what is your name?
how would you describe what you do?
I write criminal appeals by day, mystery thrillers and screenplays by night.
what are you currently working on?
I am currently in the final editing phase of my second novel, Jambalaya Justice, the follow up to Gumbo Justice. I should have it to my publisher within a week.
what has had the greatest influence on your work?
The various jobs I have had. I was a prosecutor and am currently an appellate public defender, which sparks a lot of ideas and gives me a good legal and procedural background to draw from. I was also a child support collector, worked various waitress/bartender jobs in college, worked on numerous theatrical production doing everything from acting to directing to set design to stage managing, and worked most of my undergrad at a Can Can show in the Royal Sonesta Hotel on Bourbon Street. All of these things influence how I write and what I write about.
what is the greatest misconception about you or your work?
The biggest misconception people have about me is that I don’t “work.” My job allows me to work from home, but I definitely put in the hours of a normal job. Just because I can do it in my pajamas most days doesn’t mean I don’t work. While I know I’m lucky to be able to do a job I love, it’s difficult to make people understand that just because I’m home, that doesn’t mean I’m always available, or sitting around eating bonbons and drinking wine.
what do you see as the main strengths and weaknesses of the medium you work in?
The main strength of a novel is the luxury of words the writers has to take her time to develop characters and slowly reveal a plot. The biggest weakness is that we live in a fast food, sound bite world, where young people are growing up thinking instant gratification is the norm. That doesn’t bode so well for books, especially full length novels, which require a person to sit down and invest their time and focus.
how has technology impacted upon the work you do?
Fifteen years ago I was in law school and got my first computer. What a difference it makes being able to use a computer instead of a typewriter or writing out by hand, especially for someone like me with horrible handwriting. We now have printers at our disposal, instant access to any facts we need, and ways to back up our work and ensure that it is extremely difficult for someone to steal our work and get away with it. All in all, technology has made life so much easier for most writers, but also makes it more unacceptable to have even small factual errors in a manuscript. When Google is at your fingerprints, there is no excuse to get something wrong.
what’s the greatest piece of advice you would like to pass on?
Tenacity pays off. While luck also has a lot to do with how things work out, if you refuse to give up and decide to become a problem solver when issues come up, you’ll fare a lot better than if you sit on the sofa watching other people’s visions play out.
where can we find you online?
my websites – www.gumbojustice.net, www.hollicastillo.com,
my blog- http://www.gumbojustice.blogspot.com/
or follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/#!/hollicastillo
what are you reading at the moment?
James Lee Burke, The Tin Roof BLowdown
what are you listening to at the moment?
My IPOD “writing” playlist, which includes Neon Trees, 3 Doors Down, Nickelback, Christina Perri, Tyrone Wells, Guns N’ Roses, P.O.D., Linkin Park, Foo Fighters, and Green Day, among others.
anything else we should know?
I have a deaf cat in real life that has a role in Jambalaya Justice, and in the third in the series, Chocolate City Justice, currently in progress. My husband is the model for Big Who, the pawn shop/strip club owner in my books.