Monday, January 09, 2012

Scene of the Crime with Author Linda Castillo!

Having grown up just a few miles away from an Amish settlement in central Illinois, I can't resist reading crime fiction that features that culture. Not too long ago, I read and enjoyed Sworn to Silence, Castillo's first book to feature Kate Burkholder, the female chief of police in the Amish town of Painters Mill, Ohio. The fourth book in the series-- Gone Missing-- is due on the shelves in mid-June, so I'll be on the lookout for it!

Linda Castillo
Linda lives in the Texas Panhandle with her husband, horses and dogs. She's been known to compete a time or two in my favorite rodeo sport, barrel racing, and exciting days are ahead for her since Lifetime has ordered a film to be made based on Sworn to Silence. Here are a few links if you'd like to find out more about Linda Castillo and the books she's written:

Fun stuff, here we come!

What was the very first book you remember reading and loving? What makes that book so special?

I still remember the first time my mom took me to the library.  I wanted a book about dogs. We couldn’t find one (small library) and ended up checking out a book titled Once There Was a Cat.  As a preteen, I was crazy about horses and read everything I could get my hands on, fiction and non-fiction alike.  I also loved books with Native American characters.  Some of my favorites:  Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series.  Logan Forster’s Desert Storm.  And my favorite non-fiction: The Complete Book of Horses and Ponies by Margaret Cabell Self.

[I have a copy of Margaret Cabell Self's book sitting on a shelf in my library along with a couple of her other titles!]

Outside of your writing and all associated commitments, what do you like to do in your free time? 

Linda and George
I have two horses (Appaloosas—a mare and a gelding) and they are a huge part of my life.  Not only do I ride and train, but they are also part of the family.  I love riding and would do it every day if the weather and time permitted.  My husband and I live near Palo Duro Canyon and have ridden trails all over the canyon.  I also dabble in barrel racing, which is a real adrenaline rush for me.  But the sport requires total commitment and I just don’t have the time to train every day.

If I were to visit your hometown, where would you recommend that I go? (I like seeing and doing things that aren't in all the guide books.)

Palo Duro Canyon, Texas
I love off-the-beaten-path excursions, too.  I live in the Texas Panhandle, which is arid high plains.  We have unbelievable vistas of a wide open countryside that is starkly beautiful but can also be inhospitable due to extreme weather, especially high winds.  We have breathtaking sunsets and moonrises.  

I highly recommend a trip to Palo Duro Canyon, which is the second largest canyon in the US and one of Texas’ best kept secrets.  There are hiking, biking and horseback trails along with overnight camping and some of the most beautiful countryside in the US.

You have total control over casting a movie based on your life. Which actor would you cast as you?

Sandra Bullock
That’s a tough question!  Gosh…I’d have to say Sandra Bullock.  I’ve always admired her work.  She is so versatile.  She can be serious or funny.  Down to earth or quirky…even goofy.  Yeah, she’s a good fit.

Who is your favorite recurring character in crime fiction? 

Lucas Davenport comes to mind. He’s the protagonist of John Sandford’s PREY series and I’ve been reading those books from the beginning.  Great character.  Great writing.  Awesome series!

Name one book that you've read that you wish you had written. What is it about that book that made it come to mind?

The Road by Cormac McCarthy.  He is an amazing writer, and that book is more than a post-apocalyptic story.  It’s a powerful story and moving in so many ways.  I couldn’t put it down.  I’ve always wanted to write an end-of-the-world book.  Not only about the daily survival trials and tribulations, but also how such a horrific situation would affect the characters and now they would deal with it on an emotional level.

What did you do the first time you saw one of your books on a shelf in a bookstore? How did you celebrate when you first heard you were to be published?

I was with my husband, shopping at a grocery store in Dallas the first time I saw one of my books on the shelf.  It was a tremendous moment, as you can imagine, and very validating.  

I remember clearly getting “the call.” Talk about a rush! Of course the first thing I did was call my husband and my sister.  I emailed all of my writers friends.  And then I did what any writer would do: I got back to work.

I don't know if you've seen it, but I love Parnell Hall's video about book signings. What is the most unusual experience you've had at a book signing or author event?

Aside from the time when the guy got mad because I wouldn’t get up and get him a USA Today…  ?  I love touring.  I love interacting with readers and talking about the books.  I love meeting booksellers and librarians. 

I was at the Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport on my way to my first event for Sworn to Silence.  I’d just gotten off the Skylink after arriving at the terminal.  As I was riding down the escalator, I looked down and saw a dozen or so Amish folks—a family perhaps—sitting in a grouping of chairs at the base of the escalator.  The sight was so unexpected that for a couple of seconds I was utterly certain my books had somehow offended the local Amish community and they had come out to protest the release of my book.  Needless to say, they didn’t pay the least bit of attention to me.  It was one of those “what-a-long-strange-trip-it’s been” moments.

The way some people talk, the only way to read now or in the future is with some sort of electronic device, like the Nooks my husband and I have. What is your opinion of eBooks, and how will they affect you as a published author? 

I think e-books are an exciting frontier for the publishing industry, for writers and especially for readers.  They have opened a whole new world that is constantly changing and it’s easier than ever for writers to reach their audience.  As a writer, I’ve published four of my backlist titles on Kindle.  As a reader, I’m almost embarrassed to admit I don’t own an e-reader!  I suspect I would enjoy using one.  On the other hand, I spend so much time behind the computer, the thought of looking at any kind of screen for pleasure is a bit of a turnoff.  Of course, I love the feel of a book in my hands, too.  I’m certain I’ll break down soon and buy one, but for now, I’m still a hardcover or paperback girl!

On Sale Now!
Thank you so much for spending this time with us, Linda. It was a pleasure to get to know you a little better. 

May your book sales do nothing but increase!


  1. Oh, I do love Linda Castillo's books. And, I'm very pleased to see a new one coming out in June. Can't wait.

    I didn't know that she lived in the Panhandle. My family is from that area - grandparents lived in Amarillo and another set further north right at the tiptop of Texas. I've been to the Palo Duro Canyon many times and she is correct in saying it is a beautiful secret. They used to do an outdoor theater event there. Not sure if that still happens.

    Loved this one, Cathy!

  2. Another new-to-me author to add to my list. Strangely enough I didn't discover the Amish until I moved to PA. Lancaster County, home of a huge Amish group, has become touristy but we still learned a lot about their beliefs and culture. I admire them and this sounds like an excellent book. I'm curious about her connection to the Amish though.

  3. yes, I am a big fan...anxiously awaiting the fourth Painters Mill book.
    Loved the interview.

  4. Thank-you, Thank-you, Thank-you for the reminder about Linda Castillo! I have Sworn to Silence on my Nook already...started it and realized I was going to need to read it in one sitting! Now that I know the 4th is on its way, I'll get back on it asap!!

  5. Hi, Linda, great interview! It's a toss up who is prettier, you or Sandra. I think it's a tie. :) Thanks for the heads up about The Road, now to figure out how to add it to Goodreads...And yes, for those who haven't read Linda's books, they are fantastic!

  6. Cool...another great recommend. I love that you keep me updated and in the know! Thanks.

    PS. I emailed ya on Sunday but my computer was acting a bit wonky. Let me know if you got it.

  7. Kay-- I knew it would please some folks to mention her new book!

    Barbara-- Since you grew up not all that far from me, it surprises me that you didn't discover the Amish sooner.

    Caite-- I'm glad!

    PPh.D-- Great!

    Diana-- Thanks for stopping by!

    IaB-- You're welcome, and I know you received my reply! (The two of us are plotting behind the scenes, folks! LOL)


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