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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Author Interview & Contest with Justin Gustainis

I have another author guest for you this week! Justin Gustainis!

Yes he was already here this Summer but Justin has TWO books out and therefore I am happy to have him here as a guest twice ;) Why? Because both books are bloody amazingly good! I highly recommend them.

So the last interview was more about Hard Spell, the debut in Justin's new Occult Crimes series and this interview is mainly about Sympathy For the Devil the third part in the Morris and CHastain Investigations series.

So enjoy the interview and enter the contest! I love Justin's books so much that I am giving away a copy!


Amber - Welcome back to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to have you here again as a guest! Could you start things off by telling us a little about your third book in the Morris and Chastain Investigations Series, Sympathy for the Devil ?

Justin - Senator Howard Stark is running for President of the U.S. Unbeknownst to almost everybody, Stark has been possessed by the demon Sargatanas. That makes Stark, in effect, Hell’s candidate in the race, and if he wins, Hell on Earth will follow. At first, Stark is considered to have little chance of winning his party’s nomination. But then the competitors start dropping out, due to scandal, suicide, and “accidental” death.

Amber - How did you come up with the idea for Sympathy for the Devil? Was
it a long process or did it just come to you?

Justin - The answer to that is kind of complicated. The basic idea for the book (which I’ve described above) was developed years ago, for the sequel to my very first novel, The Hades Project. I actually wrote about a third of it before I took a good, hard look at the sales figures for the original book and realized that the 99.999 percent of the human race that hadn’t bought The Hades Project probably wouldn’t buy a sequel, either. So I shelved the idea and eventually moved on to what became Black Magic Woman. Flash-forward a couple of years. My contract with Solaris Publishing was for three Morris and Chastain books, of which I had written two. I was stuck for an idea, until I remembered my abortive sequel. I saw in an instant of pure gestalt how it could be adapted for Quincey and Libby, and the title also came to me at the same time. The rest as they say, is genre fiction.

Amber - There were a few new characters in Sympathy for the Devil. Will we see any of them again in future books?

Justin - That depends on whether there are future Morris and Chastain books. I asked Solaris whether they wanted a fourth one, and they said, “Let’s see how the current one sells first.” So, all you folks out there in Amberland, if you want to increase the odds, buy Sympathy for the Devil in wholesale lots. They make great birthday and bar mitzvah gifts – and Christmas is practically just around the corner.

If there is a fourth book (working title: Play with Fire), I was giving thought to bringing back Mal Peters and his rather unusual companion, known only as Ashley.

Amber - I love how you mention other famous Paranormal Urban Fantasy characters in your books. Do you ask the authors for permission?

Justin - I do when it’s explicit. In Evil Ways, I set a scene in Harry Dresden’s favorite bar, and I had Jim Butcher’s permission to do so. In Sympathy for the Devil, there’s an explicit reference to demon hunter Jill Kismet, and it’s in there with permission of Jill’s creator, Lili Saintcrow. Both Jim and Lili are wonderful people who have been very good to me over the years.

But I don’t get (or need) permission when the reference is more subtle. And I do that kind of thing a lot, because it amuses me. It even amuses a few of my readers. And that brings me to the big “Easter Egg” contest.

Those subtle references to other parts of popular culture are called (by some people, anyway) Easter eggs, and there are a lot of them in SFTD – so many that I’m holding a contest. Spot the most Easter eggs in the book and win a cool prize. First place is a $50 Amazon gift card and I’ll name a character after you in my next book. If Morris and Chastain don’t come back, then it will show up in one of my “Haunted Scranton” books with Stan Markowski. Details about the contest can be found on my web site, www.justingustainis.com.

Amber - Any plans to have Quincey & Libby get together with more characters? As in you teaming up with another author and writing a book together?

Justin - Well, the first part of this has been answered already. As to collaboration … I don’t know. I’ve done that with academic stuff in the past, but never with fiction. I guess it would depend on whom I was going to collaborate with.

Amber - Will there be more books in the series? How long would you like to see things continue for Quincey & Libby?

Justin - The first part of that, again, has already been addressed. As for the second – if it was up to me, the series would go on indefinitely.

Amber - If the series was going to be made into a TV series or Film, who would you like to see playing Quincey & Libby?

Justin - Actually, there’s a possibility that a TV series may be forthcoming. SFTD has been optioned by a Hollywood producer, who’s thinking of pitching it as a cable TV series. The odds on it ever seeing air are statistically remote, but it is nice to be optioned.

My choices for stars? Twenty-five or so years ago, Tommy Lee Jones would have been perfect for Quincey. Today, I’d probably pick Edward Norton. For Libby, I like a character actress called Catherine Keener. Mind you, if the series ever happens (and it probably won’t), these folks almost certainly won’t be cast because 1) they’re too expensive for TV and 2) nobody listens to the writer, anyway.

Amber - How much say do you have in the book publishing process? E.g., Do you get to pick the cover?

Justin - How much say I have in the process depends on the publisher. I don’t get much with Solaris, but I consider myself fortunate that they’ve hired the estimable Chris McGrath to do the cover art. I have a bit more input with Angry Robot Books, publisher of the “Haunted Scranton” series. The artist they hired, Timothy Lantz, was on a short list of possible artists that I gave them; later, they showed me a draft of the cover, and actually changed something because I asked them too!

Amber - How do you pick the names for your characters? Do they have any special meanings?

Justin - Well, Quincey Morris has the same name as his great-great grandfather, who helped track down and kill Count Dracula. Libby Chastain’s first name comes from a former therapist of mine, who probably saved my life. In her own way, she could work magic, too. Her last name comes from soccer player Brandi Chastain, who I was hot for back when I was writing Black Magic Woman. Stan Markowski’s last name is the same as a guy I went to high school with, and “Stanley” is stereotypically Polish, which is what I wanted for the character.

Amber - How do you come up with the titles for your books? Do you always go with the first title or is it hard to come up with the right one?

Justin - For a long time, Black Magic Woman was called The Protector, but then someone came out with a novel of the same title before the book went to press. But once I had the new title of the first book, the others were easy. We had a devil of a time (so to speak) coming up with Hard Spell. We wanted something that had a noirish feeling about it, but wouldn’t be confused with a mystery. We also wanted a pattern that we could use for a number of titles (you do that in series fiction, you know. It’s part of your “brand”). So now we have Hard Spell and Evil Dark. I trust the pattern is evident. The third book’s working title is Known Devil, but that’s still under discussion.

Amber - Did you always wanted to be an author? Why did you pick the
Paranormal Urban Fantasy genre?

Justin - No, I always wanted to be a cowboy, later a fireman. In high school and college, I used to amuse my friends by writing stories that were parodies of popular genres, but I never planned on earning a living as a writer – hell, I don’t do that now. Thank Goddess (as Libby would say) for the day job.

As for paranormal urban fantasy, I write what I like to read. In fact, I was reading it before anyone was calling it paranormal urban fantasy. It used to fall under the broad umbrella of “Horror.”

Amber - How long on average does it take you to write a book? Do you have a process you follow? or do you just start at page one and see what happens?

Justin - There’s been a lot of variation, especially as my procrastination problem gets worse. Black Magic Woman took about a year. On the other hand, I wrote most of Sympathy for the Devil in about three months – and even so, I was late turning it in.

Amber - There are a lot of online sites taking up peoples time lately. Are you on Facebook or any other sites? Do you think the sites are useful or do they just take up too much of your time?

Justin - I have a Facebook page, but I rarely go there. It’s supposed to be possible to use social media to sell books, but I still can’t figure out if that works, or how. I find online pornography much more of a distraction than social media. Although, I guess porn is social media, too – in a sense.

Amber - Are you a full time writer or do you have a day job? If yes, How do you divide your time?

Justin - I have a day job toiling in the groves of academe – I’m a college professor. I devote more and more of my time to my writing as the deadline draws near, probably to the detriment of my students.

Amber - Who has been your biggest inspiration in life?

Justin - My late wife, Patricia Grogan.

Amber - If you could live anywhere in the world. Where would you live?

Justin - Across the street from you, Amber.

Amber - Thanks for stopping by again!


Contest Time

One lucky entrant will win their choice of Justin Gustainis book!

How To Enter

If you could live anywhere in the world. Where would you live?

No idea = No Entry

Earn more entries for each link you place about this contest on the net. You can post on Facebook, Twitter & MySpace but make sure you add links here for me to confirm your entries! However please do not make individual postings for each entry. Please post all your entries in one post.

Advertise Amberkatze's Book Blog on your site and get an extra entry for this and every other contest!

Amberkatze's Book Blog

Have you 'Liked' Amberkatze's Book Blog on Facebook?

You can also earn extra entries by emailing your friends about the contest. Just make sure you send a copy of your email or receipt to me at Amberkatzes_book_blog at gmx dot net.

Make sure you post your links here so I can confirm your entries.

Keep the contests going by using the Bookdepository.com and Amazon.com links/Banners below and around the site!

The Book Depository

The contest will stay open until Thursday 1st of September 2011 4pm CET and the winner will be picked by a randomizer. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.


Anonymous said...

If I could live anywhere in the world, I would like to live in Scotland. I've heard it is beautiful there.

debbie said...

I would like to live in a small village, in the country, over in England.

Anonymous said...

If I could live anywhere in the world, I would want to live in Ireland. I am sure it is beautiful there. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book. Tore923@aol.com

SandyG265 said...

I'd like to live in New Mexico.

sgiden at verizon.net

JenM said...

I've lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, so I'm kind of partial to cities on the Bay. If I had to choose one place, it would be Sydney Australia.
jen at delux dot com

Anonymous said...

I would live on the outskirts of Montreal. It's the most beautiful city in the world, and I'd be close enough to take it in but on the outskirts I'd have enough room for my horses and a large organic garden.

Julie S said...

It would definitely have to be Hawaii. The weather is perfect.

Aurian said...

Great interview Amber, again. And I stil haven't started reading his books, shame on me!
I would love to live in New Orleans, America. City of the occult, the ancient and the new. In the country of bookshops and teashops :)

BrigidsBlest said...

I'd live in New Orleans, without a doubt.

Or Ireland as a non-American choice.

BrigidsBlest @ yahoo . com

Crystal said...

Italy, without a doubt...it's all about the scenery and the food.

Ironstrangeprompts said...

If I could live anywhere in the world I would live in New Zealand.


Barbara E. said...

That's a hard one. I love the US, so I'd probably stay here, but I think I'd like to live in Oregon. I'm kind of tired of hot weather (I live in Florida), so I think I'd like the cooler weather.

Andra Lyn said...

No doubt about it I would live in Europe...as for where...well, I would live with my best friend Laureline in Nice France during the summer, and move down to the coast of southern Spain with my roommate nekane during the winter, and periodically we would all visit our boys in Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands...:)


Alicia0385 said...

Thats easy I would live right here in good ol Ky. This is my home and I love it!


Stephanie said...

I would live in Ireland.


Jade said...

I'd love to live in Greece. I've always been fascinated with the culture and myths of the country :)


maddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Starr K said...

If I could live anywhere in the world I would probably live in Australia or New Zealand

trichie said...

Would love to live in England like the BARD did.


minervabcn said...

My choice would be Paris. It's such a wonderful city!!


Pam S said...

A smaller village in Ireland or Scotland would be nice :).

Loved the interview ty for sharing!

pams00 @ aol.com

Audra said...

I would live in Hawaii

Vickie said...

I would love to live in Austin, Texas. It is one of the absolute coolest and fun towns I've visited.

I do so highly enjoy Justin's books. I've read the first two in the Morris and Chastain series and look forward to reading the third and many more, as well as reading HARD SPELL.

Cheryl said...

This is a hard one. I'd like to live in England, maybe outside of a little town outside of Birmingham.

Thanks for the giveaway. I just picked up Hard Spell during one of my frenzied book buying runs to the Borders that's closing here. Looking forward to reading it.

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

I love where I live at so Granite Falls, NC.

+1 http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=203393529723593&id=1184379567

+1 http://twitter.com/#!/alterlisa/status/108797589486436353


alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Michelle M. said...

Hands down, I'd live on Maui, on Makenna Beach. Will have to check my library for Justin Gustainis' books like I need another author to follow!

meshe/michelle m.

donnas said...

Any place with no humidity. So Im thinking a desert climate. There is no way to truly express how much I hate living where its humid.

bacchus76 at myself dot com