Please Welcome–Linda Castillo

Today we have a special treat in store for you–the fabulous Linda Castillo is here! If you haven’t read her Kate Burkholder series–murder set in Amish country–you’re in for a thrilling ride!

Do you want to see something really scary?  Remember that classic line from Twilight Zone:  The Movie http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPip-WKOXBo way back in 1983?  My mom took me to see it at the dollar theater and we laughed all the way home at my imitation of Dan Akroyd.

Do you like being scared?  I can answer that with a resounding Yes!  For many of us, being scared is fun.  It’s exhilarating.  Thrilling, even.  That brings me to my next question.  What scares you?  What scares the living hell out of you?

Even as a kid I loved being scared.  Ghost stories.  Seances.  Camping out in the woods.  You name it and I was game.  I grew up in a one hundred and sixty-eight year-old sprawling farmhouse that had once been a stagecoach stop and later part of the Underground Railroad.  There was a grain silo and two massive red barns on the property.  The place was surrounded by cornfields and woods.  Of course, there were rumors that the old house was haunted.  According to rumor, a hundred years earlier, when the place was a stagecoach stop, a man, distraught over gambling debts or perhaps a woman, went up into his room and hung himself.  That room was my older sister’s bedroom (thank goodness my room was downstairs!)  But I loved that story and couldn’t get enough.  My dad was quite the ghost story teller and indulged me (much to my mom’s chagrin.)

One of my favorite places (aside from the barn) was the attic.  It had a narrow, winding wooden staircase.  There were old shoes and newspapers.  I was really too young at the time to appreciate the place for its true historical significance.  I was much too busy enjoying all of its scary treasures.  Looking back, I think that old house had an impact on me.  All of those stories and places to explore nourished my imagination.  It may have helped me become the writer I am today.

My parents sold the old place when I was about seven, and shortly thereafter, it was demolished.  A few months later construction began on the Dayton Mall.  Last summer I went back to Ohio on tour with PRAY FOR SILENCE.  I drove past the Dayton Mall and there’s absolutely no sign of the old farmhouse and barns that once stood where the parking lot for Elder Beerman is.

Another thing that scared me when I was a kid was George A. Romero’s movie NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.   That movie scared me so intensely, I can remember hiding beneath my covers at night, despite the summer heat, utterly certain if I looked at the window of my bedroom, I’d see the silhouettes of flesh-eating zombies wandering around the back yard.  Silly, I know.  But I think Romero really tapped into some primal human fear with that movie.  That said, I am a zombie fan to this day.

One of the scariest books I’ve ever read is Stephen King’s PET SEMATARY.  http://www.stephenking.com/library/novel/pet_sematary.html  .   I was about twenty-four years old at the time and living on my own for the first time when I read it.  I was terrified to turn out the lights in my apartment at night.  Did I stop reading it?  What do you think?

If you’ve read my books, you know most of them contain scenes some folks would consider scary.  There have been a few times, when I was writing a particularly disturbing scene when I’ve actually scared myself.  A few years back, I was writing a murder scene where I was in the point of view of the victim.  At the time I had a recliner in my office and my Labrador Retriever loved to curl up in the chair and hang out with me.  I was so caught up in the scene, I forgot she was in the chair.  I was pounding away on the keyboard when I heard a sound directly behind me.  I turned and caught a glimpse of movement.  I screamed and scared the heck out of the dog.

There are times when being scared isn’t fun at all.  A few years ago a twenty-four inch high pressure natural gas pipeline exploded in the middle of the night less than half a mile from our home.  http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6704530.html .  Flames shot seven hundred feet into the night sky.  The sound was like nothing I’d ever heard–a thousand jet engines on full afterburner.  I remember setting my hand against the glass of the kitchen window.  I was vibrating and warm to the touch.  One house burned to the ground that night.  Luckily, only three people were injured and they are doing fine now.

And so, while it’s fun to be scared, even us horror junkies have our limits.

Would you like to see something really scary?

Check out Linda’s website here:  www.lindacastillo.com .  Here’s a peek at her June book:

Linda Castillo’s debut thriller was hailed as “gripping” [People Magazine] and compelling [USA Today].  Now, with BREAKING SILENCE , the third installment of the series, the New York Times bestselling author takes readers back to the small Amish community of Painter’s Mill, Ohio, where Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of a horrific accident on a peaceful Amish farm.

The Slabaugh family are model Amish farmers, prosperous and hardworking, with four children and a happy extended family.  When the parents and an uncle are found dead in their barn, it appears to be a tragic accident:  methane gas asphyxiation caused by a poorly ventilated manure pit.  But in the course  of a routine autopsy the coroner discovers that one of the victims suffered a head wound, before death and it becomes clear that foul play was involved.  But who would want to make orphans of the Slabaugh’s children?  And is this murder somehow related to a recent string of particularly vicious hate crimes against the Amish?

Having grown up Amish herself, Kate is determined to bring the killer to justice.  Because the other attacks are designated as hate crimes, the state sends in agent John Tomasetti, with whom Kate has a long and complex relationship.  Together they search for the link between the crimes–and discover a dark secret at work beneath the placid facade of this idyllic Amish community.

How about you?  Do you like to be scared?  What scares you the most?

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15 Responses to Please Welcome–Linda Castillo

  1. cindy gerard says:

    Welcome, Linda! Stunning cover!
    As for what scares me? Everything. LOL. I’m a big wienie. I avoid scary movies like the plague. I figure I have enough stress in my life without intentionally adding to it :o) But I do love a scary book – I think it’s because I can control WHEN whatever is happening next is going to happen by simply slapping that sucker shut until my heart rate settles enough to handle it.
    Yep. It’s all about control :o)

  2. Kylie Brant says:

    I’m not a wuss like Gerard 🙂 Love scary movies and cut my teeth on Vincent Price when I was a kid. I thought Sixth Sense was sheer genius! For King, I thought the Stand was far scarier because I tend to be more frightened about good vs. evil because evil does exist in the world. That’s why The Exorcist bothered me 🙂 I can shrug off ax-wielding maniacs and chain saw massacres in movies but the devil…*that* scares me!

  3. cindy gerard says:

    Hey, Brant. I resemble the hell out of that remark!
    I READ the Exorcist but no way would I see the movie.

  4. Leanne Banks says:

    I’m in the wussie camp. I don’t like to be scared, BUT sometimes it’s like watching a car wreck. I can’t keep myself from watching. I saw a true story about how these men invaded the house of a minister and his family, kept them hostage overnight, raped the daughter and shot them all before they left. The kids survived. The parents didn’t. I could not stop watching because that’s a worst nightmare scenario. Your book sounds amazing. The combination of the innocent Amish and such gruesome murders is very compelling! Welcome to the vert!

  5. Thanks, Cindy! I think that cover is the best of the series so far. Good point about control. I recently read Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD and it was quite frightening, but in a different way. There were a couple of times when I had to close the book simply because it was wrenching and intense. Of course I went right back to it. The mark of a good book for sure.

  6. Oh yeah, Kylie, you bring up some good ones. Vincent Price. The Oblong Box. I saw the movie when I was a kid and it scared me to death! And you’re right about the existance of evil. The Exorcist *still* scares me. LOL!

  7. Thanks so much, Leanne. I love the justaposition of a terrible crime happening amidst such a wholesome setting. That’s one of the things that attracted me to the series. I know what you mean about some things being like watching a car wreck and being unable to turn away. I watched one of those true crime stories where a nice couple was trying to sell their yacht and took another couple and their friend out for a test ride off San Diego. Turns out the other people were trying to steal the yacht. They tied the couple to the anchor and threw them overboard. That story REALLY disturbed me. Mostly because it was a true story.

  8. Terry Odell says:

    I don’t like scary movies. At all. I don’t read horror, but my favorite genres are mystery and romantic suspense. But mostly I wanted to say Hi to Linda who inspired my writing and offered wonderful advice when I was trying to figure out how to write single title when everyone was throwing the short contemporary “rules” in my face.
    Terry
    Terry’s Place

  9. Keri Ford says:

    beautiful cover, but oh goodness no on the scary. Raises hand for Biggest Wuss Award on the blog. If my husband walks in the room when I’m not expecting him, it’ll startle me.

  10. Hey Terry! (Linda waving madly) Nice to see you here. Here’s to breaking the rules!

  11. Thanks, Keri. I totally love the cover. Biggest Wuss Award–LOL!

  12. Speaking of beautiful covers… Kylie, I just noticed yours for DEADLY INTENT. Wow, I love it!

  13. catslady says:

    Oh I loved to be scared but in my books only lol. I grew up on the Twilight Zone and whenever possible I’ll watch the old repeats. And Stephen King is also one of my favorites. Somehow I’ve missed your books but they sound wonderfully scary!!!

    • Thanks, catslady. I think my favorite Twilight Zone episode is the one where William Shatner sees the green guy on the wing of the plane. 😉 My books are more mystery/thriller as opposed to horror, but I’ve been told there are some scary moments.

  14. Helen Brenna says:

    Hi Linda and welcome! That is an amazing cover!

    I love to be scared. Your post reminded me a lot of my own childhood. I grew up in a 100 + year old brick house that had been a church rectory before my parents bought it. Creepy basement and creaky attic. My, but loved spending time in that attic going through everything. I even set up a little alcove for myself with blankets and pillows and I’d go up there and read. With 8 kids in the house, it was the only place I could get some peace and quiet! Plus, I could look down on what was happening in the world without anyone EVER seeing me. Up too high.

    I haven’t read this new series of yours, but I love your books, so I’ll have to pick them up!

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