Posted on 03/26/2018 at 12:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

The desire to become a screenwriter made Mary Castillo’s novel-writing career possible, in more ways than one.

Of course, as one can imagine, her screenwriting studies provided a strong technical foundation for her future story-telling.

But it also inspired her husband to introduce her to Gordan Kay, a producer for whom he was doing odd jobs.

Castillo, naturally, told Kay of her ambitions to become a screenwriter. His response? He told her that he used to eat screenwriters for breakfast, and that she should write a novel instead.

Gulp.

Castillo listened, and she — along with her many fans, one of whom suggested we interview her — couldn’t be happier that she did.

The author of paranormal mysteries and romances took time away from revising her work and preparing to record more audiobooks (yes, she’s doing it herself!) to chat with us a little further.

SADYE: So are you still pursuing screenwriting, as you had been doing a few years back?

MARY: I’m now exclusively writing novels and recording my audiobooks. I had some close calls, but novel writing is my real love. 

Screenwriting is at the root of my writing. I use the three-act structure to plot my books and since I weave so many elements — mystery, paranormal, historical and romance — it helps to know where I’m going and what needs to happen along the way. 

As services like Passionflix — a subscriber-based movie service that delivers original romance novel adaptations as well as older romances across all digital devices — succeed, I’m very optimistic that there may be an opportunity in the future to write screenplays that get made into movies or series or see one of my own books adapted!

SADYE: You offer the option of attending readers’ book clubs. What’s that experience like?

MARY: I love hanging out with book clubs because I was a reader first and, in many ways, writing a book is a more intensive experience of getting into a story! 

It can be “interesting” when readers honestly admit that they don’t connect with my books. Two women nearly came to blows because one loved my books and wouldn’t hear any comment to the contrary! 

My goal as an author is to share my love of these characters and excite and entertain readers with the twists and turns of a story. When I make that connection, it is magic. When I don’t, there are plenty of other authors for them to choose from.

SADYE: You’ve also been on panels at various events; what’s your favorite part of that experience?

MARY: Learning how my colleagues approach their work, what inspires them and how they overcome the obstacles that make us into authors. 

I was once so engrossed with my fellow panelist that when it was my turn, I completely forgot the question!

SADYE: You've recorded two audiobooks so far out of your collection; how did you come up with the idea to do Facebook Live for narrating the audio version of Lost in Whispers?

MARY: It was a moment of insanity! Unfortunately, my business work got in the way of the Facebook Live recordings, so I’ve discontinued them.

I’m focused on revising the fourth novella in the Dori O. paranormal mystery series, and in the next quarter, I’ll go back to recording the audiobook chapters and producing the audiobook of Lost in Whispers for a fall 2018 release.

SADYE: And finally, a question from the crowd: How do you interweave the paranormal, mystery, and historical elements of your books? 

MARY: All these elements ultimately stem from the cast of characters. 

Dori is a reluctant psychic, and it is a lot of fun to push her into accepting that fact. She’s a confirmed skeptic at the beginning of Lost in the Light, but the friendship she forms with the ghost, Vicente, grows out of his recollection of his life as a bootlegger. 

I was a history major at USC, and I finally put my degree to work in researching and bringing to life the ghosts’ backgrounds in different time periods — the end of Prohibition and the start of WWII. 

The mystery gradually reveals what really happened to these people who are caught between the world we know it and the one beyond, as well as what Dori will do next. 

The creepiness of the ghosts sometimes puts me on edge as I write them, so I take great pride in my work. A reader once asked me, “How much scarier does it get? Because I couldn’t sleep last night!” 

* * *

Learn more about Mary Castillo on her website, where her books can also be purchased; like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter

Know an author you'd like to see featured? Email sadye (at) thefussylibrarian.com with a recommendation!

Categories: Author Interview

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