Featured Interview With Crystal Hope Reed
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was raised in the DogTown days of southside Santa Monica. Though the city has changed a lot since then (starting in the mid-’80s), it’s still my favorite place to be. I volunteer when I can to help keep it feeling like a hometown instead of just a tourist destination. At least once a year someone from somewhere else says, “Huh, you don’t seem like you’re from Santa Monica” and each time I try to respond with the most considerate version of “How would you know?” I can muster, explaining that the image outsiders have of what “someone from Santa Monica” or even “someone from L.A.” is like is really about the transplants who come here in droves “to make it” and not really about what the locals are like at all.
I spent four years in the Navy and 17 years working in a school for bright-but-difficult students. I used to have a pitbull, who was my best buddy, but now we have three Chihuahuas and they’re equally awesome in their own way. I’ve traveled a lot and gone to school a lot (I have a master’s degree in counseling psychology) but I’m not as young as I used to be, so I’m thankful that being an author and counselor lets me work from home and on my own terms.
As I state in my book, How to Live with a Psychic, I grew up as a non-believer in just about everything. I was a self-proclaimed atheist (parents were probably more agnostic than atheist but that was too non-committal for me), and I thought everything paranormal was merely people fooling themselves or trying to fool me. But by the time I was 30 I realized how wrong I had been about spirituality and the paranormal–which are interrelated to such a degree as to be indistinguishable from each other except by narrow definition, by the way.
Now I live a life with daily paranormal/metaphysical activity, thanks largely to my husband, Brett. Over our years together I’ve developed my pet psychic abilities and some minor energy-work ability, but he’s the “major psychic” in the house. He does readings, healings, and even house clearings from people. Sometimes at a distance! (Meaning he’s here at home and they are literally anywhere else in the world.) It’s a 100% worldview shift from where I started in my childhood, but it’s such a better place. And fortunately, that “place” happens to be located right here in Santa Monica so I get to have all the things.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I was one of those fortunate young people for whom reading and writing was always very easy, as if I came out of the womb with memory of these skills from a previous life. In first grade I got in trouble for correcting a teacher that cat is not in fact the opposite of dog. (This is both correct and seems obvious, but all of the other kids chose those pairs as opposites, perhaps out of an understanding that was the expectation, but I refused and she didn’t like me pointing it out.) In third grade, my elementary school banned me from participating in their spelling bees because I would consistently beat the sixth graders. In fifth grade I won a city-wide short story contest, competing against students from all of the local schools. But I wasn’t very ambitious with any of it. I just wanted to do what was expected of me in my average little public school and fortunately, what was expected came easily, and that was good enough for me.
Throughout junior high (now known as middle school) and high school, I wrote short stories and occasionally poems (a format that I’m largely uncomfortable with because I’m so concrete) but I didn’t dare ask to be on the school newspaper or submit my work for competition because I was too self-conscious and, still, just wanted to squeak by with what was expected of me and stay under the radar. At the end of high school, when considering career options via college education, my father once said, “Crys, if you’re not writing, you’re wasting your time.” But I was 17 and he was a grown man so obviously he had no clue about anything and I pursued various other career paths, somewhat haphazardly.
All of it turned out OK. I wouldn’t change a thing. But here I am now, decades later, and guess what? My father was correct about the writing thing. I love it, and I’m good at it, and I can even help others do it. So now that’s a large part of my focus, and Brett has started writing, too. Expect his first book to be out very soon. I still have to do some other things to supplement income at this point (ask pretty much any author you meet, who’s not a household name, about “making money” and watch them laugh and laugh) but the goal is to eventually have a catalog of books that supports me to the point that doing anything else is strictly optional.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
I write non-fiction and I’m a very pragmatic person so I read mostly non-fiction, and mostly in the mind/body/spirit genre since it relates to my lifestyle and my future work. But when I need a break from all of that seriousness, I have a possibly surprising go-to escape: Batman comics. Maybe a “serious author” wouldn’t admit to such a thing but I’m pretty much a WYSIWYG-kind of person. Not a lot of pretense here. So yah, I love Batman comics. I only read them a couple times a year but when I do, don’t bother me for about 24 hours because I’m “busy.”
Tell us a little about your latest book?
“How to Live with a Psychic: Your Guide for Maintaining a Happy Relationship when Someone You Love Gets Weird” is a manifestation of my personal and professional experience. Everything that’s mentioned is the book is something that has happened to me and Brett at least once. At least.
The book offers advice that is sometimes specific to the title topic but sometimes generalizable to all relationships. There’s a long section about taking care of yourself while you’re taking care of someone else, which I think is a point that can’t be made often enough when discussing interpersonal dynamics. (Thinking of starting therapy? I even have a section on how to choose a good therapist.) I included a chapter about “psychic vs. psychotic,” which seems to be a sort of taboo subject even within the paranormal/occult community, which itself is fairly taboo! And I describe different types of psychic ability both for a partner’s understanding of what their loved on is going through but also so the reader can start to experiment themselves, if they want.
One of the hosts of a radio show I was on recently referred to the book as “comprehensive” and I think that’s accurate. With Brett’s help, I tried to ensure I covered every possible angle with this scenario. Since it’s the first (and currently, only) book on the market addressing this increasingly common relationship dynamic, I wanted to be sure to say everything that needed to be said for the readers who are seeking my help.
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