Debra Kristi - Magical, Thrilling Urban Fantasy

Debra Kristi - Magical, Thrilling Urban Fantasy

Award-winning and USA Today best-selling author Debra Kristi writes addicting young adult fantasy, urban fantasy, and paranormal adventures. Born and raised a Southern California girl, she still resides in the sunny state with her husband, two kids, and several rescue cats. Unlike many of the characters in the stories she writes, Debra is not immortal, and her only superpower is letting the dishes and laundry pile up. When not busy drumming away at the keyboard spinning new tales, Debra is hanging out creating priceless memories with her family, geeking out to science fiction and fantasy television, and tossing around movie quotes.  As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Magical Miri.

Magical Miri book held by author


Please give us a short introduction to what Magical Miri is about.

On the surface, Magical Miri is a paranormal adventure, but at the heart of the story, Miri’s journey is about navigating family issues and embracing one’s inner strength in the face of adversity. When Miri’s mother moves Miri and her siblings into the heart of the magical steeped French Quarter, she’s not only moving them away from their grandmother and the historical family home, but out from under powerful protection. Now vulnerable like never before, Miri becomes plagued by an ancestor long dead, while mysteries bloom, and secrets around her unravel. There is a lot about herself that Miri has yet to learn, and she needs to discover her truths before her soul is swapped with another.

The book is described as a young adult coming-of-age paranormal/urban fantasy. What drew you to this audience and genre?

The young adult genre was my first love, and as a reader, I am usually drawn to fantasy and paranormal – as far from reality as possible. When writing, my muse has a tendency to pull me in many different directions, but each story, as it blooms in my mind, dictates genre and age. In the case of this series, the need to write this story started in the middle of journey with book three, Nowhere Nara, which explores the communication barrier between life and death. I was midway through the writing process of that book when I realized the full extent of the adventure swept out in both directions, in terms of the story timeline. Genre and audience age fell into place automatically.

Miri, the protagonist, comes from a powerful witch bloodline in New Orleans. How does her heritage influence her journey throughout the book?

Miri is more influenced by her own heart – her wants and values – than she is by her heritage, but the dark side of her family’s magic may give her a little push. Encourage her to stand steady and fight for what she believes.

The setting of New Orleans plays a significant role in the story. How does the city's atmosphere contribute to the overall tone and themes of "Magical Miri"?

New Orleans is rich in dark history, an ideal setting for a paranormal story. The city’s energy and shadowy past not only inspire events in the story, but practically becomes an active participant. The location breaths a mystical life into the story.

Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?

I wouldn’t say that I have any “secret” skills, but I have an artist’s soul. I used to be fairly adept at drawing, although I haven’t exercised that particular muscle in a long time. I also have a knack for design, when I choose to indulge that side of myself.


What do you hope readers will take away from their experience with "Magical Miri," and what themes or messages do you hope resonate with them?

Aside from a temporary escape from reality, which is what I always look for in my next read, I’d like the reader to find empowerment in Miri’s journey. To understand that confidence need not be already established to be gained and strengthened.

Interesting cover, please tell us more about how you picked this one.

The covers for this series were inspired by some of the wrought iron architectural elements you might find in New Orleans. Each of the five books in this series were designed to give the impression of a door (a door to the story, if you will), decorated with iron scrolls and a different focal feature. In the case of Magical Miri, that focal feature is the flower. The talented Anna Spies of Atra Luna is responsible for the stunning end product.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Did you plan out all of the twists and turns in the story before you started writing, or did some of it just "happen" along the way?

I generally start as a plotter, but my characters rarely stick firmly to the script and enjoy springing surprises on me. As a result, I become somewhat of a planster (a cross between a plotter and a panster), making adjustments for their unexpected actions to the planned storyline. I don’t begrudge my characters and their surprises, though, as those unanticipated story detours often lead to some fun tension and twists.

This is the first book of the Gifted Girls Series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in the series tie in with this one?

Each book in the series was written so that they could be potentially read and enjoyed as a standalone. The individual stories are told in chronological order, from the point of view of different female family members. That being said, when the books are read in order, one will uncover a deeper, underlining mystery that comes heavily into play in the fifth and final book.


What did you have the most fun with when writing Magical Miri?

Good question. There were a lot of fun aspects to writing this particular story, but I think the most fun I had…outside of quarantining myself away from the family in a house on the water, in order to get the words written…was exploring the family relationships. Miri, her sister Belle, and brother Mike, and how their individual relations spiderwebbed out from the family core. Exploring how everything was connected and would eventually come to light.

Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?

I don’t consider any of my writing habits very interesting. I make my morning tea, head into my office, and attempt to get uninterrupted time writing before the kids and/or cats decide they need me for something. My desk faces a flat screen on which I usually play YouTube rain or brown noise videos, and I utilize Spotify on my computer for focus music, played at a low volume. I then spend the rest of my day attempting to get words recorded while fielding or dodging kid and cat needs and/or desires.


What are you working on right now?

I’m currently stepping away from the young adult genre and writing on a slow-burn, dark fantasy romance with reapers. And they have been incredibly fun to work with. I already have two of the books in that series complete and hope to bring them to readers later this year.

Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?

Readers can always explore my available works on my website, but the best place to chat and interact with me is on Facebook, in my Immortal Warriors group. They can find the group easily enough here:

Magical Miri
Debra Kristi

There are the witches of the Quarter, and then there is the unwanted magical bloodline. The family so secret, even its youngest members are unaware. That family would be mine. Now I must uncover the truth and discover my power before the supernatural world swallows me whole. But how do I do such a thing when the devil in the works might possibly be sleeping under the same roof?