Monday 12 May 2008
This week I am very happy to have author Justin Gustainis on the hotspot! Justin and I have been emailing each back and forth for a few weeks and he was nice enough to take some time for an interview.

There is also a contest and a little extra for all you all if you read till the end ;)


Amber - Welcome to Amberkatze's Book Blog Justin!

Before we start I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. You told me that you are busy writing book #2, Evil Ways, so I know your time is precious!

To make sure everyone knows a little bit about 'Black Magic Woman' maybe you could introduce the readers to the book by telling us a little bit about the story and the main characters?

Justin - My pleasure.

Quincey Morris is an occult investigator, a direct descendant of the character from the same name in Stoker's 'Dracula,' who died in the process of destroying the evil Count. Ever since then, the Morrises have regarded fighting supernatural evil to be the "family business."

Quincey is hired by a family to investigate what looks like poltergeist activity (objects flying around the house, including knives). But he soon realizes it's worse: the family is under a deadly curse, stemming from a feud between witches that goes back to the Salem witch trials. Unless Quincey finds, and deals with, the "black" witch responsible, the family members will eventually be killed. Quincey calls in a consultant, Libby Chastain,
a practitioner of "white" witchcraft. The pair follow a trail of clues that takes them to Boston, San Francisco, New Orleans, New York -- and into the very heart of darkness.

At the same time, the FBI is investigating a series of child murders with strong occult overtones. They send for Garth Van Dreenan, who is with the South African Police Occult Crimes Unit (which really exists, BTW). Van Dreenan is paired with African American FBI agent Fenton, and the two must overcome their mutual antagonism in order to stop the murders.

It appears at first that the two cases are unrelated. But they prove to be very closely connected, indeed.

Amber - 'Black Magic Woman' was released in December but it wasn't the first time you had seen your work in print, was it?

Justin - No, it wasn't. I've published a good deal of academic work (I'm a college professor: it's my secret identity), including a book-length study of the rhetoric surrounding the Vietnam War. My first novel, 'The Hades Project,' appeared in 2003.

Amber - How did 'Black Magic Woman' come about? Was it something you planned on writing?

Justin - Well, I've always felt that Quincey Morris was the most underappreciated character in Stoker's novel. But he dies at the end, so there wasn't much I could do. So I invented the conceit that Quincey (the original) had been married once, to a woman who died in childbirth. The child, a boy, was being raised by relatives back in Texas. Thus did the Morris family line develop. After that, I just wrote what Quincey told me.

Amber - The first chapter of 'Black Magic Woman' actually made its debut "in a slightly different form" in another book. That first chapter really grabbed me and it has to be one of the best opening chapters I have ever read in a book. Anyone picking this book up in the bookstore who takes the time to read the first few pages would be stupid not to buy it. Was that the reason for putting it in 'Black Magic Woman'?

Justin - Actually, it was always part of the story. But in 2005, I hadn't had much luck selling the book manuscript, and thought the first chapter, with a little tweaking, might stand on its own as a short story. Then I found out that a guy named G.W. Thomas was putting together an anthology of stories about vampire killers, I sent him my story, and he put it in the book. The rest is literary history.

The purpose of Chapter 1 is to introduce the character of Quincey, and let the reader see what kind of guy he is. It's true that the plot takes off in a different direction after that, but the character is the same. Besides, I wanted to get the reader's pulse racing, a little. From what people tell me, I've succeeded.

Amber - 'Black Magic Woman' has a bit of everything paranormal in it. Black Magic, Vampires, Witches and some other things that go bump in the night all make an appearance. Did you do alot of research for the paranormal aspect of your book or is this an area you already have some experience in?

Justin - You may have noticed that my take on these guys is pretty traditional. The vampires, for instance, aren't romantic heroes who are misunderstood becauseof their odd dietary preference. They're evil predators, which is the way vampires in fiction were generaly portrayed, until Ann Rice came along. So I was drawing on my own reading of a lot of stories and novels over the years which depict these creatures. And they're freakin' EVIL.

Amber - Quincy is an extremely strong character and of course Libby compliments him well. Is this a partnership that will carry on in the next book? Are the characters based on someone you know?

Justin - Yep, Quincey and Libby are a team from here on out -- kind of like Scully and Mulder, except neither one is a skeptic. And I don't think they're gonna end up having a baby together... although you never know.

Libby is based, very loosely, on my former therapist -- a wise, kind woman who could work magic, in her own way. Quincey is an amalgam of three or four people I've met over the years. Or maybe he's the man I always wanted to be.

Amber - I know that the second book 'Evil Ways' is due out at the end of this year. How many more 'Quincy Morris' books can we expect? Have you got any other projects in the works?

Justin - My publisher, Solaris Books, has taken an option on two more Quincey Morris Supernatural Investigations. "Option" means, if 'Evil Ways' tanks, then the series is going to end at two. But if it sells as well as BLACK MAGIC WOMAN seems to be doing, Quincey and Libby are going to be around for a while. Unless I run out of ideas.

Amber - You did an extremely nice but nasty thing a few weeks ago and sent me an excerpt from 'Evil Ways'. I have to say that reading the piece gave me goosebumps all over. It was an amazing snippet and it introduced a new character. You have kindly agreed to let me post this piece but of course we are going to make my readers wait a little first ;)

However maybe you could tell us a little about this new character without giving too much away? Is she going to be in it for the long run or will she only be making a brief appearance? What kind of part is she going to play in the scheme of things?

Justin - Hannah Widmark is an "occult bounty hunter." For a fee, she'll track down and destroy any Creature of the Night that you designate. Although, truth be told, she'd probably do it for free. Hannah's got issues.

As to whether she survives the final confrontation with the forces of darkness in 'Evil Ways,' I guess you'll just have to read the book to find out.

Amber - Any teasers you can give us about upcoming plots? I am curious as to what kind of relationship will Quincy and Libby have in the future.

Justin - I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.

Amber - What kind of books do you read? Is there anything that influences your writing? For example some authors have a 'playlist' of music they listened to when writing a certain book.

Justin - I read a lot of urban fantasy, looking for ideas to steal.

I was kidding about that last part. Mostly.

I write what I like to read, and that's urban fantasy. My TBR pile is starting to look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa -- although, in my house, it'd be more like the "Leaning Tower of Pizza." Some of the writers I like are Lilith Saintcrow, Rachel Caine, Charlaine Harris, C.J. Henderson, and Jacqueline Kessler, to name but a few. I also have a few mystery authors whose books I buy as soon as they come out: Robert B. Parker, Thomas Perry, and Robert Crais.

I don't always listen to music when I work. But when I do, it's usually something like Mark Snow's soundtrack for "Millennium."

Amber - Did you always want to be a writer? How did you get into writing? What was your big break?

Justin - No, I always wanted to be a fireman. Or maybe a cowboy.

I started writing fiction about 15 years ago, as a way of dealing with some turbulent times in my life. Initially, I didn't really think about publication. But then the thing I was fooling around with grew into a novel (all the fertilizer I provided, probably ) called "The Hades Project," and I thought I'd try to get it published. It took me 5 years -- which exemplifies the saying: "A published writer is an unpublished writer who didn't give up."

Amber - And lastly...what was the best or most interesting job you have had in your life (before you became an author) and how many teddy bears do you have in your collection? :) (you need to read the author bio in 'Black Magic Woman' to get this...)

Justin - I spent some time as a professional bodyguard when I was younger. It wasn't nearly as interesting as the movies make it out to be. Well, most of the time it wasn't.

The number of teddy bears is large, but ever-changing. I think they've been breeding.

Amber - Thank you again for taking the time to be interviewed! I hope you will come back again when 'Evil Ways' starts hitting the shelves!

Justin - Count on it!


Justin gave some great answers and I hope you all liked the interview. Go out and get a copy of 'Black Magic Woman' because it is a great read. You can see my review HERE!

However if you fancy winning a copy here is how!

I have a copy of 'Black Magic Woman' here to give away and all you have to do to enter the contest is post a comment here and tell me what you are reading right now.

The contest will be a quick one and will end on Friday 16th of May at 7pm.

Everyone can enter and you can only enter once. I will draw a winner using Raffle King and post the name on Friday. Please note that all my books are registered on but I don't expect anyone to journal them or be a member of Bookcrossing to enter this contest.

Oh and stay turned because if you read the whole interview you will have noted that Justin sent me! Yes Me!! a sneak preview of the new character coming in EVIL WAYS!! Well I am allowed to share it with you so come back on Friday for the exclusive preview of an excerpt from the new Quincey Morris supernatural thriller that isn't due out till the end of the year!

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posted by Unknown at Monday, May 12, 2008 |


At 12 May 2008 at 07:29, Blogger shaunesay

Yay! wishlist book! I am entering!

Right now, I am reading "Witch in the House" by Jenna McKnight.

Thanks for another great interview and contest Amberkatze!



At 12 May 2008 at 07:31, Anonymous Anonymous

This book is in my WL so of course I'm entering! :-)

At the moment I'm reading Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard, it's my first book by this author and I'm really enjoying it.

Thanks for another contest, Amber! :-)


At 12 May 2008 at 07:55, Anonymous Anonymous

Right now, I'm not reading anything since I just finished Stephanie Rowe's Date Me Baby One More Time last night. I'm getting ready to read One Little Sin by Liz Carlyle. Both of these novels are for the Numbers Challenge, which ends at the end of this month.


At 12 May 2008 at 08:51, Blogger cheesygiraffe

I would love to read this. It's been on my wish list since I stumbled across it on Amazon.
Right now I'm reading Ghost of a Chance by Yasmine Galenorn. :)


At 12 May 2008 at 09:00, Blogger Alex

This one looks good!:)
Right now I'm reading C.L. Wilson's Lord of the Fading Lands and Jan Karon's At Home in Mitford.
Thanks for another great contest and interesting interview, Amber and Justin Gustainis.


At 12 May 2008 at 09:06, Blogger robynr

Please enter me in the contest I really want to read this book. Right now im reading The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter. Next up will be either One foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost or Wicked Game by Jeri Ready- Smith I cant decide.


At 12 May 2008 at 09:26, Blogger G in Berlin

I'm reading Turkey Flambe by nancy Fairbanks, a mystery with recipes. Thanks for the contest!


At 12 May 2008 at 09:32, Anonymous Anonymous

I'd love to enter this draw, Amber!

I'm currently 'Magic Burns' by Ilona Andrews. I loved the first one so I jumped right into the second in the Kate Daniels series. :)


At 12 May 2008 at 09:35, Anonymous Anonymous

Hi Amber! *waves*
Great interview. :) I'm currently reading Eternal Lover, the anthology with Hannah Howell, Lynsay Sands, Jackie Kessler & Richelle Mead. I'm also reading an e-book called Otherworld.

I have Black Magic Woman on my wishlist as well. Please enter me in the contest! And don't forget I'll be drawing the winner of my contest on the 16th. :) You can be entered a second time if you blog about and send me a link to the post!

Happy Monday. :D


At 12 May 2008 at 10:29, Blogger ChristyJan

I just finished reading SWEET SURRENDER by Maya Banks and I'm reading SECRETS by Jude Deveraux today.


At 12 May 2008 at 11:00, Blogger Unknown

This comment has been removed by the author.


At 12 May 2008 at 11:01, Blogger Unknown

Wow, this looks like an awesome read! I'm totally entering! (This is GateGypsy from Bookcrossing/Bookobsessed, btw)
Right now I'm reading American Psycho (Honest, I swear!)


At 12 May 2008 at 15:30, Blogger Night critter

I have just started reading The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison.

Black Magic Woman is on my book to buy list, so I would love to win a copy, please enter me in your contest.


At 12 May 2008 at 16:03, Blogger CharmedDaisies

I'm reading several things right now, but I'm mainly focused on From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris and Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.


At 12 May 2008 at 20:29, Blogger tetewa

I'd like the chance to get this one! I'm currently reading Get A Clue by Jill Shalvis from my TBR pile.


At 12 May 2008 at 20:55, Blogger Enchanted by Books

I'm reading Biting the Bullet by Jennifer Rardin. I've meant to order a copy of this book but haven't had the chance. I'd love to win a copy.


At 12 May 2008 at 21:23, Blogger Liviania

I am reading The Rake's Guide to Seduction by Caroline Linden. The poor book doesn't deserve that awful title.

I've been seeing BLACK MAGIC WOMAN everywhere!


At 12 May 2008 at 21:37, Anonymous Anonymous

Just added Black Magic Woman to my wishlist!

Right now I'm reading Succubus on Top by Richelle Mead. Thanks for another great contest Amber! :)


At 12 May 2008 at 22:32, Anonymous Anonymous

Hey Amber, I didn't know about your blogspot - I like it! I hope I will have more time to read now that the whole relocation thing is over.

I'm currently reading "Witch Way to murder" by Shirley Daarmsgaard. One of my own books for a change. :-) Black magic woman sounds cool!

Tanja aka Morgaine77


At 13 May 2008 at 01:27, Blogger Bunny B

Great interview, Amber :)
I'm currently reading Searching for Spice by Megan DiMaria.

bunnybox9 at gmail dot com


At 13 May 2008 at 05:26, Blogger Rianonne

Great interview, Amberkatze!!

I'm reading "For A Few Demons More" by Kim Harrison.
I just LOVE this series and go really slow to enjoy the book as long as possible :)


At 13 May 2008 at 09:22, Blogger Daelith

This books sounds great! Never really gave much thought to Morris from Dracula since he was such a minor character. Thank you for the interview.

Currently I'm reading Grave Peril by Jim Butcher and after that I will be starting Countdown by Iris Johansen.


At 13 May 2008 at 12:23, Blogger -.-

Good interview. Right now I'm currently reading Take me if you can by Karen Kendall.


At 13 May 2008 at 20:46, Anonymous Anonymous

What another great interview!

I'm currently reading "Immortal Bad Boys" by Rebecca York, Rosemary Laurey and Linda Thomas-Sundstorm.

Terri W.


At 14 May 2008 at 13:39, Blogger Kathy

Hi Amberkatze!!

I'm reading "Singer of Souls" by Adam Stemple, "In the Palace of Repose" by Holly Phillips. I'm listening to "Heir Apparent" by Vivian Vande Velde and "Black Coffee" by Agatha Christie.


At 14 May 2008 at 16:38, Anonymous Anonymous

Another great interview! Justin sounds like an interesting fellow and this cements my decision to buy the book!

What am I reading? Heart of Stone by C.E. Murphy. She has a wonderful lyrical approach to her writing that I envy.


At 14 May 2008 at 17:56, Blogger gautami tripathy

Great interview. I enjoyed reading it. Currently I am reading three books:

The Blind Assassin by Atwood

The Name of the Rose by Eco

An Anthology of Travels by various authors


At 14 May 2008 at 19:18, Blogger Patricia Altner

I loved your interview with Justin Gustainis and can't wait to read Black Magic Woman, especially now that I know there are vampires in it ;)

I just received an ARC of The Dracula Dossier by James Reese. I've read the first 20 pages and am hooked. Hope I feel this way till the end.


At 15 May 2008 at 09:22, Blogger Raka

Oh this is a good one worth playing for!

I'm reading now A fine and bitter snow by Dana Stabenow, a small departure from the paranormal :)


At 15 May 2008 at 11:45, Blogger ReadingIsSoMuchFun

Hi Amber,

Another great giveaway this one is on my wish/want list. I would love to be enter for this giveaway. Thanks for giving us this chance to win another great prize. I am currently reading Sex and the Psychic Witch (The Triplet Witch Trilogy, Book 1) By: Annette Blair.



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