Friday, 16 November 2012

Words with... Douglas Vance Castagna


Welcome Douglas Vance Castagna, author of Lust and various short stories,
which have appeared in anthologies. His favourite genre is horror and he writes because 
it's "a need". He says: "I suppressed it (writing) for a while, but it did little to stop me 
from plotting things out in my mind. Now that I’ve reopened that outlet, I fear I cannot 
put the genie back into the bottle!"


What is your day job or are you lucky enough to write for a living?

I am a teacher, high School, going on twenty years now, and while it is a job that affords you the opportunity of time, it is a mentally draining one.

What books have you written so far?

Lust is my sole novella. Other than that, I have had stories appear in Wake Up Dead, Ten Silver Bullets, Tales For The Toilet, and Sirens Call Ezine.

What works in progress do you have?

Currently, I am working on a screenplay for Lust and a novel of the Santeria.

How long did it take you to write your book/s?

The book is written in my mind and rewritten many times before I even sit in front of a computer. So, I would say that while a first draft may be down within a few weeks, it has fermented in my mind over several months. Short stories, on the other hand, take days, and may be knocking around in my head for a week or so. That’s the first draft, mind you, not the completed work.


Do you write linear, or jump back and forth? Do you plan or write by the seat of your pants?

I try to write linear – all the time. Even though I may have an intended outcome in my mind, sometimes the characters have minds of their own and go about things in a different way than I originally envisioned.

Why do you write?

A need. I suppressed it for a while, but it did little to stop me from plotting things out in my mind. Now that I’ve reopened that outlet, I fear I cannot put the genie back into the bottle.

How long have you been writing?

I was on a hiatus for like twenty years. Actually, while I was in my MFA program, which ended in 1996, I wrote a lot more. Then I put my writing on the back burner. Always a fan of horror, I never tried my hand at it until late last year, and I have not stopped since.

Where and when do you write? Do you have set times?

No set time, which is a bad thing. I am very undisciplined in that respect. Sometimes I have a creative spurt at work during a free period, and run to a computer and get something down. I email it to myself, come home and rework it. Usually, on weekends I will tinker with some scenes I have already written and rework new ones. I do most of my work in my bedroom on my old tower computer.

Which character from your books do you like most / are most like?

I would say I am most like the protagonist from my self-published ebook, Teaching can be Murder.

What do you think is the ideal recipe for a good novel or story?

Not being able to telegraph the end. Nothing disappoints me more with a novel, or a movie, then when I can guess the outcome from the opening scenes. I like to be surprised.

Have you ever based a character on someone from real life? And did you tell them?

Once can see themselves in many different characters. It may be best I don’t answer. I plead the fifth. LOL

If you had to pick some actors/actresses to play the characters in your book, who would you hire?

I would say, for the role of Lillith, Emma Stone or Scarlett Johansson. I am not commenting on acting ability, just the look, but I would really leave that to casting, because I’d rather have someone who can breathe life into the part than merely look the part.

Who is your hero / heroine?

It is Veterans Day, as I sit here and write this, and I am mindful that they all do what we take for granted and that is to lay down their lives for us. So, each and every one of them would qualify for me, as well as each and every first responder. They are true heroes.

Which book do you wish you had written?

It, by Stephen King. Definitely.

Which three authors would you like to take to the pub?

Well, Jimmy Pudge, and my editor/publisher/author, Adam Millard. Two very different guys and I am sure we would have a great time. I, of course, would be lying if I did not add Stephen King to the mix. Not sure how talkative he is after a few drinks, but can try once, right?

Are you published or self-published? What is your experience?

I am both, actually. I put out my first book very early last year on Pubit from Barnes and Noble, but when I lowered the price because of their contracts, I began to lose money when I sold a book, so I took it down and put it up on Amazon. Also, some stories made their debut on Smashwords. Late last year, a publisher from a small press – Adam Millard of Crowded Quarantine – asked to use one of my stories for an anthology. That anthology was Wake up Dead. Since then, I have had a few stories published and Lust came out this past September.

How do you find the marketing experience?

Horrible! It is hard to be a self-promoter for me, though some other writers have been great at hosting guest blogs and the like. And my publisher is getting the word out, although being in the UK it’s harder for me to coordinate at my end. But with time, I am sure it will work out.

What advice would you give other writers just starting out?

Keep writing and rewriting. Through all the waiting and submissions, keep writing.

Do you have a blog? What do you blog about?

I have a blog, I use it mainly to promote my book, and upcoming stories. You can all contact me there. 

What other hobbies do you have?

Reading, I read at least three to five books a week – every genre there is, and non-fiction as well. I cannot get enough. I love movies as well; horror mostly, of course.

What would you like to achieve in the next five years?

Lottery winner, retire, move to a warmer climate. Barring that, I would say greater success in my writing career and become more prolific.

If you won the Lotto or a major publishing contract, what would you do with that dough?

See above. LOL. Seriously, I would love to quit my day job, and move down south and write more. That would be great; maybe produce a movie from one of my books.

Complete one of these stories in 100 words or less…
Story choice 1. There was once a wee worm called Fred...

There was once a wee worm called Fred
He was surprised to see that he bled
It took him only just one look
To notice the fisherman’s hook
And with that a fish gobbled him up, dead.

...Wow, that was truly horrible. 

To connect with Douglas and check out his books, click on the links:





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