What inspired you to write a contemporary love story that revolves in a fantasy storyline? More specially, why witches?
My two favorite genres are magical realism and romance, so dreaming up a magical matchmaker was a natural hybrid of my interests! I liked playing with the ideas of destiny and fate, and since falling in love can be such a heightened, almost otherworldly experience, I thought it would be fun to add a tangible element of someone being able to actual see soul mates find their happily ever after.
There are a lot of literary witches but not so many matchmakers, so I felt witchcraft would be a good pop culture touchstone for readers, giving us an introduction to what Amber experiences every day, especially since her own magical talent is way outside the norm.
As a writer, who do you truly look up to and was a big contributor to the writing style you have today?
Growing up, I was obsessed with Roald Dahl, and I loved how all his seemingly normal characters—Matilda, James, Charlie—would suddenly find themselves immersed in fantasy situations. I love the possibility of a magical world existing right under your nose: that the chocolate factory in your town is actually home to a wizard of sweets, or that the peach tree in your backyard will take you on a journey across the sea. Dahl definitely helped kick off a lifelong quest to find magic in the everyday.
Why did you choose the names for the characters (Amber Sand, Charlie Blitzman, etc)? Great names, by the way. Really fit with the story.
Thank you! Amber Sand is actually a play on ampersand, since she brings people together. And Charlie is one of my favorite male names of all time. Naming characters is actually pretty challenging for me; I spend a lot of time thinking about it. Usually choosing a name will come down to how the name makes me feel, and what kind of visuals it evokes. The resident mean girl, Ivy, is similar to the plant in that she suffocates anyone who crosses her path!
Would you write any other books in the paranormal genre, but ones that doesn’t revolve around witches? (vampires, demons, etc.)
Definitely! My Windy City Magic series actually features several paranormal characters, including vampires, goblins, and in The Sweetest Kind of Fate, mermaids! I’m always drawn to stories involving magic, so all my future characters and plot lines will probably have a mystical twist to them.
Did you have a “matchmaker” experience when it comes to you actual love life?
I wish that I had, but no, I’ve gone in blind to all the twists and turns of my own love life. A lot of Amber’s feelings and struggles about love are definitely rooted in my own though; especially in The Sweetest Kind of Fate, her resolution that love is real is challenged, as was mine during the time. But ultimately, I think Amber and I worked through some issues together, and her talent helped pull us both through. ☺
The Sweetest Kind of Fate
Author: Crystal Cestari
Series: Windy City Magic #2
Release Date: February 13, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy
Goodreads | Bookwitty
GREAT. I’ve somehow found myself tangled up with a siren, a mermaid, and a homicidal wicked witch who once tried to strangle me to death. Way to go, Amber!
Amber Sand, legendary matchmaker, couldn’t be more surprised when her arch nemesis, Ivy, comes asking for her help. Ivy’s sister, Iris, is getting married, and Ivy wants to prove her sister is making a huge mistake. But as Amber looks into Iris's eyes, there doesn’t seem to be a problem—Iris has clearly found her match.
It seems happily ever after is in the cards, but when Iris seeks out a dangerous, life-altering spell, it’s up to Amber and Ivy to set aside their rivalry and save the day.
While Iris is willing to put everything on the line for love, Amber continues to wrestle with her own romantic future. Her boyfriend, Charlie, is still destined for another, and no matter how hard she clings to him, fear over their inevitable breakup shakes her belief system to the core.
Because the Fates are never wrong—right?
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.