Justin Gustainis is the author of an exciting new paranormal series featuring kick-ass supernatural investigator Quincey Morris. I had the pleasure of reading this book recently, so look for my review in a day or two. In a few words, you won't be able to put the book down. In this fascinating interview, the author talks about his new novel, the writing process, and creating his protagonist; plus, he offers us a glimpse into the mind of the supernatural thriller writer.
When did you decide you wanted to become an author? Do you have another job besides writing?
Let me answer the second part of that first: I’m a college professor. My field is Communication Studies, and my specialty is social influence (persuasion, argumentation, etc.) I teach in a mid-size university in upstate New York.
My academic colleagues refer to teaching as my “day job.” My publisher, on the other hand, calls writing my “day job.” I hope they never meet.
My literary “career,” if it may be called that, has two stages. The first was abortive. Years and years ago, I thought I might try my hand at writing. I wrote off a few short stories, and sent them off to some magazines who published that sort of stuff. Imagine my surprise when the stories were all rejected!
I guess I lacked commitment, because I just – stopped.
Quite a few years later, I was going through a stormy period in my marriage, and I got the idea for a novel and started fooling around with it. I didn’t consciously realize it at the time, but I was using writing as a way to get away from my problems for a while. And it worked! Once I really got in to it, time would pass effortlessly. I’d look up from the computer, and two hours (or more) would have gone by.
There’s a guy named [Mihaly] Csikszentmihalyi who, a while back, wrote a book called Flow. The term refers to a state of utter absorption in what you’re doing. Different people achieve it different ways – sports, playing chess, building a house. For me, “flow” comes through writing. And it led to my first novel, The Hades Project.
Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?
I was, indeed, an avid reader. In fact, I tell people that I’ve never had a creative writing course or taken part in any kind of workshop (although that’s about to change: I’ve been accepted for Odyssey this summer). What I know about writing comes from reading about a zillion books.