Monday, January 7, 2008

Interview - Justin Gustainis

Darque Reviews welcomes Justin Gustainis!

Hi Justin, thanks so much for sharing your time with Darque Reviews. We’re looking forward to learning more about you and your new series.

Black Magic Woman, published by Solaris Books, is the first book in your Quincey Morris Supernatural Investigation series, can you give readers an idea of what to expect?

JG: The book has two distinct plotlines. In one, occult investigator and his partner, “white” witch Libby Chastain, are hired to save a family from a deadly curse that dates back to the Salem witch trials. Their quarry, a “black” witch of immense power, learns of their interest and decides to destroy them before they can get to her.

In the other plotline, a member of South Africa’s Occult Crimes Unit (which really exists) is brought to the US to help the FBI search for a ritualistic killer who has been abducting children and killing them for their organs. The South African and his assigned partner, an African-American FBI agent, try to sublimate their mutual antagonism in order to solve the case, which turns out to be far more sinister then even they suspect.

These two separate plotlines eventually come together – with a bang loud enough to wake the dead. And who knows, maybe they will….

Can you tell us how Quincey Morris developed into one of your characters? Was there a lot of research involved?

JG: I’ve always been interested in Quincey P. Morris, who is one of the supporting characters in the original novel Dracula. The American dies at the end of Stoker’s novel, but in my book we learn that he has a son from an earlier marriage, who is back in Texas. My hero is the original Quincey’s great-great grandson.

There wasn’t a great deal of research involved, other than re-reading Dracula, which is always a pleasure. I also researched Texas slang.

What are you working on now? What releases can your readers look forward to seeing from you in the upcoming year or so?

JG: I’ve contracted with my publisher, Solaris Books, to write a sequel to Black Magic Woman. It’s called Evil Ways and is due for publication in January, 2009. In it, Quincey and Libby aren’t really expected to do a great deal – except maybe save the world.

Solaris has also taken an option on two more titles in the “Quincey Morris Supernatural Investigations” series. So I expect to be busy for quite some time.

Do you have an idea of the number of books the series will include? Have you outlined the series to the end?

JG: No, I haven’t thought that far ahead. I’ll keep writing Quincey Morris novels as long as people want to read them (unless I run out of ideas first, which is too horrible to contemplate).

When did you start writing? Do you remember what your first story was about?

JG: I started writing to amuse my friends back in high school. I used to write these spy “novels” in which they all had prominent roles. I used to tell them that if they weren’t nice to me, I’d kill off their character.

Do you write full-time? What inspired you to pursue writing as a career?

JG: No, I don’t write full-time. A handful of people (like Stephen King, Danielle Steele, John Grisham) get rich writing fiction. A few handsful more (wasn’t that a Spaghetti Western?) manage to make a decent living at it. But most people, I think, who write (and publish) fiction have either a day job or a spouse with a day job.

I’ve got a day job. I’m a college professor at a university in New York.

How has being published changed your life?

JG: Not a great deal. I sometimes have to go to book signings on weekends. I also have to impose more discipline on my spare time. It used to be, “Well, I can write, or watch TV.” Now it’s more like “I’ve got a book manuscript with a deadline. I’d better write.”

Do you have any favorite authors? Have they been an influence in your writing?

JG: I suppose anybody who writes my kind of fiction has been influenced by Stephen King to some degree. But most of my other influences are mystery writers, both living (Thomas Perry, Robert B. Parker, Robert Crais) and dead (Ross Thomas and John D. MacDonald).

What do you enjoy doing with your time when your not busy writing? Do you have any hobbies?

JG: My hobby used to be writing. Now it’s become a second job (that I happen to love – most days). I’ve always loved to read fiction for relaxation. I’m just not able to read as much of it these days.

Before we say goodbye, is there anything else you’d like to share with readers or aspiring authors?

JG: Somebody once said that the difference between a published writer and an unpublished writer is persistence. That is absolutely true. If you want to be a writer, keep writing, and keep submitting, and never, ever give up.

Thanks so much for joining us Justin, and the best of luck with your new series!

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

You can visit the website of Justin Gustainis here:


Enchanted by Books said...

Great interview! I really want to read this book!!

I have an interview and giveaway on my blog today with Jennifer Rardin. Come visit me people!!

T.C. Robson said...

Excellent interview! (I'm coming to visit you in just a minute, Rachael!)

I like that high school answer. That's really creative.

Kimberly Swan said...

Rachael - Add it to your 'wish list'! :)

T.C. - It's just wonderful when the author is willing to do an interview! lol....I had to laugh over that answer too. That's certainly one way to keep your friends in line!

Tia Nevitt said...

Excellent, Kimberley. I plan on reading this novel next.

Kimberly Swan said...

Thanks Tia, hope you enjoy it as much as I did. :)

Wendy said...

This is on my wish list and my birthday is coming up - HINT HINT people! (whoever said I was subtle?)

Great interview Kimberly! I can't wait to read this book. :)

Enchanted by Books said...

I've had it on my wish list for quite a while! I can't wait for it to come out.

Kimberly Swan said...

Wendy - You're too funny! We won't accuse you of being When's your b-day?

Rachael - Not long now! :)