Sunday, March 17, 2013

Getting to know Mystery Author, Holli Castillo

I'm pleased to have Holli Castillo, author of Gumbo Justice and Jambalaya Justice, with us today. I've read both of her novels and included them on my "Best Of" list on Shelfari. Let's get to know her.
Patricia: Holli, what are your favorite things to do when you’re not reading or writing?
Holli: When I’m not reading or writing, I like watching TV or movies. I love just about any series with prosecutors and cops, mysteries of any kind, and sci-fi. In movies, I enjoy an occasional romantic comedy, but my first choice is a good action thriller. Ordinarily I’m begging for time to read and write because I have two daughters and a husband who demand most of my time, as well as a house full of pets.  So the question may be a little backwards for me, because when I’m not fulfilling my obligations, I love to read or write. There’s seldom time for anything else.
Patricia: What’s your favorite color? Why? 
Holli: Red. It just feels like me. I love red clothes and red rooms and red furniture.  Some people think it’s an angry color, but I think of it more as exciting, full of life, and only slightly volatile.
Patricia: How would you describe yourself, personality wise?
Holli: I think I’m painfully shy, but no one else seems to agree.  I’m also a big worrier, which nobody believes because I tend to be very direct with people.  They don’t understand that the whole reason I am so direct and occasionally confrontational is because if I think someone is angry with me or has a problem with me, I have to get it out I the open or else I will worry myself sick over it. I am also somewhat of a typical Sagittarius, always with a bright new idea but have trouble on the follow-through.  I try to plan things out because if not I don’t get much accomplished, but I often end up flying by the seat of my pants anyway.  My current mantra is lead, follow, or get out my way.
Patricia: Do you like to travel? If so, what are some of your favorite places to go and/or what was your favorite vacation? 
Holli: My whole family loves to travel.  We love Vegas, especially my daughters (11 and 13.) They have loved it since they were little.  All that bling I guess. We also love the beach, although I don’t love actually going out on it. I burn easily and don’t like to sweat or dig sand out of body parts, but I do love to watch and listen to the gulf and the ocean. I prefer to the beach at night.  It always seems so mysterious walking along the water’s edge in the moonlight. I think my favorite beaches are the ones on the gulf coast of Florida.  One of my other favorite places to visit is San Antonio, Texas. I loved their Riverwalk. One of my favorite vacations was when my father flew to Charlottesville, Virginia, with me so I could interview for graduate school at the University of Virginia. I wanted to enter their directing program, but didn’t make it in. It was still a great vacation, because it was the first time I had ever flown, and my father and I walked all around the University area, the shops and the restaurants, and had a great time. He never took vacations because he owned a business and refused to take off of work. My mother would take us to the beach every summer and he would bow out, afraid the business would fold if he was gone for a week.  While this wasn’t strictly a vacation, it was one of the few times I can remember that he took off of work to travel. He’s dead now, but I will always remember that trip even though I didn’t get into the graduate school.
Patricia: How would you complete this sentence? If I won a million dollars, I would  ------
Holli: pay off all my bills and pay One Direction to play a show for my daughters and their friends.  Either that or produce one of my own screenplays.  It would have to be a low budget one, though, because a million dollars doesn’t go far in the film industry.  

Holli Castillo was born and raised in New Orleans. She is a former prosecutor and current appellate public defender.  Her first novel, Gumbo Justice, was delayed when she was in a near-fatal head-on collision with a drunk driver right as the novel was scheduled for release. While on her back recovering for seven months, she wrote an award-winning screenplay and worked on her second novel, Jambalaya Justice, which was published in 2011. She is nearing completion of the third installment in the Crescent City Mystery Series, Chocolate City Justice, which is scheduled for release summer, 2013.  She lives in metropolitan New Orleans with her husband—who is the model for the character Big Who in the series--her two children, two dogs, guinea pigs, and deaf cat, who is featured in Jambalaya Justice.

Or get a signed copy of either or both from my website at


  1. I loved this interview. I learned some tidbits about Holli I never knew before. How fun. Tell Julio and the girls "hi" from me.

  2. Wonderful interview, Holli, and it was fun getting to know more about you. Love your books and can't wait for the next one.
    Marja McGraw

  3. Marilyn, thanks for stopping by. Julio says hi but it's only noon so the girls are still sleeping. Marja, I am diligently working on Chocolate City Justice, and I can't wait for it either. Finding time to write is difficult sometimes!

  4. Great interview, Holli. Good to learn more about you. Too bad you didn't get into the program at the U. of Va. but glad you had that time with your dad to treasure. It's a beautiful area of Virginia, too.

  5. I did love Charlottesville--Virginia is a beautiful state. I'm glad now, though, that I didn't get into the program, because the reason I didn't get in was exactly the reason I shouldn't have, I didn't really have direction as far as what I wanted to do once I got the degree. And I also wouldn't have stumbled onto Law School and worked as a prosecutor, which is what my series is based on, and eventually managed to get a job writing (even if it is legal) working from home while I raise my kids, so it all worked out. They old cliche when one door closes another one opens was true in my case.

  6. Ah travel. I don't do it as much as I'd like. New Orleans, Jackson, El Paso. My traveling usually accompanies tournaments. lol. Anyway, interesting read. Thanks.

  7. Nice interview, Holly. It's great to meet you and get to know your novels, which are going on my TBR list.

  8. Stephen, living in New Orleans I'd have to recommend it as a great place to visit (although most people wouldn't want to leave here.) Evelyn, thanks for the comment. I hope you enjoy the novels.

  9. The interview was great, like your books.

    Your picture fits your interview. You look shy. Somehow that doesn't fit with your jobs as a lawyer. But then I think I'm an introvert, who got tired of being ignored and forced myself to act like an extrovert.

  10. The courtroom turns me into a shark. I hate to lose and am very competitive. I'm also somewhat tenacious when I want something. Those traits don't normally come up in every day life, so people wouldn't know that side of my personality unless they crossed me.

    I would not have thought of you as in introvert, so you are doing a good job acting extroverted.