An interview with Douglas Vance Castagna

Douglas Vance Castagna

Today we have the pleasure of interviewing the author of Lust, Douglas Vance Castagna. 

So, tell us a little about yourself, where you were born and where do you now call home?

I was born in Brooklyn New York and lived there until I was 34. I spent a few years in Pennsylvania, which was amazing, but sadly I was married to a she-beast from hell at the time. A few years later, the marriage was over and I moved to New Jersey, where I currently reside, with my new and wonderful wife, Rafaela.

When did you first start writing and how long was it before you were published?

I first started writing in High School, mostly poetry back then, and in college I wrote plays and screenplays and the like. I tried to get published, or produced, but it never happened. Then, as it has a habit of doing, life crept in, and I got lazy and stopped writing. Flash forward to last year, and I got the bug again. This time I tried my hand at horror, and it took. My novella is now out, just a year after I started writing again, in a new genre.

It’s Friday evening, about 8pm, what are you doing?

Catching up on shows I recorded on my DVR. Either that, or watching a horror movie with my wife.

Why horror?

Horror is the most visceral, most real genre to me. Always was. I love it so much, I never dared to try my hand at it because I felt too close to it, and thought it was better if I worked in other mediums and genres. Until recently that is. I always wondered if I could pull it off, and said “why not?” I tried a few stories, and they were published.

Who is your biggest inspiration, professionally?

To me the big two are always in the forefront for me, those being, King and Koontz. That being said, the splatter punk writers also had a huge impact on me as well. With Stephen King and Dean R. Koontz there was horror, and an elevated style that helped these authors cross over into the mainstream, and for the most part they always told a great story. However, that being said, it was these other authors, Garton, Skipp, Schow, and the like that promised something forbidden. When I was a young teen, they called to me from the library shelves to crack them open, peek in and get a glimpse of something nastier, something vile, something new and exciting. Through many of my teen years, and to this day, I look for I guess what is now called “extreme horror”. I love it when you expect there to be rules to writing, and these guys out there break them, and deliver something amazing.

You are in bed, a bump in the night wakes you, you have to go investigate. Using only implements from your bedroom, what is your weapon of choice?

My wife. She would even be my weapon of choice in the coming zombie apocalypse. She’s Cuban, and if you don’t know what that means, then you must have never pissed off a Latina.

Tell us a little about your current release, Lust?

It is the age-old story of Good vs. Evil, in the general and literal sense. I took the mythology of Lillith being the first wife of Adam, and devised a way to bring her back, to our time, and let her play in our world for a little while. She can be really nasty.

The novella was born years ago, that is, the idea of what it would become was born almost twenty years ago. Interesting and sad to me that it took so long to actually write it in the version you are now able to read. Nevertheless, it was around 1995 when I was in my MFA program that I got the idea. I had seen the Stuck painting entitled The Sin. It had a deep and lasting resonance. Eventually, it inspired me to write a treatment. Treatments are road maps for screenplays, and often include key scenes, plot points and bits of dialogue. The program I was in at the time was for writing plays, and the professor allowed us to write screenplays as well. So my treatment for a screenplay was born. It was entitled Sin like the painting that inspired it, and ran about a dozen pages. I then began to write the screenplay and hit a wall about halfway through. I needed to work on my thesis, so I put this project on the side. There it stayed. But oh, if only it were that easy. Like many things in life, floppy disks went the way of the Dinosaur, and well, moving a few times did not help matters. My work was lost. Forever. Forever, that is, except for a hard copy of the original treatment, which I miraculously found while looking for something else.

What projects are you currently working on?

I am working on a story about Santeria, and a power hungry Madrina who wants to wield the power of the Gods. Also, I am working on the screenplay for Lust.

You are stranded on a desert island. Before the ship went down which 3 books did you rescue?

Damn. Hard question. We are always going to our storage space with more boxes of books. I would say my kindle, but that would be cheating wouldn’t it? Hmmmm. I would say It by Stephen King, the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe (it’s all in one volume so that only counts as one) and finally, any one of the Far Side Galleries by Gary Larson.

Do you see dead people?

All the time. Everyone who is caught in a job they hate.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

For scripts, yes. The Hollywood Paradigm, obviously. Not that it has helped me sell any scripts. For fiction, well, I start with the characters and a situation. Then I just let everything play out, and see what happens.

Have you ever suffered writers’ block?

For twenty years. (laughs) Not really. Sadly, I just stopped writing. Life got in the way, and it was easy to just stop, and put it on the back burner, and I regret doing so. I never really believed in writer’s block, and I still don’t. However, with a full-time job, I do find it difficult to find the time to practice my craft.

If you could leave your readers with one legacy, what would you want it to be?

Either that they loved or hated what I wrote. Preferably loved, but as long as my writing makes an impression on someone, that in itself would be a good legacy to have.

If you could collaborate with anyone in the world on a novel, who would it be and why? What’s the story about?

I am thinking of the authors I have mentioned above and that would be great to work with any one of them, but I am thinking of a newer writer: Jimmy Pudge. He brings a sense of humor to his work, albeit a warped and twisted sense of humor that appeals greatly to me. Whatever it is about would be a unique mash-up of old school splatter punk, and twisted southern fried angst and humor.

Finish this newspaper headline: “Douglas Vance Castagna is….

One half of the world’s oldest living couple as they celebrate their Platinum Wedding Anniversary today…..

Thanks, Douglas.

Lust is available now for Kindle here. The paperback is released on 28th September.

Lust, available now for Kindle.

 

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~ by crowdedquarantine on September 13, 2012.

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