Gabriela Herstik has come a long way since we interviewed her back in 2015 when she was a little college student/fashion blogger living in South Carolina. Back then, though, she was still passionate about the same things she is now. I asked her what she was most passionate about other than fashion, and she said, "I’m passionate about writing too, figuring things out. I’m passionate about learning and manifesting and energy and magick." 3 years ago, still in college in the south, she probably had no idea that she was going to be living in LA and have a book deal before she even turned 24...unless she was manifesting it all along! (Which– let's be real, she probably was).
Since her book, Craft: How to Be a Modern Witch has been released, Gaby has spoken at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and been featured in Los Angeles Magazine. Not to mention, her book is currently #1 in three categories on Amazon. This is all before her book has even been officially released in the US. What?!
I am lucky enough to call Gaby one of my best friends (My name might be on Craft's acknowledgements page!) and it was my pleasure to chat with her to learn more about her process of writing the book and life after the book release.
Can you tell everyone the story of how you ended up landing this book deal? It's my favorite story.
Haha I’m glad you like it! And of course. So I started writing about witchcraft professionally in December of 2015. I had an editor from Broadly reach out to me on Twitter to write about the winter solstice and after that I ended up writing for NYLON on witchcraft and fashion. I landed my own column on NYLON called “Ask A Witch” (exactly what it sounds like) the following fall and continued on that beat. Actually at the end of 2016 I was thinking about writing about witchcraft less since there were so many other people doing the same thing, but the universe had a different idea.
One of the most common questions I get for my column is on resources and books for new witches, and one morning on the way to work I saw someone asked me that. I though “Damn I could write a book about that!”
I pulled up to work, checked my twitter and saw an editor was asking to follow me so she could send me a DM. It was an editor from Ebury (a branch of Penguin / Random House UK) who saw my work for Broadly and my NYLON column and wanted to know if I would be interested in writing a book on modern day witchcraft. It was an amazing moment and of course I said YES and here we are! The synchronicity of my life is mind blowing sometimes, but that’s the real magick!
How surreal is it to be an author? What was it like to get your hands on the first physical copy of the book?
My book has been out for two months in the UK (it will be out in the states in September) and it’s still so weird. The first time I held Craft, it didn’t feel like it was mine. It was like a baby I hadn’t bonded with yet. I feel like I cheated when I wrote this because there were only a couple months out of the six while writing it that I was stressed. I loved writing this book. I feel like it’s not mine! But actually holding it was so exciting. I think it’s going to really hit me when I go to bookstores in the US and see it. Then it will feel really real.
What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this book?
There was a period of time where I was really overwhelmed because I was working full time as a staff writer at HelloGiggles and freelancing while writing this book. That was hard but then I was like–wait, this is a gift!! I am the granddaughter of holocaust survivors and I have the opportunity to share my religious and spiritual beliefs in such a big way. After the initial stress it was a lot more fun.
I think the biggest challenge came when it was out. Seeing the typos and accepting the imperfections of the book was big. But I’m not perfect and I’m messy and I mess up, and that doesn’t make me any less than, so why would I expect that of my book? Learning to embrace the imperfections has been a really beautiful period of growth. Also, receiving the love and praise from the book has been probably the most challenging and transformative piece of the whole puzzle. Someone yesterday told me this book was life changing. How do you take that in!? Working on receiving has been a big practice with me and I’m still learning!
What's your favorite topic you cover in the book?
I loved sharing about how we can work with the cycles of the moon to release and manifest. I LOVE the moon. She is my everything. She is goddess, creatrix, mama. She is my healer, my guardian angel. Sharing about her as well as goddesses of the moon was really beautiful and special to me since it’s so personal. I was also able to share about sex magick which is a big part of my practice so that was dope. Also fashion magick! Fashion is super intertwined with both sides of my family, who were in the garment industry.
Do you have a favorite chapter?
The fashion magick chapter! I talk about glamour, how we can use fashion as spiritual armor, how to bless and cleanse your clothing and more. I also talk about style archetypes/ spirit guides like Vivienne Westwood as the queen and Dita Von Teese as the sexpot so that was fun. I shared some rituals for protecting yourself using clothing, how to work with sigils and even shared about my family’s story with fashion. The intersection of fashion and magick is like… my favorite thing in the world and being able to share it is so special to me. I use fashion as a way to create myself and define who I am. It’s something we really can’t separate from our day-to-day life since we have to wear clothing anyway, so sharing how we can make that more special and intentional was really sacred to me.
If there's ONE THING that readers are gonna take away from the book, what would that one thing be?
That your magick is YOURS. It doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s to be valid. Your magick is special and unique like you and will be tailored to who you are, your beliefs, where you live, your interests. You don’t have to live somewhere like NY or LA to be a real witch and you don’t have to be initiated either. My book is a guide, helping you create and customize your own magical practice.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Don’t have chill. Believe in your work. Start a blog, start freelancing, start self-publishing. If you are really serious about getting published find an agent who believes in you and sees you. Share your work regardless and figure out what makes you YOU. What can YOU bring to the table that no one else can?