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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Author Interview: Justin Gustainis & Blog Hop

If you are looking for the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop, you are in the correct place and thank you for stopping by.  We are #29 on blog hop list.  We celebrate everything mystery and suspense here - no doubt you can find something of interest!  This month we have been spotlighting paranormal mysteries and authors.  We have three individual books available to win, all of them are paranormal mystery/crime fiction.

Hard Spell by Justin Gustainis - his interview is below.  The review for the book is here (click here.) Warning: R rating on this one.  Note in comments if you don't want this.

A Taste of the Nightlife by Sarah Zettel, the review coming later this week and her interview next Monday.

A Hard Day's Fright by Casey Daniels.  Read the review I did (click here) or the author interview (click here.)

Entry for giveaway lasts until October 31 6:00 p.m. (MST).

I will be shipping the books to the winners except for Hard Spell which the author shall ship.  U.S. residents only please.

How to enter:

*** First, you must be a member (follower) of this blog.***

All entries are to be in the comments for this post.

I will accept entries for this giveaway Monday October 24 beginning at midnight (MST) through to 6:00 p.m (MST) on Monday October 31.    
I shall notify the winner via the email address you provide to get your mailing address and have the prize sent directly to you.

IF you are a member of this blog, you only need to leave a comment with your correct email.

BECOME a member of this blog if you aren't already and enjoy the celebration of all things mystery and suspense.

At the end of this post you will find the blog hop listing to go to the next blog on the list. 

Now to the interview with Hard Spell author, Justin Gustainis!

- Do you start your next mystery with the killer, the victim or a plot idea?

Since the next book is the second in a series, I started with the plot: someone is making and distributing supernatural "snuff films," and the most recent one suggests a link to Scranton (where the series is set).  The first book in the series started with a premise (the supernatural exists, and everyone knows it) and a character (Detective Sgt. Stan markowski of the Occult Crimes Unit).

- Do you outline the plot or some variation of that (a little/a lot of detail, a strict 3 act structure etc) before sitting down and writing?

I usually start with a premise, then decide how I want the tale to end.  After that, it's just a matter of getting from Point A to Point B in a way that makes sense and that, I hope, the reader will find entertaining.

- What is your process for developing a character? Do you use pictures, a worksheet or just let the character(s) tell you about him/herself as you write?

I listen for the character's voice in my head.  Either he/she is talking to me, or to another character.  That's how I "find out" what the character is like, and what he/she wants.

-  Were you always interested in vampires, werewolves, and witches (an old Kolchak perhaps?) The Joe Friday/Dragnet style is unique in paranormal books, did that voice come naturally to you or did you have to work on it?

I loved that stuff as a kid, and when I was twelve, I found a copy of Dracula at my local library.  At my last estimate, I owe $3,441.75 in fines on that book.  Although I liked Kolchak (the two made-for-TV movies, not the series, which even Darren McGavin hated), what really turned me on to the "occult detective" genre was another made-for-TV movie, Spectre, starring Robert Culp.  It was a pilot written by Gene Roddenberry after Star Trek finished its run; the series, alas, was never picked up.
Stan Markowski's voice is an amalgam of Joe Friday, Mike Hammer, and Robert B. Parker's Spenser.  Oh, and two guys I knew growing up.

-  Do you have anything special you do before writing, particular music or a special room/location that helps you get in the zone and write?

I do most of my writing in my office at home, which is decorated with a lot of occult detective memorabilia.  I have posters from movies (Hellboy, Constantine) and TV shows (The X-Files, Supernatural, Blood Ties), action figures (Mulder, Scully, Buffy, Frank Black), mugs, keychains, magnets, you name it.

I don't always listen to music when I write, but when I do it's something like Mark Snow's soundtracks for The X-Files and Millennium.

- What is your work schedule like when you're writing and how long does it take you to write a book?

I have a day job committing higher education, so most of my writing is done in the evening.  It takes me about a year to complete a book, but I should mention that about half of that is spent procrastinating.  So the actual writing probably takes six months.

- What in your background prepared you to write mystery novels and particularly paranormal mysteries?

Only the fact that I've read a gazillion of them.  I've got a Masters in English, but you'd be surprised how little those courses on Victorian Poetry and Samuel Johnson help in describing a werewolf's death throes.  I attended the wonderful Odyssey Writing Workshop in 2008, but I'd already published two novels by that time.

-  Who is your favorite mystery character?  Who is your favorite paranormal character?

Oddly (perhaps) enough, my favorite mystery character is a woman: Jane Whitefield, from the series by Thomas Perry.  My favorite paranormal character would have to be Harry Dresden (from Jim Butcher's "Dresden Files" novels). [read my review of the first in the Dresden Files here.]

-  Which author has influenced or inspired you the most?

 I don't know if this qualifies as "influenced or inspired," but Jim Butcher (mentioned above) was very kind to me when I was starting out.  Even though he didn't know me, he agreed to look at the manuscript of my first novel, The Hades Project.  He gave me some very encouraging feedback, and even wrote a nice blurb for the cover when I found a publisher.  Jim is a guy whose immense talent as a writer is matched by his generosity of spirit.

- How did you get your first break to getting published?  Was it at a writer's conference or mailing a query letter?

It was a contest.  A small independent publisher was holding a novel contest; first prize was publication.  I sent the manuscript for The Hades Project, along with the entry fee.  A month later, a got a letter refunding my entry fee, because the contest had not received enough entries to make it viable.  However, the publisher liked the book so much, they decided to publish it, anyway.

- What are you currently reading?

To Kill the Dead, by Richard Kadry.  It's the second book in his "Sandman Slim" series, and it totally rocks.

- What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I can't live, let alone write, without copious amounts of Cherry Diet Pepsi.

-  If your Occult Crimes Unit Investigations were to be made into a movie, who would you cast in your character's roles?

Twenty years ago, either Roy Schneider or Peter Coyote would have been perfect for Stan.  These days, maybe Jeff Bridges would be good.  For Stan's partner Karl, Edward Norton.  For Stan's daughter, Christine, Ellen Page would be very good, I think.


-  Do you have anything you would like to share about your next book in the series?

Well, it's more than a month overdue.... and [someone is making and distributing supernatural "snuff films,"]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

THANK You Mr. Gustainis for that interview and for the giveaway copy of Hard Spell to a lucky winner.  Thanks for the tip on the Jane Whitefield series, I am getting the debut book from the library to learn more about it. I had not read any of that series before.

Below you will find the Blog Hop listing.  Thank you for stopping by!

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Anonymous said...

I haven't read your books, but they sound really good. I love paranormal books!

Ashlyn_Jai said...

Thanks for the giveaway! :)

holls said...

GFC holly wright

Anne said...

Follower and subscriber-Anne38

I already have A Hard Day's Fright, but I'd love either of the other two books.

throuthehaze said...

I follow you via GFC (Throuthehaze)
I would love A Taste of the Nightlife by Sarah Zettel
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

KaeliH said...

Thanks for the giveaway, follow on GFC
kohines at gmail dot com

trinity said...

The books sound great!
Trinity Blacio

Kelly said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

BookStacksOnDeck said...

Taste of the Nightlife sounds good! Thanks for the giveaway!
-Heather @BookStacksOnDeck

Unknown said...

Thanks for the chance to enter, I would like to enter for the the second two books (A Tase of the Nightlife and A Hard Day's Fright)

kissyjensen at gmail dot com

Hot Off the Shelves said...

New follower here. Glad I found you and thanks for the giveaway.


anme said...

Thank you for the interview. I liked the ancedote about Jim Butcher for it's always nice to hear that one of your favorite writers is a pretty decent bloke.

Thank you for the giveaway!
I am a GFC follower as melora brock
melorabrock {at} gmail {dot} com

Michele said...

Thanks for the giveaway!!

GFC Michele Luker

jmluker at winco dot net

Indie said...

Thanks for your giveaway. I'm a new follower.

I also have a Spooktacular giveaway at

Have a great week!

Bonnie Gets A Say said...

I'm a new follower. Thanks for the giveaway!

mellocello1 AT juno DOT com

Jess said...

new follower havnt read any of these books but they sound good!

j.hansen1709 at

Andra Lyn said...

Thanks for the chance to win!

andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

Adelina Priddis said...

I'm a new follower, and look forward to hearing about more mystery books! Thanks for the giveaway! (oh and I would like to NOT be entered into the first book, thanks for the warning)

BLHmistress said...

Thanks for the giveaway!



Ricki said...

Great giveaway!
GFC - rickimc

Unknown said...

Awesome! thanks for sharing your thoughts this looks very interesting

GFC: kimyunalesca

Jolene and Family said...

Thanks for the giveaway and chance to win

new GFC follower


Mia J. said...

Thanks for the great giveaway.

mia at jacobsracing dot com

Unknown said...

Thanks for the giveaway.

Cindy said...

Thank you for the chance to win your giveaway
I'm a GFC follower - Cindy Macbeth
cindymacbeth at gmail dot com

Carol N Wong said...

Thank you for this great giveaway,I am a GFC follower.


Katie said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

GFC follower: Katie


Bella said...


GFC - Marie Kacerosky

BellaMarie (at) tampabay . rr . com

Jennifer Mathis said...

new to me author but book sounds great

Unknown said...

Thank you for participating in the blog hop and the giveaway opportunity. I enjoyed the author review.

Kirsten said...

Thanks for the giveaway! Happy to have found your blog!

SusanB said...

Thanks for the giveaway! GFC follower.

Christine A. said...

Some great books you are giving away- thanks.
GFC- Christine A.

your1chef at aol dot com

Nay Nay said...

Thanks for the chance to win.
GFC Follower name: Nay Nay

reneebennett35 at yahoo dot com

~April~ said...

Thanks for the great giveaway...
Following GFC as aprilharvell

June M. said...

I have not read any of these authors before but am always looking for new authors, especially of paranormals/mysteries. Thank you so much for the chance to try new to me authors.
GFC follower: June M.
manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

Krystal Larson said...

They sound great, thank you! edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom

Rhianna said...

Great interview. I'm stoked to see you're giving away A Taste of the Nightlife! I read and loved it this summer.

always.and.never AT gmail DOT com

Pauline MIlner said...

Thanks for participating and offering this great giveaway.

I very much enjoyed your interview.


I am following your blog publically with Google Friend Connect.
GFC ID: dod

Krysykat said...

Wow, great books to win.
GFC- Krysta Banco


Janelle said...

I follow in GFC!
Best wishes and thanks for a chance to win this Spooktacular Giveaway!

Dunkum/Koontz Family Blog said...

I follow in GFC
This is wonderful... thank you!

Ashley Prince said...

I follow with GFC: Ashley Prince

First of all, what a wonderful looking blog. Secondly, thanks for a great giveaway.

geschumann said...

GFC - Gloria
The books sound interesting. Thanks for the giveaway!

geschumann at live dot com

Laura H. said...

Thanks for the great giveaway and for participating in this blog hop! I already follow via GFC (MamaHendo3). I'm one of those readers who is first attracted to a book cover and I must say "A Hard Day's Fright" looks very intriguing!


Read for your future! said...

I would really love to read these books

MommysYAaddiction said...

Thanks for the Giveaway!
GFC followr mommy_to_7
mommyrds at aol dot com

sablelexi said...

Thank you for the giveaway.

I'm a GFC follower as sablelexi

jlynettes @ hotmail . com

X-treme Reader said...

Awesome giveaway and great interview!!!

Jennifer Sternberg

Cheryl said...

I follow you via GFC

sweepingtheusa at gmail dot com

Judy said...

Thanks for the giveaway.

GFC follower-judy


Sherry said...

Thanks for the giveaway.
GFC follower - Sherry S.

sstrode at scrtc dot com

Kristi said...

You have some of my favorite genre of books up for giveaway! I am a new follower!

kherbrand at comcast dot net

The Book Diva said...

Would like to win A Taste of the Nightlife by Sarah Zettel or A Hard Day's Fright by Casey Daniels
Thanks for the chance to win.

thebookdiva2011 at gmail dot com

Jayna said...

Thanks for the interview! It was interesting - I think I'll have to add Hard Spell to my to-read list (or maybe win a copy!). I love Dresden Files, and other occult detective stories, so this sounds right up my alley.


Helen said...

They all look great! Paranormal books are my favorite.Thanks for the giveaway. follow on gfc as Helen
helldog3 at

The Happy Booker said...

Thanks for having such a generous giveaway with such an easy entry. Great blog! I'm happy to be a new follower and I look forward to enjoying your reviews!

Donna @ The Happy Booker
ahappybooker at gmail dot com

Melissa Sugar said...

I have not read your books, but they sound like what I love to read.

Melissa Sugar

astroqueen67 said...

New follower on GFC as astroqueen67.I would like to enter for the second book (A Taste of the Nightlife) Holly Swint

jcwega27 said...


Francine Anchondo said...

Thanks for the giveaway


Mimi Hayden said...

Thanks for the great giveaway! Any of those books would be great...I love mystery/suspence! Follow on GFC as lambeaugal
lambeaugal at

Danah said...

Thank you for the giveaway!

GFC Follower: Danah

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

Thanks for participating in the blog hop.
I'm a new follower on GFC-Lisa Richards

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Tonya Dean said...

GFC follower - Tonya Dean


Holly S. said...

I follow you via GFC as Holly S.

LadyVampire2u said...

These are awesome books! Thanks for the giveaway.
GFC: LadyVampire2u

LadyVampire2u AT gmail DOT com

nicolesender said...

GFC follower: nicolesender
Great selection of books!

Emma Michaels said...

Haven't read any of them yet!!!

Emma Michaels

Germaine Dulac said...

Thanks for the giveaway!
GFC follower

Lmbrunken said...

GFC: lmbrunken

thanks for the giveaway

lmbrunken at gmail dot com

SiNn said...

wow ty for the chance they all sound like awesome books

im a gfc follower as SiNn


Carol M said...

Thanks for the giveaway!
I follow on GFC.
mittens0831 at aol dot com

Cassandra @ Book & Movie Dimension a Blog said...

Thanks for the giveaway.
New Follower.
Email:bookandmoviedimensionblogger (at) yahoo (dot) com

LB said...

Follower as LB

petrellinyc-blog at yahoo dot com

wanda f said...

thank you for the chance Id love to win these they look great

I follow via gfc

wanda f

Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen said...

Enter me, please. I'm a follower, but I'd rather not have Hard spell.

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