought it would be the perfect place because of the beach being right there. Great interview!

    1. Yes, she is inspiring. I thought it unique her bringing awareness about living with autism through her characters. Oh, NC is gorgeous. We’ve got gorgeous beaches and breathtaking mountains on either side of the state. I love it here. Thanks for stopping by Logan!

  16. I always enjoy hearing about the writer of books. Its nice to gain another insight as to what they were thinking when they wrote their book and where they are headed with their ideas.
    Karen | GlamKaren.com

  17. I heard Chrissy speak last year at a writers’ group meeting and thought her books sounded really interesting. I’ll have to check whether they’re available in audio format. Thanks for the chance to get to know her a little better!

    1. Hi Sherry,

      I’ll check with my publisher to see if/when they plan to make my books available in audio format. I’ll post that info on my website and share it with the group so you’ll be sure to hear about it.

  18. Wow – thanks Tanya for introducing Chrissy. I’ve not heard of this series of books before, and I love how your passions – for autism and for the beauty of your state – seem to influence the books.

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