10 Questions: Mary Castillo

Mary Castillo has been on a hot streak since her debut novel, Hot Tamara, hit the shelves in 2005. Since then she's published a second novel, contributed to two anthologies and has a new novel out in October. She took some time out from writing and promoting Names I Call My Sister, where she wrote one of the four stories about sisterhood along with Berta Platas, Lynda Sandoval and Sofia Quintero, to answer ten questions about writing and the writing life.

1. Any writing rituals you have to get it going?
I disconnect my wireless networking card after I get through all of my email and then get to work. Or, I just leave the house and write at the library.

2. What’s your cure for writer’s block?
Writing through it. To me, writer's block is born out of fear and ego. Occasionally, I have to walk away from it and when I do, I try to do things I've never done before like visit a museum or an obscure historical landmark.

3. After you tell people what you do for a living, what’s their reaction?

They almost all tell me that they always wanted to write a book.

4. What’s the worst part about being a full time writer?

After working in several jobs that I hated, there are no downsides to writing full time. Well, except for the money part. It can be financially precarious.

5. If you could have written any book, which would it be?

I don't covet anyone's writing style or their stories because those things are unique to them just as my style and stories are unique to me. But I would love to attempt a mystery and a historical fiction.

6. What were you doing ten years ago?

Working as an assistant to the VP of public relations at USC and writing during my lunch hour.

7. What do you hope to be doing ten years from now besides writing?
Raising happy kids who aren't breaking the law when I'm not looking. Writing different genres, maybe seeing a book turned into a movie or TV series.

8. What’s your biggest anxiety about your writing/writing life?
Meeting my own expectations. I am, with a doubt, my harshest critic!

9. If you could have anyone’s job/life but your own, whose would it be?

Some times I think it would be cool to be a bee. You know what you have to do and you just do it.

10. What’s the biggest misconception about you now that you’re a published writer?
That writing comes easily to me. Or, that each book is a sure thing. Once a writer is published, the work gets harder but more rewarding!

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