Thursday, August 1, 2013

5 Questions with Mort Castle

Mort Castle wears many hats. Aside from being one of my favorite writers, he also teaches writing, has edited what many consider the Bible for horror writers (On Writing Horror) and also plays a mean banjo. Mort also won not one, but two Bram Stoker Awards this year. One for best anthology – Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury, which he co-edited with Sam Weller – and one for best fiction collection – New Moon on the Water, which tied with Black Dahlia & White Rose, by Joyce Carol Oates. But what I admire most about Mort is the encouragement he’s been known to give writers who show a bit of promise, but may or may not have a few self-esteem issues (ahem). Anyway, enough of my blabbering. It's an honor to share Mr. Castle’s answers to my five questions.

1– What’s your latest book about?

Dracula – and that's about all the publisher wants me to say about it right now.

You need to get this book!
2 – Who’s your favorite author and/or what’s your favorite book?

Hemingway, who continues to teach me with my every reading (about once a year) of the short stories in the Finca Vigia collection, But other authors/books? Anyone who's really got it that I happen to be reading at the time. James Lee Burke, Ron Hansen, Lee Martin, Margaret Atwood, Jim Shepherd, Alice Hoffman, Dan Simmons. These are the people to whom you do not mind giving a slice of your life. There are plenty more.

3 – What’s your favorite aspect of writing?

Picking up a published something of mine, reading it, and saying, "That's pretty good."

4 – Any good anecdotes about being a writer?

My then seven-year-old nephew asks, "How can you be a writer? Your handwriting is so bad." Ah, kids say the darnedest things. That's because they're stupid.

5 – What was the most helpful writing advice you've ever received?

From Rex Miller: "Keep your eyes on the ball and go for the home run every time. You're not bunting. You're not trying to squeeze out a double. Home run."