Today we're excited to chat with Day Leitao, author of Kissing Magic.
Read on for more about Day and her book, an excerpt, plus an giveaway!
Meet Day Leitao!
Day was born in Brazil and has always loved to write stories. She has a Master's in English Literature and lives in Montreal, Canada, with her son.
Meet Kissing Magic!
Kiss him. Don't fall in love.
Break a spell with a kiss. Karina has heard and seen enough weird stuff for this request to sound legit.
At 16, Karina has a shot at adventure—and an odd first kiss—when she's called to Whyland, a kingdom in another dimension, to save a guy she barely knows. Why her? No clue, but she's happy to help, and kissing Sian isn't torture, even if he isn't to be trusted. Karina's smart enough not to fall in love—or at least to tell herself not to.
Once in Whyland, she realizes that risking a broken heart is the smallest of her problems. Karina will need to stand between and ancient darkness and the kingdom. But what hope does she have against mysterious powers when she can't even control her own heart?
If you like fantasy and adventure with romance and some humor, give Kissing Magic a try. This novel is recommended for readers 13 and older. This is book 2 in Portals to Whyland series but you can jump straight into it without having read book 1.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Sian. I like to write his dialogue and his point of view.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel, for sure! I had "About That Magic Kiss" as a working title, but ended up changing it to be similar to the other novel.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I think the midpoint worked well.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
I think writers sometimes spend time learning about marketing, pitching, social media, etc. when we should all focus on improving the writing. But it's not about prose either, but about compelling characters, plot, etc. This is something that I want to improve more and more. Writers can complain about the state of indie publishing or traditional publishing as much as they want, but the truth is that there will always be books that readers are crazy about. Writers should focus on writing those books. The world needs them! I am trying to improve and my goal is to keep improving and writing better books.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
Custom illustrations are always awesome. I love how this cover has a creepy, ominous air, and it contrasts well with the title. I also think his hair looks amazing.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
The final book in this trilogy and a new series.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
Midpoint. I can't say what it is, though! It's a spoiler!
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Drafting is more fun.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
Multitasking, like all mothers.
~ Excerpt ~
Darian guided their way, with some help from Cayla. Karina understood why the castle would be called “lost” amidst all that fog, but she had a hunch that it was not the castle, but the people looking for it. They walked for many minutes until they reached a point where the weather cleared. While it was still cold, the sky was blue, and sunshine reached them like a golden shower melting the fog. They were on a hill from where Karina saw a valley below, then a building on a small hill, with dark stone walls. It was probably the castle, but its shape was square, without any outer walls or towers. Below the castle, in the valley, there was a narrow river and a garden.
“He’s down there,” Darian said.
At least the view was pretty and the creepy fog was gone. There were flowers in many colors among hedge corridors. White and black pebbles formed shapes such as flowers, birds, stars, and some other symbols on the paths. It all had a fresh, pleasant, flowery smell.
“Who tends this garden?” Karina asked.
Darian grimaced. “Well, that’s the question, isn’t it?”
“It’s all enchanted,” Cayla said. “Apparently it’s been so since the time it was abandoned.”
Right. From lovely, the flowers seemed rather creepy. They approached a statue in the middle of a circle of drawings on the floor. Perhaps that was the prince or young king to whom this castle had belonged.
“Here we are,” Darian said.
Here? Karina took a better look. Of course. That was not a statue, but Sian. The stone was light grey and very smooth. Perhaps it was just that she’d imagined his skin would still look like skin, not like marble. Plus, the statue didn’t look like him, or maybe Karina didn’t remember him that well. First, the statue wasn’t smirking, and second, it looked rather handsome. She felt a cold breeze in her chest.
“What am I supposed to do?” Karina asked, her heart almost jumping out of her body. Fine. She knew—in theory—what she had to do, but knowing and really knowing are different things.
“Just kiss him,” Darian said.
Karina took a deep breath, gathered all her courage and approached the statue. She tiptoed to reach him, but it was really hard, especially because the statue had its head looking up, which made reaching it difficult.
“Here,” Darian said, as he put a log near the statue.
Now Karina had a place to step on. She would still need to reach up, but it made things easier. Kissing a statue. Only now the madness in all this was dawning on her. But it wasn’t a statue. There was a person within it.
Karina hesitated. “Uh, on the lips?”
“You can do it quickly,” Cayla replied.
That was a yes. Karina still felt uncomfortable. “How do we know he’d want this? I mean, he’s not awake to give his opinion.”
Darian rolled his eyes and waved his arms. “And he won’t ever be awake if we don’t try. Trust me, Sian wouldn’t have a problem with a kiss from a girl he thinks is pretty.”
Karina wouldn't want anyone to assume something like that about her.
“You need to think about it in a different way,” Cayla said. “If you saved someone from drowning, and if you had to do mouth to mouth breathing, you wouldn’t wonder whether they wanted it or not, would you? It’s the same here.”
At least Cayla understood Karina better. That made sense. Karina could hear her own heart and wondered if the others heard it too. She stepped on the log, terrified of what would happen, tiptoed, and pressed her lips against the statue. She kissed it lightly, as she sometimes kissed people’s cheeks when saying hello; barely touching. She wasn’t sure if she’d done it right. Nothing seemed to change.
“Is this how it’s supposed to work?”
“I don’t know,” Darian replied. “You barely kissed him. I think it needs more feeling.”
“You said my feelings don’t matter.”
“No, but it must be a real kiss, I think.”
Cayla turned to him. “Since when you’re a specialist in magic? We knew there was a chance it wouldn’t work.”
“It will,” Darian said. “I know it. Maybe she needs to concentrate more, and more privacy.” He held Cayla’s hand and pointed to the other side of the hedge. “Why don’t we go over there?”
Before they went anywhere, Karina had an idea. “Darian! Why don’t you kiss him? You love him, don’t you?”
He looked as if he’d just sucked a sour lemon.
“On the cheek,” Karina added.
Darian scratched his neck and laughed. “Good luck with that. I’m not sure there’s much love there. Take your time. I’m sure you can do it.”
They walked away. Cayla cast a guilty look before disappearing behind the hedge with Darian.
Karina stared at the statue in front of her. What was she supposed to do? She tried to imagine the boy she had met almost a year before. She imagined him with a superiority smirk, saying that he was stealing a kiss from “a pretty girl”. But hey, if that was what would bring him back, so be it. She wondered what would happen when he woke up. He would certainly tease her about it. Karina touched the lips of the statue, imagining those were the lips of the boy she had seen, and kissed them. But again nothing happened. Karina knew that this time she had really kissed the statue.
Odd. She had dreaded seeing him wake up, and now that nothing was happening, she felt disappointed. It perhaps meant that she wasn’t even included in his broad definition of love. All the flirting and the book he’d sent her had meant nothing after all. Maybe he didn’t even think she was pretty, and the whole thing was to get her to help him, or some joke to make her confused. Well, true that if he didn’t think she was pretty enough for him, he suffered from some serious poor taste issue. Or vision problems. Or maybe it was Karina who was on a too high horse. She was getting annoyed at statue Sian, especially because he had his chin up and a confident air, as if thinking he was too hot for her. How dare he? And he wasn’t even hot.
Would he mock her? Maybe she’d never know. Whatever his story was, there was no part for her to play in it. She felt disappointed, which was silly. No reason to feel that way. Regardless of the result of the kiss, Karina knew it didn’t mean anything special. She knew it. And yet… Perhaps it’s just that she had been expecting something to happen, and nothing happened, and that was super disappointing. Not to mention she would no longer be able to brag that a guy’s love for her, as superficial as it was, broke a spell. Of course, she wouldn’t have anyone to brag to, cause they’d think she was crazy, but she could perhaps do some inner bragging. Anyway.
Karina stepped out of the log feeling silly and stupid, even though in theory the silly and stupid person was Darian, who had gone through all this trouble of bringing her for no reason. She felt a little hurt too, but she knew it was not their fault. It was nobody’s fault, really. The idea had been outrageous from the start and she should have known it.
Cayla and Darian were nowhere to be seen. She considered looking for them but somehow felt afraid of getting lost in that garden. Well, she was in a magic garden surrounding a likely lost castle, where an annoying acquaintance had been enchanted. No wonder Karina felt uncomfortable. And she hated being there only near Sian’s statue. Ugh, she hated that statue and didn’t want to ever look at it again. She hated that whole plan and what a fool she felt.
“Cayla, Darian!” she yelled. “Come back. It didn’t—”
Something caught Karina’s eye. A movement on the floor. From beneath the pebbles on the paths, a few forms rose.
By: Day Leitao
Publisher: Sparkly Wave
Release Date: February 22nd, 2019
One winner will receive a copy of Kissing Magic & Step Into Magic (Day Leitao) ~ (International)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*