Friday, July 22, 2011

Interview with Justin Gustainis & Hard Spell Book Trailer

Embrace Your Oddities is delighted to welcome author Justin Gustainis to the blog. Mr. Gustainis is the author of Hard Spell, the first book in his new occult crime series which will be released on July 26th. The third book in his Morris & Chastain series, Sympathy for the Devil, will also be released on July 26th. How exciting! Don't miss Hard Spell's book trailer following the interview!

Genre:  Adult, Paranormal, Mystery
Series: An Occult Crimes Unit Investigation (Stan Markowski), Book 1
Fantasy Element: Vampires, Witches, Goblins, Sorcerers, Deamons
Order Online:

Embrace Your Oddities:  Describe your feelings about the upcoming release of Hard Spell & Sympathy for the Devil, and tell us a little about the novels/series.
Justin Gustainis: I’m tremendously excited about June 26th, because that’s the date two of my books are being released (by different publishers).  Hard Spell is the first in a new series set in an “alternate universe” Scranton, PA.  It’s a world where supernatural creatures exist, and everybody knows it.  “Supes” (as they’re called) are citizens – which means they have to obey the law, like everybody else.  If they don’t, Detective Sgt. Stan Markowski of the Occult Crimes Investigation Unit is the one who gets the call.

The other book is Sympathy for the Devil, third in the “Morris/Chastain Investigations” series.  Occult investigator Quincey Morris and his partner, “white” witch Libby Chastain, learn that one of the leading contenders for the Presidency is secretly possessed by a demon.  If he is elected, all Hell will break loose – literally.  Quincey and Libby want to stop him, but in the way are the brave and dedicated agents of the U.S. Secret Service – and all the powers of Hell, itself.
EYO: What sets your new series (Occult Crimes Unit Investigation, Markowski) apart from your Morris & Chastain series?
JG: Apart from the point of view (Morris/Chastain are third person; Markowski is first person) is the way the supernatural is perceived. As already mentioned, supernatural creatures are out in the open in the Markowski books; in the Morris/Chastain series there’s what the RPG people call a “masquerade” going on – the supernatural is hidden from all but a few humans who have the ability to ferret it out.
EYO: What drew you into the paranormal genres?
Justin Headshot.jpgJG: Most of what I write might be called “occult detective” stories, and I write those because that’s what I like to read. I’ve always wondered what Sherlock Holmes would have done if the Sussex vampire had turned out to be real.
EYO: As a male author in a largely female genre, do you enjoy being the “minority”? Are there any benefits, or does it make your job more difficult?
JG: Well, one benefit is that I get to sit with some pretty hot chicks when I’m on panels at conventions.  

I don’t know if being male helps or hurts my sales. You could argue it either way: that being male helps me stand out from the crowd of (largely) female writers, or that readers expect urban fantasy protagonists to be female, and don’t like to read UF books with male heroes. But I have no data, so I just go on doing what I do. In the words of a famous spinach-eating sailor, “I yam what I yam, and that’s all that I am.”
EYO: Are experiences in your novels based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
JG: Quincey Morris, of course, comes from Dracula – my guy is the great-great grandson of the man who died in the shadow of Castle Dracula while helping to end the evil Count’s existence. Libby Chastain’s first name, and some aspects of her character, are based on an old friend of mine. Markowski’s last name is the same as a guy I went to high school with.

EYO: Which of your characters was the most fun to create?

JG: I’d say Stan Markowski. He’s the first character I’ve written who speaks in his own voice (i.e., first-person narration) rather than some omniscient storyteller’s. Apparently Stan has a really dirty mouth, too.

EYO: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner, and why?

JG: In Sympathy for the Devil there’s a female demon named Ashley who’s sent to Earth on a mission I can’t reveal here. I think she’d be a fun dinner companion. Least favorite would be her boss, Astaroth – one of the most powerful demons in Hell, and a thoroughly nasty piece of work.

EYO: If there was a film based on any of your novels, who would you cast as some of the main characters?

JG: I think Edward Norton would be a great Quincey Morris. Catherine Keener should play Libby Chastain. Twenty years ago, Roy Schneider would have been perfect as Markowski, but now he’s too old – in fact, he’s so old, he’s dead. Al Pacino is a little too old, but he could probably pull off the role of Markowski.

EYO: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

JG: I am running a huge contest in connection with Sympathy for the Devil. First prize is a $50 Amazon gift card, and I’ll name a character after you in the next Morris/Chastain book. This isn’t one of those contests where all you have to do is leave a comment to enter – there’s more involved. Details are on my web site,

Favorite author? Kim Newman

Favorite book? Anno Dracula, by Kim Newman

Favorite song? “Sarah,” by Jefferson Starship

Favorite college/professional sports team? The Vermont Lake Monsters (duh!)

Favorite place to vacation? New York City

Favorite food? Pizza

Favorite movie? The Usual Suspects

Favorite television series? True Blood

Favorite quote/saying? “The best trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn’t exist.”

What book are you reading now? Supernatural Noir, edited by Ellen Datlow

If you could have only one supernatural power, what would it be? The power to heal broken hearts.

If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money? I think I’d start a magazine.  I’ve even got the name: Sepulcre—the Magazine of Horror and Dark Fantasy.

If you were trapped on a deserted island, what are the three items you could not live without? A good book, a hammock – and a solar-powered radio transmitter, so I could call for help.

And now for the BOOK TRAILER of HARD SPELL! This book is absolutely amazing, the best book I have read in years. If you enjoy reading paranormal, mystery, or crime books, this is the book for you!

For more information about the book and a sneak peak of the first chapter of Hard Spell, please visit the following link: Angry Robot Books

For more information about Justin's other novels and his Evil Ways Easter Egg Contest, please visit his website:

About The Author

Justin Gustainis was born in Northeast Pennsylvania in 1951. He attended college at the University of Scranton, a Jesuit university that figures prominently in several of his writings. After earning both Bachelor's and Master's degrees, he was commissioned a Lieutenant in the U. S. Army.

Following military service, he held a variety of jobs, including speechwriter and professional bodyguard, before earning a Ph.D. at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
Mr. Gustainis currently lives in Plattsburgh, New York. He is a Professor of Communication at Plattsburgh State University, where he earned the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2002.

His academic publications include the book American Rhetoric and the Vietnam War, published in 1993, and a number of scholarly articles that hardly anybody has ever read.

Thanks for following EYO!


becca said...

great interview thanks for sharing

becca said...

great interview thanks for sharing

Mandy Lum said...

no problem :) The novel is one of the best I have ever read, had to share the love!

shah said...

Love the sound of this guys books - Will definitely take a look at them (esp if on Kindle). So glad I got to see this today, although I'm not quite sure it fits with Monday Madness? LOL! :D XX

Mandy Lum said...

Shah - Hard Spell is available on Kindle, and so are the 2nd and 3rd books in his Morris & Chastain Investigation series. You should definitely read Hard Spell, it is at the top of my favorite list.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...