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A little over a year ago, I went to the Magic Castle for the first time. For those who do not know the Magic Castle, it’s a member’s only club devoted to magic and magicians located in a Victorian mansion in Hollywood, California. I’d lived in LA for six years and never felt particularly interested in going. It’s hard to get in (you have to be invited if you aren’t a member) — and who cares about magic, anyway?

But one night, dragged by a friend — and I fell in love.

The last time I had been so blown away by anything was the first time I went to a strip club. And it was kind of the same reaction: Holy shit, this happens here every night? 

Magic, like love, like sex, is all about illusions, misdirection, psychological manipulation, and gameplay. Like any good writer, I also understood how much of magic was about crafting a narrative, telling a story, holding the audience in the palm of your hand and taking them on an adventure. 

And with all this, I fell in love.

I was fascinated, mesmerized, and intrigued. I wanted to learn more. I wanted to absorb. I wanted to understand.

No, I didn’t want to know how the tricks were done. If I knew that, the magic would be gone. I loved the thrill of the impossible, the irrational defying the rational. I didn’t want to lose that. Magic makes the impossible possible. Magic brings us back to that feeling of childlike wonder. Magic is about the beauty of the unknown, the inexplicable, the undefinable. 

So I did what anyone would do. I binged. I read books. I went and saw magic shows. I read, and I watched. At first, I didn’t know what to do with this information I was absorbing. I thought maybe I’d teach a class on the psychology of magic. Most of my interests begin that way, academically inclined as I am. I start thinking in terms of syllabi.

But then I realized the parallels magic had with love, the way both are based around seeing what you want to see, and the power of projection and illusion. The logical next step was to write a book about exactly that. About love and obsession — and to try, along the way, to capture the magic of magic on the printed page. To pin down how it made me feel, to recreate the shimmery sense of impossibility and wonder and the ultimate aphrodisiac that could be. 

Welcome to Queen of Hearts. My book about magic, love, sex, and desire. About how what we want is often not what we need. And how what we need is often the biggest mystery of them all. 

This book is intensely personal to me because it is my ode to magic. It is my love letter to the magic and mystery I discovered that night, up the stairs and down the stairs and through the winding hallways of Hollywood’s Magic Castle.

I hope that you feel that same sense of wonder as you turn the pages.