Saturday, November 8, 2008

Interview with Mary Castillo

Today I've got an interview with Mary Castillo, author of Switchcraft, In Between Men, and Hot Tamara. Thank you so much, Mary, for doing this interview!

1. Why did you start writing?
It was the only thing that I felt I was good at. I was in my second year at USC and about to flunk out. (I was a history/pre-med student, which was not a good fit for me at all!) During spring break I really had to think about what I wanted to do and I realized that it was writing. I loved it enough that I'd do it for free or if I had to live in my car. So when I went back to school, I finished that semester by the skin of my teeth and then following year, took my first screenwriting class. From that point on, I've never looked back or had to live in my car.

2. Who/what inspired your stories?
Each story is different. Hot Tamara was inspired by a conversation I overheard in a restaurant. In Between Men was inspired by all the single mothers I'd met at the places where I worked. Switchcraft was inspired by my pregnancy. I always have ideas for new books but I pick the one that screams the loudest and insists on being written.

3. Did you always want to be an author?
No, I wanted to be Wonder Woman. And then I thought about becoming a film director and then a doctor and until finally I realized I was meant to be a writer. Once I committed myself to writing, my career evolved. I've always made my living as a writer - writing advertising, PR and briefly, for newspapers. Books are not my sole source of income and so I freelance for magazines.

4. Could you see yourself doing anything else?
Sure, but even if I didn't sell another book I'd still write them.

5. Is it difficult to write stories about fields of which you know nothing?
This is where my history degree and my journalism skills have come handy. I'm also a naturally nosey person and love learning things that I know nothing about.

6. How time-consuming is it?
Writing is my job and my passion. I'm very lucky to do it full-time. But when I had a "real job", I wrote my books during my lunch hour and at night after work. Occasionally, I have to write at night after my son goes to bed. The thing is, we writers have to stay fresh and connected with the outside world. You never know when you'll overhear a conversation that ignites a story, or catch the rhthym of the way someone talks that inspires a character.

7. Do you feel it's rewarding?
Absolutely. But selling books, oddly, is not the most rewarding part of the job. (I know, you want to kick me for saying that!) The best part of what I do is when I come out of a scene knowing that I was completely swept away by the characters and the story. The second best part is finishing that first draft even though I'll go back and rewrite it three or four times before its ready to be read by my agent and editor. The third best part is hearing readers who connected with the story and the characters.

Wow, I totally agree with her answer for the last question. Thank you so much for doing this, Mary!

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