Book Blitz, Excerpt & Author Interview: A Place of Magic + Giveaway


A Place of Magic
by Merrie Destefano
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Fantasy
Publisher: Ruby Slipper Press
Date of Publication: October 12, 2021
Number of pages:320
Word Count: 73,000
Cover Artist: Elona Bezooshko,
Psycat Digital Ink and Motion

Halloween is the wrong time to visit Ticonderoga Falls.
Dangerous monsters hunt in the nearby woods.
The Prey…
Maddie MacFaddin.
For her, the nearby forest holds many memories, some joyous, some forgotten. But she has no recollection of Ash, the dark, magnificent creature who saved her life as a child, or that his kind preys upon humanity.
The Monster…
Ash, a Darkling fae.
Trapped in Ticonderoga Falls for a century, he’s required to host a Hunt once a year. Then, hungry, shapeshifting faeries will descend upon the villagers and harvest their dreams.
The Hunt…
There are rules about harvesting humans; the poor creatures are so delicate. If you take too much, they’ll die. Without dreams, they perish. And perish they do—now and then—despite Ash’s efforts to keep them safe. Then he realizes Maddie is the prey his unwanted guests are after. But, try as he might, this time he’s not strong enough to protect her. The entire village is in danger.
Soon the Hunt will begin. And no one will be safe.



He nodded, head lowered. Then he lifted his gaze until he was staring into her eyes. One hand rested on her shoulder. “I won’t tell anyone your secret, Elspeth. You’re safe with me.”

Then he leaned closer, his scent overwhelming, his thoughts like the wind through the leaves, a wild rushing, his skin like the embrace of the forest. His lips touched hers and she could hear his heart beating. She slid her arms around his waist, leaning into the kiss, suddenly wanting more. She wanted to cast an enchantment, to lead him into sleep, to harvest his dreams. Wanted to walk into a dream with him, to see the hidden world on the other side of his eyelids. Wanted to know everything about him.

The kiss had only just begun and already she wanted another.

His arms were around her then, and the winter chill disappeared. In its place, fire crackled through her limbs, from her fingertips to her feet.

She could see it then, the world inside him. Tender and gentle as a spring morning, the shadows of night lingering at the edge of the wood, a handful of stars scattered across a pale sky.

She never knew that humans could be filled with so much magic.

It was her first Hunt and she had chosen her prey wisely.

Author Interview:

1. Tell us a little about how this story first came to be. Did it start with an image, a voice, a concept, a dilemma or something else?
This book began because I had a long bout with insomnia. It was as if I had forgotten how to fall asleep. When I couldn’t sleep, I began to imagine what sort of creatures might prey on people when they were sleeping. That was when I came up with the idea for the Darkling fae, magical creatures that draw their powers from human dreams.

2. What, if anything, did you learn when writing the book?
That every book is hard to write. They’re just all different. I rewrote this story so many different times. It took a long time for me to get the setting and characters in place. The first time, it was set in Pasadena, California. But it made more sense to have fae creatures in the wilderness of the San Gabriel Mountains. So, I moved the story to a mountain town based on Big Bear.

3. What surprised you the most in writing it?
The ending. I usually know how my stories will end, but not with this one. Although I was surprised by what happened, I love it! I tend to be a Discovery Writer, so I don’t outline as much as some authors. I enjoy the journey and finding new things along the way.

4. If it’s not a spoiler, what does the title mean?
It means that this place is where the Darklings are allowed to be magical. They have to hide who and what they are most of the time. Also, it relates to Maddie, the writer, too, since this is where she came to try and restore her ability to write magical stories.

5. Were any of the characters inspired by real people? If so, do they know?
Yes, although it was unintentional. Maddie is very much like me and her sister, Kate, is very much like my sister Kathy. Sadly, I don’t think I ever told my sister about it—I may have only realized it during the rewrite. My sister passed away a few years ago. I loved my sister very much and, for that reason, I often have stories with strong sister or strong sibling relationships. Some of those books include Fathom, Fairytale Magic, Valiant, and Lost Girls.

6. Do you consider the book to have a lesson or moral?
Yes! Our dreams are what motivate us and give us hope. We should never allow someone else to steal them. In the book, if a Darkling fae harvests too many dreams, it will kill the human. Without dreams, we will die. It’s a paraphrase of Proverbs 29:18.

7. What is your favorite part of the book?
Any scene with Samwise! This book has been published twice. Once under the title Feast: Harvest Of Dreams by HarperCollins. Then now by me, with the title A Place Of Magic. When I decided to rewrite the book, one choice I made was to include deleted scenes where the dog had his own POV.

8. Which character was most challenging to create? Why?
Definitely Ash. He’s complex and can come across unfeeling at times, since he’s fae. But that’s not true. He’s conflicted. He sees the good and the bad in almost any situation. It was hard to get him to a point where he didn’t seem heartless, since that’s far from the truth. He’s actually deeply wounded and broken and trying his best not be bitter over what he has lost.

9. What are your immediate future plans?
I’m still deciding if I want to finish my half-written fae book or my half-written vampire book. I love both of them!

About the Author:

Multiple-award-winning author Merrie Destefano writes lyrical tales of magic, mystery, and hope. Her traditional books have been published by HarperCollins, Entangled Teen, and Walter Foster, while her indie imprint is Ruby Slippers Press. Her novels have won awards in both the science fiction and fantasy categories.

She worked for Focus on the Family, The Word For Today, Engaged Media, and PJS Publications, and her magazine experience includes editor of Victorian Homes magazine, Zombies magazine, Haunted: Mysteries And Legends magazine, American Farmhouse Style magazine, Vintage Gardens magazine and founding editor of Cottages and Bungalows magazine. Her co-authored art books include How To Draw Vampires, How To Draw Zombies, and How to Draw Grimm’s Dark Fairy Tales. Her edited books include The Man God Uses by Chuck Smith, Oil Pastel Step-By-Step by Nathan Rohlander, and The Art of Drawing Fantasy Characters by Jacob Glaser.

Born in the Midwest, Merrie now lives in Southern California, where she runs on caffeine, and shares her home with rescue dogs and cats. And although she dearly loves science fiction, in her heart of hearts, she still doesn’t believe airplanes should be able to fly.


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