It is no wonder that Mary Castillo is a paranormal mystery and romance author. She grew up in a haunted house.
Her mom once found her in the closet talking to the nicest lady who had a daughter and two sons. Mary was the only person in the closet and the more questions her mom asked, the plainer it was that her then three-year-old child described the previous (and deceased) resident of their house!
Mary grew up in the same town as the psychic detective of her paranormal mystery series, Dori Orihuela. She even “gave” Dori her dream home, a three-story white Edwardian mansion based on a real historic property. (And no, there are no bootleggers buried in their backyard!) Also, Mary made Dori a tough, smart robbery detective because Mary has discovered from practical experience as a former reporter that is not cop material. She likes to think that Dori is a psychic version of Wonder Woman!
With her degree in history, Mary also loves to find and share untold histories such as bootlegging women and no-nonsense World War II era nurses. Mary’s background is in marketing, public relations, and journalism, proving that yes, you can make a living as a writer! Combining her love of the paranormal with historical, Gothic fiction is a dream come true. Mary now writes the books she loves to read—chilling, psychic suspense novels with sexy heroes and courageous heroines.
However, her current home in Orange County, California is not haunted.
Jann: We’re here today with the remarkable author, Mary Castillo, to talk about haunted houses, a Mystery series and audiobooks.
Jann: What are some of the best things you have learned since your debut novel, Hot Tamara, in 2005?
Mary: The best thing I learned since Hot Tamara is how we can touch our readers’ lives. A few months after its publication, I received an email from a woman who never thought she’d laugh out loud in the chemo infusion room. But she did thanks to reading my book! What a beautiful gift. Ever since then, she pops into my mind and inspires me to do the very best I can with each story because I never know how or when one of my books will come into someone’s life.
Jann: What was it like to have Cosmopolitan magazine select Hot Tamara as the Red Hot Read in April of 2005?
Mary: It was very unexpected and so exciting. The only problem was that my grandma read that issue of Cosmo first before reading the book. Her first impression of my writing was well, spicy to say the least! But she was so excited to see my lifelong dream come true. I must lay the blame on her because when I was 12 she lent me Hollywood Wives by Jackie Collins and told me that being an author would be the best job in the world. Good thing I listened to my grandma because she was right!
Jann: What was it like to grow up in a haunted house?
Mary: My parents were very open and natural about our resident spirit, so it didn’t occur to me that it was odd until I was old enough to tell my friends and either scare the heck out of them or be teased! My mom got a few concerned phone calls from parents. Honestly, our ghost was like a nosey, shut-in spinster aunt. Every now and then she’d switch the lights on and off, or open and close doors. We knew she was around when the room would turn cold and we’d just say hello and ask her not to scare us.
Mary: Lost in the Light is heavily inspired by the classic movie, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (I listened to the soundtrack while writing and editing the book). I was also edging into the paranormal with little touches in In Between Men and especially, Switchcraft in which the heroines switch bodies and live each other’s lives.
Jann: Tell us about Detective Dori Oriheula and the series.
Mary: Dori first appeared in a novella I wrote with my author friends titled, Names I Call My Sister. I loved her from the start: she’s beautiful, smart, tall and can take down a grown man without messing up her hair. She’s the least likely person to be psychic and I’ve had a lot of fun watching her wrestle with accepting this fact. She’s getting there.
Jann: Dori is getting a second chance at love with Gavin Salazar. Where do you see their relationship going?
Mary: I can’t tell you or else I’ll ruin the series! But I can say this: as long as they’re together, there will be challenges. He is a laid-back, creative surfer guy who loves his little daughter. Dori is quiet, fact-driven and on the surface, isn’t cozy. While he’s open to the idea of the paranormal, Dori is very guarded which only adds to their trust issues. When I threw them together, I knew they had something if only they’d open-up to one another. It’s been fun to make their lives difficult and see them come together as a team.
Jann: You have published three books in this series, Lost In The Light, Girl In The Mist and Lost In Whispers–is there a book four coming soon?
Mary: Yes, I’m preparing the fourth book (a novella) for October 2018. It picks up right where we left off with Lost in Whispers. My mom begged me to tell her what happened to one of the main characters who was in a coma at the end of the book. I didn’t even tell her. She’ll make me pay for it, one way or another!
Jann: All three books are available on iTunes and Audible and you are the narrator. Why did you decide to do your own narration?
Mary: I really, really wanted an audiobook. But we didn’t have the budget to produce one. I have a background in drama and video production, and I’ve always had so much fun performing at book readings. In January 2016, I did some test recordings and began narrating my audiobook. I fell in love with this method of telling stories. Now that it is a finalist in the ABR Listener’s Choice Award for Mystery, I may have found a new career!
But the unexpected gift of recording Lost in the Light while I was editing Lost in Whispers, helped with continuity because I recalled details that I had forgotten! Once I finished Lost in the Light, I jumped into Girl in the Mist, which taught me that it is fun to write a steamy love scene but a bit awkward recording it! I’m now recording Lost in Whispers which I plan to release in the fall and then the fourth Dori novella to be released in Winter 2018.
Jann: Thank you Mary for letting us into your writing world. You can contact Mary at the following sites.
A selection of Mary Castillo’s books are available below. Hover over the book cover for the buy links.