The Best Kind of Magic
By: Crystal Cestari
Publication Date: May 16th, 2017
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.
1) Lets start off with a lightning round:
What is your writing process? Are you a plotter or a panster? I am somewhere in-between. I don’t outline, but I’ll occasionally jot down a note or two regarding what I’d like to write about next. I like to see where the story takes me, rather than planning it out beforehand, but sometimes I’ll get a good idea for what’s coming before I’m at that point, so I’ll stick a post-it to the wall so I don’t forget. (I can be very forgetful, just ask my daughter)
Which came first: the novel or the title? The novel! The title didn’t come until waaaaaay later. I just kept calling it my “matchmaker story”.
Which do you prefer: drafting or revising? Drafting, because I really enjoy the journey of seeing where the story will go. I do work in a round of revising early on though, since I write all my first drafts longhand, and then edit a little when I type things up.
Describe you book in 5 words or less
Lighthearted, whimsical, hopeful, funny, yummy (there are many descriptions of baked goods throughout)
2) A book goes through a lot of different versions and rounds of editing before it’s complete. What are some “fun facts” or behind the scenes info you can share about the characters from your book or the world you created for it that may or may not have made it to the final draft of the book?
When I first had the idea for this story, I sat down and wrote the first three chapters in one sitting. All of those original chapters are still in the book, though now in a different order. One of them—where Amber describes the first time her matchmaking skills surfaced—still makes me smile, since it features an indignant 7-year old preaching about love.
Although I usually write very chronologically and do not jump ahead to particular scenes, the final paragraph came to me early on, so I made sure to capture it. Even though the route to the end changed a few times, those original words remain.
3) Who was your favorite character to write and who gave you the most trouble? If you could ask a character of your choice from THE BEST KIND OF MAGIC one question what would it be?
My main character, Amber, was my favorite because her voice came to me so fast and furious. Fiercely independent and crazy confident, she also gets to say all the snarky one-liners I wish I could in real life!
If I could ask Amber one question it would be: what is the weirdest vision of future soul mates you ever witnessed? (I’m sure she’s seen a thing or two she wishes she could scrape from memory)
4) What are the top five things we should know as a reader before starting THE BEST KIND OF MAGIC? (about the main character, their love interest, the antagonist, their world/home town, their situation, etc)
- Amber Sand is a magical matchmaker who can actually see true love. She comes from a long family line of witches, but she herself is not a witch.
- She starts having feelings for a boy named Charlie, who is matched with someone else. Every time she’s with him, she sees visions of his future soul mate.
- Amber’s best friend, Amani, can look into the future, but the two have made a pact to never reveal what they know about each other’s destiny.
- The story takes place in Chicago, specifically at Navy Pier, where Amber works at her mother’s magic shop. There is a magical community that comes through the store, revealing many mystical creatures who hide in plain sight.
- A major theme in the book is whether or not life is completely predestined, or if there’s room to follow your heart.
5) What scene from the book are you most proud of (because of how you handled the atmosphere, characters, dialogue, etc)?
One of my favorite scenes takes place at a dance party at Navy Pier. I love it because Amber is by nature a very guarded person, but when the music starts playing and a boy she enjoys asks her to dance, she lets down her guard for the first time and actually has fun. It was a nice moment for her, and she even shocks herself, asking, “what sorcery is this?”
6) Are there any hints that you can give for what is next for your characters? If you could give us five words that would give us a hint of what’s to come, what would they be?
In the upcoming sequel, there are new characters, new adventures, and further explorations on how fate plays into happily ever after. Also, mermaids!
Thank you, Emily, for featuring The Best Kind of Magic! I truly appreciate it! – Crystal
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.
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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. The author image, info, and more were provided by The Fantastic Flying Book Club.