Step into a whole new fantasy world full of magic, elves, changelings, and leprechauns…but unlike anything you’ve encountered before! Author Whitney Morris gives us insight into the inspiration, characters, and magical creatures–and how they’re unique–in her debut novel Crystal Heart.
“I liked this book a lot…an extremely good read… I definitely recommend this book for anyone with an interest in fantasy, magic, and elves.”— Heather Emerick, Hope You Like the Book Blog
About Crystal Heart: When eighteen-year-old Mellissa Hail meets the magical changeling Gregory, she discovers an ancient and enchanted world of leprechauns and elves.
Now she must come to terms with believing in magic and her destiny—that she is the chosen one to guard the Heart Crystal. But time is running out and the seal that guards the evil leprechaun Kadon is breaking. Can she save mankind in time?
- What inspired you to write the novel?
I can’t tell you exactly what inspired me to write this novel. I had been toying with different ideas for a while. My love of fairy tales and different magical creatures is what most of my ideas involved. I loved the idea of all the magical creatures we know of being real but the stories we know about them being completely wrong. I started researching different magical beings and coming up with stories about them that were the opposite of what we know about them. The end result was elves and leprechauns. My elves, and especially the leprechauns, are nothing like what we’re used to. The twist on the traditional folklore is what inspired me to keep going with the idea, and the end result was Crystal Heart.
- Tell us more about the main characters in the book. Who is your favorite to write and why?
Mellissa is where the story started. She was the first character I came up with. I wanted to create a character that eighteen-year-old me would have related with. Which resulted in a socially awkward teenager, who is fully aware that she doesn’t fit in. What I like best about Mellissa is that she cares a lot but doesn’t always know how to express what she is feeling.
Gregory is a character that came into his own as the story developed. My original plan for him was completely different, but when I started writing him, he took on a life of his own. I fell in love with the new direction his character was taking, and he revealed to me that he was a much more complicated character than I had realised.
Another character you will be introduced to is Victoria. I love writing Victoria’s character. She starts off as your cookie-cutter mean girl, but there is so much more to her than that. She is a strong character and I love her confidence. Her harsh personality can be very fun to write.
- Describe Mellissa in three words.
This is not an easy question to answer, but I’m going to go with:
Caring, brave, and naïve
“The plot is great, you have elves, magic, leprechauns, what’s not to like about that? …it’s a good story…”— LibraryThing Early Reviewers
- Your fantasy world includes magic, elves, and leprechauns. What will readers find in your world that is unique and different from other fantasy worlds?
As already mentioned above, my original inspiration was the twist on the traditional magical creatures we know about. Magic is hidden from humans, and Mellissa’s mind is blown when she discovers there is a world of magic out there. For those of the magic world, magic is just a way of life. Everything is run by magic, making our world a very confusing place for them.
When jumping into the world of Crystal Heart, I would advise readers to forget everything they know about elves and leprechauns. My magical beings are nothing like what we are used to reading in books or seeing in films.
- What was your favorite magical creature to write? Why?
This is a tough one as I enjoyed coming up with the different magical creatures. I like the strength of the leprechauns. I feel they are very unique to my story and I liked creating the qualities that make them so different to the traditional folklore.
- Changelings are fascinating creatures. Tell us more about them and their magical abilities. How are yours different?
Traditionally, changelings are seen as deformed creatures that take the place of stolen babies. As with all the creatures in Crystal Heart, I switched this. Changelings in the story have nothing to do with stealing babies and tricking people. They are essentially normal people with the ability to shift into any animal they choose. Gregory is a changeling. He as a person is very organised and prides himself on the pursuit of knowledge. He is able to shift at will into any animal he wants. It is a great ability as changelings can take advantage of the natural abilities of many animals. For example, if they want to fly they just shift into a bird.
- Gregory is a changeling who turns into a rabbit. Why did you select a rabbit as opposed to another type of animal?
I chose a rabbit simply because it is not a threatening creature, but it is also not the type of animal we expect to see hopping around on its own, making it stand out.
- The leprechauns featured in your book are unlike anything I’ve heard of for these folkloric creatures. What was your inspiration behind them?
I wanted something different and I thought leprechauns are not something we hear a lot about. I then looked at the folklore around leprechauns and made my leprechauns the opposite. I also made it so Mellissa wouldn’t take the threat seriously to begin with. All the stories she knows about leprechauns are the same as the ones we know. It made Gregory’s challenge to get her to believe what he was saying a little bit harder.
- Is fantasy your favorite genre to read? What are your three favorite books?
Now this is a really hard question. Yes, fantasy is my favourite genre. I like getting lost in a fantasy world. It allows you to forget about the real world for a little while. Some of my favorites include Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. In fact, I love the whole Grishaverse. Shadow and Bone is what introduced me to her work, and I read that book in one sitting. Another favourite is Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr. I read this book as a teenager and instantly fell in love with the magical world of faeries created by Marr. My third pick is the classic Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. This was a childhood favourite and I still love it today.
- What’s next in the series? No spoilers.
A lot changed in the lives of my main characters in Crystal Heart; the next book deals with them trying to adjust to these changes. There will be new obstacles popping up, making things even harder for Mellissa and Gregory. The next book will introduce new magical creatures and we get to see more of the magical world. We also get to know more of Gregory’s family. Mellissa will learn more about the Heart Crystal and will be called upon again to protect the world.
About the Author:
Whitney Morris has always had a passion for storytelling. She is a cat lover with two cats of her own, is crazy about owls, and is addicted to chocolate.
Whitney loves books, and she and her husband are raising their four children to be fellow bookworms in South Yorkshire, England. Crystal Heart is her debut novel.
Visit Whitney’s website for more information about her, her blog, and her online store!
Available in hardcover, trade softcover, and ebook.
Visit our website to learn more.