Friday, October 10, 2008

Interview: Diana Castilleja

Sorry, but we’re a little distracted today. The cable has gone out in the TMD offices and Jmo is stressing over missing True Blood this week. So, how do you get the cable man to make an emergency house call? You call on the author who has the cable man wrapped around her finger. That’s right Diana Castilleja is in the house.

Okay, cable man, fix our box while we chat with the lovely Diana.

TMD: Diana welcome to the Diaries and thanks for bringing tech support.

DC: Thanks for having me. Ignore the guy in the hot jeans and flashing smile. He’s mine, girls. *wink*

TMD: Could you tell our readers a little about The Eternal Kiss, your paranormal sizzler?

DC: Well, how much is a little? *BG* Diego’s story came to me as the NaNo for 2005. He actually had about five or six false starts as I tried to find the one that was “his”. I knew she was going to be a singer, and what her issues were going to be. I saw his story almost in its entirety before I even began writing it. When I started NaNo, I cleared the requisite 50K in nine days on him. He’s still one of my favorite characters.

TMD: As an author you’re all over the place, contemporary, romantic suspense, paranormal. Is there anything you can’t write? Seriously, out of all the genres you write, which fits you the best as a creator?

DC: Anything I won’t write… I won’t go near horror. I can’t watch scary movies. I watched Pet Cemetery through my fingers! I think I was fourteen. *BG* You’ll laugh, but the Blair Witch Project freaked me out. No nightmares, thankfully, but I still catch myself seeing the ending in my mind every now and then and that was years ago! Yep, that was as deep as my scary bone ever got.

My worlds are romance, regardless of where they occur. I think paranormal is one of my strongest genres, with fantasy and contemporary-romantic/suspense in there too. I love vampires, and shifters and the unknown tantalization that comes from it.

TMD: Paranormal is so huge right now. How hard do you find it to bring a unique voice to the reading public in the crush of authors filling the shelves? What do your vamps in The Eternal Kiss have that make them different from other authors’ creations?

DC: *sings* La-la-la… *clears throat* Right. Not that kind of voice. Unfortunately, glutting the market happens with every hot topic that sells well. But what we see now, actually took some six to ten years to happen. So what will be the next big thing? I wish I knew. I think so long as authors are supplying an in-demand product, there will always be new voices, however challenging it is to make them different, on the shelves. The trick will be maintain their stories and their readership for the long haul.

As for what makes my books different. *blush* I’m not really sure. My vampires are drawn after more traditional forms (Ashley, Rice) but have to face a conundrum to achieve their inner peace plus live with humans as more than a food supply. Having humans as friends has never happened to Diego. Having someone love him hasn’t happened either. The subsequent books are actually becoming more challenging, because the original formula for Diego’s book will have to be adapted for each vampire that comes to the front.

TMD: In contrast, your contemporaries have an entirely different voice from your paranormal works. Do you feel readers willingly make the jump between genres if it means following their favorite author?

DC: In this, I honestly feel that people are going to read what they like. If they like the author, then that is even better. They’re more willing to try a different genre because of their trust in that author’s style or voice.

I do think I have a certain sassitude that comes out in my lighter works, like my fantasy. Emotion is always key in my stories. I want them to be real to the reader. That is very important to me.

TMD: There’s a lot of emphasis on writing cross genre in the industry. Do you feel your openness to different genres gives you an advantage in your writing?

DC: Sometimes. I most often cross fantasy with another genre. But I also worry it makes authors write something to sound like, write like, another voice, and I don’t always feel that the demand is necessary, or beneficial to the story.

TMD: You’re also cofounder of Sweeter Romantic Notions. Would you tell us a little about this unique author site and its sister blog?

DC: This was started as a brain child between myself and Dayna Hart. When I was first published, the majority of (if not all) loops and discussion taking place were for the hotter and erotic stories. My first book was reminiscent of Harlequin Romance line. There is no sex in it at all. So when I couldn’t find what I was looking for, I created it.

SRN caters to the non-erotic, inspirational and all genre of romance fiction up to mainstream sensual writer and reader. Basically if you could find the heat or graphic-ness on the Wal-Mart shelf, then it was considered safe. We do group chats, loop chats and promotions that are handled by our lovely Promo Queen Adelle Laudan.

In the two years we’ve been going, SRN has drawn some great author attention and has made a strong and viable platform as a group for those who may feel overwhelmed or overlooked in the current online market. There is a sweeter reading market. We’re helping authors find the readers for that market.

TMD: You place some emphasis on Sweet in Sweeter Romantic Notions. Do you feel traditional romance is getting lost in the shuffle as Erotica grows in popularity?

DC: A lot of this is hung on promotion, pure and simple. Online writing requires online promotions. SRN gives the non-erotic writers that opportunity. Overall, yes it can be buried, but as more people are turning to online resources for their entertainment, I feel that all genres will eventually have an equal footing for those who are searching for a good book or a great author. Better reading software, handhelds, and ease of purchase and portability will make a big difference when it happens.

TMD: What are some of the benefits of an organization like SRN when it comes to promotion?

DC: Well, as I mentioned, we do group chats, where other authors are encouraged to hang out and support those who are in the spotlight at the moment. I’ve read many of the authors on the loop, and can say there’s some very talented writing happening there. When people are on hand who have the read the work being showcased, it really helps IMHO.

We also have a blog and a MySpace page. We do announcements to the group, and encourage everyone to use the loops for their hang out. Releases are done by announcement to the group.

TMD: As a Texan author how do you feel about the emergence of so many authors from Texas in the past years. J.R. Ward, Kimberly Raye, Karen McInerney and Julie Kenner just to name a few.

DC: I’m supposed to feel something? LOL J

Okay. Actually having new talent come from Texas doesn’t really bother me. Texas is a big state. I can share. *BG* *wink*

TMD: Time to bring on the insanity. Diana we here at the Diaries love to delve beneath the surface of authors and ask the hard hitting questions. If you were stuck on a deserted island and could bring only two things—don’t worry we have a list for you to pick from—what would they be?

Candy, rich creamy chocolate goodness. Coffee, the drink of the gods or a cowboy cable man vampire. Yes, run in fear, cable man. MorganO has a wicked set of chompers. Bite him. Bite him hard. I love it when they scurry away like that.

DC: Mmmm… Chocolate… and a strong cable guy to keep me company… I guess I’d have to take the cable dude… I mean, who’s going to kill spiders for me? *shudder* Can’t stand spiders. And if I couldn’t take him or the chocolate, I have a friend who will loan me some of her cabana boys.

TMD: Diana we’d like to thank you for joining us and bringing the hubby to fix the cable. Jmo becomes a big old bear when his TV goes out. Please let our readers know where to find you around the net and of course any juicy tidbits you have coming out we need to snap up.

DC: Let’s see… Places to find me Wal-Mart, Barton Creek Mall, J.C. Penney… Oh? Not that kind of finding? drats! *innocent looks*

Well, here’s the usual go to info:

and my email for those of you who wish to say hi… I don’t bite, even though I write about vampires. *wink*
Diana.Castilleja @

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