Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Hell or High Water by Joy Castro

Welcome to Author Joy Castro

Joy Castro is a memoirist best known for her book The Truth Book: Escaping a Childhood of Abuse Among Jehovah’s Witnesses, published in 2005. In addition to non-fiction, she also writes poetry and short fiction. She earned her B.A. at Trinity University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in literature at Texas A&M University. In 2007, she joined the faculty at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she is currently an associate professor with a joint appointment in English and Ethnic Studies.

Joy’s website:

If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 things would you want with you?
A desalinator, my husband, and the New York Public Library.  Not that my husband is a thing.

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Dulce de leche.  More, please.

Please tell us in one sentence only why we should read your book.
It’s scary, real, and fun; it has a kick-ass protagonist, Nola Céspedes; and it’s set in New Orleans, the coolest of cities.

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?
Yes!  “Heart of Steel,” by the New Orleans funk band Galactic with Irma Thomas, on their album Ya-Ka-May.  It’s Nola’s anthem.  I imagine her listening to it on her iPod during her morning run through the streets and parks of New Orleans.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen? 
A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  When I was little, I loved the dramatic story and the way kindness and goodness triumph at the end.  Now that I’m grown up, I love the way that storytelling and imagination sustain the heroine, Sara Crewe.

What is one book everyone should read?
Middlemarch by George Eliot, a fantastic novel you can get lost in.  It has a great heroine, and kindness and goodness triumph at the end.  Hmm….

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
“Don’t take it personally.”  What?  “Any of it.”

How do you react to a bad review?
Well, first I cry.  Then I storm around, picking apart the review and ranting about how wrong and clueless the reviewer was.  After I’ve calmed down, I resolve to write the next book even better, so no one can criticize it for the same problems.  Obviously, I haven’t managed to take the best advice anyone has ever given me.

What TV show do you watch that you’d be embarrassed to admit? 
Criminal Minds.  I’m a complete junkie.  I think I’ve seen every episode.  My husband and I quote it to each other:  “I think the unsub is devolving…”

Favorite smell? 
Bergamot.  Cardamom.  Tuberose.  Can’t decide.  My characters in my novels always smell like something.  One woman smells like buttercream frosting.  One smells like tangerines and musk.

Hot or Cold? 

Horror or Romance? 

Action or Drama?

Summer or Winter? 

Beach or Pool? 

Shoes or Sandals?

Harry Potter or Twilight? 

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? 
My collection of personal essays Island of Bones will be out this September, and it explores some of the same material that Hell or High Water does.  And I just sent the final manuscript to my editor of BAD SHOOT, the second crime novel starring Nola Céspedes, which is also set in New Orleans.  

Favorite quote from a movie? 
“We have a view.”  ~George Emerson, smiling to his wife Lucy, at the end of A Room with a View.  I believe in romance.  I believe in happy endings.  Even for trouble-making journalists on the New Orleans crime beat.

Nola Céspedes, an ambitious young reporter at the Times-Picayune,finally catches a break: an assignment to write her first full-length feature. While investigating her story, she also becomes fixated on the search for a missing tourist in the French Quarter. As Nola’s work leads her into a violent criminal underworld, she’s forced to face disturbing truths from her own past.

Vividly rendered in razor-sharp prose, this haunting thriller is a riveting journey of trust betrayed—and the courageous struggle to rebuild. Fast-paced, atmospheric, and with a knockout twist, Joy Castro’s Hell or High Water features an unforgettable heroine as fascinating and multi-layered as New Orleans itself. 

Giveaway Details
1 copy of Hell or High Water
Open to US only
Ends 7/31/12

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