Mar 22, 2011

Justin Gustainis - Interview and Contest

This is a special day! Justin Gustainis, author and now editor, has graciously given  precious time for an interview here on PVN. He is also offering a copy of Those Who Fight Monsters: Tales of Occult Detectives (published this month) to one lucky reader. [see contest details at end of post]

Read a review of this excellent anthology.

How did this anthology project come about?  Did someone approach you or did you approach someone? Then what happened next?

I made the pitch to Brian Hades (yes, that’s his real name), head of Edge Publications, at the World Fantasy Con in October, 2008. I heard back from him with a “Yes” in, I think, March of the next year. Then the long process began.

How did you choose contributors? What exactly did you ask them to do?

I wanted urban fantasy writers who had a series going with an “occult detective” protagonist. As you can tell from the book, I defined “occult detective” quite broadly – as any character who regularly contends with the supernatural.

I asked them if they would be interested in writing a story which featured the same protagonist as appeared in their novels. If they wrote more than one series (as was often the case), I specified the series I meant. I also mentioned some of the pragmatic details, such as word length and compensation.

How long from the beginning of the project until publication?

The date of the beginning depends on how you define “beginning.” I made the pitch in October, 2008; heard back in March, 2009; started contacting authors in April, 2009. The end is easier: the book was published this month. However, I turned in the manuscript in January, 2010. The book was originally due for publication in November, 2010, but the publisher changed distributors, which pushed publication back until now.

There is quite an assemblage of well known talented writers. What would you do for an encore?  What writers or type of writers would you want for another anthology?

Brian Hades and I have actually discussed the possibility of a sequel, but no decision has been made – by either of us. If I were to undertake such a sequel, it would be the same premise, but with different authors. There are so many fine urban fantasy writers out there, I wished I could have asked them all to be in the first book. Then, too, there were some I asked who declined because their writing schedule was packed. I might reconnect with them to see if they can make the party this time around -- IF there’s a sequel.

You are best known for your writing - especially the popular Quincey Morris books. How was it for you to work as an editor?

It was a challenge, but it could have been worse. A few years back, I had the privilege to take part in the Odyssey Writing Workshop, which I like to call “Ranger School for Writers” and whose (unofficial) motto is “Sleep is for wimps.” We had to critique each other’s stories, in depth, almost every day.

Also, the anthology’s authors were all very cooperative and professional – not a prima donna in the bunch. There were some cases when I feared I would get “Who the hell are you to tell me how to write this story?” But that didn’t happen. Not even once.

You have a story featuring Quincey Morris in this anthology. Should we expect more novels with his adventures?

Quincey Morris and Libby Chastain will be back saving the world from supernatural evil this July, in Sympathy for the Devil.  The novel is about a presidential candidate who is secretly possessed by a demon. Any resemblance to actual political figures, living or dead, is unintended and purely coincidental. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Another question about Quincey - why did you pick this "descendent" of the Bram Stoker character as your protagonist?

The original Quincey Morris got rather short shrift in the original novel. It was almost as if Stoker brought him on to act heroic for five minutes, then die bravely. Maybe it’s because he was the only American in Van Helsing’s crew, but I’ve always believed that Quincey deserved better. I didn’t think it would be a good idea to rewrite “Dracula,” so I did the next best thing.

What writers have inspired you?

There have been many, but I’d like to give special mention to Jim Butcher – who is not only a first-class writer (I love Harry Dresden) but a man possessing great generosity of spirit. He was extremely kind to me when I was first starting out. If not for his encouragement and support, I would have given up long before I ever got published.

Assuming you have any spare time between teaching, writing, and editing what do you like to do for fun or to relax?

Fun? Relax? What are these things of which you speak, Earthling?

Anything else you would like to add?

In addition to Sympathy for the Devil, I’ve got another novel coming out this summer, from a different publisher. It’s called Hard Spell, and is the first in a new series about Detective Sergeant Stan Markowski, a cop in an “alternate universe” Scranton, PA, where supernatural creatures really exist – and sometimes they break the law.


*One lucky winner will receive a signed copy of Those Who Fight Monsters: Tales of Occult Detectives

*Leave a comment for Justin and be sure to include contact information.

*Contest is international and ends April 5, 2011 11:59pm EST


Vamchoir said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vamchoir said...

I like the way this book was reviewed and all additional content. It's not easy writing a review of a book filled with different short stories. It had to have taken extra effort to do it the way you did, describing individual stories.

I'd love to win. SunTigerMOJO (at) Gmail [dot] com (if I win, email me for the address. Hate killing trees with paper spam mail, etc.)

booklover0226 said...

I enjoyed reading the interview; it was interesting.

Justin Gustainis is a new author for me. I look forward in reading his works.

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

debbie said...

I enjoyed the interview. I think it is a great idea to have a book like this. I am pretty new to this genre, and it gives me a way to find new authors.

SandyG265 said...

Justin's new book Hard Spell sounds like it'll be interesting.

sgiden at

Katy said...

Cool interview :D Justin Gustainis is a totally new author for me, and now I have ANOTHER author to add to my TBR pile :D

Tore said...

Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book.

Julie S said...

I've heard great things about this book, it sounds really interesting.


Robin K said...

I need to check out your books Justin :) Great interview.

robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

tetewa said...

I've been hearing alot about this one, count me in!

Lisa R/alterlisa said...

While I'm generally not one to read anthologies, this one has so many authors that I love, I guess I'll just have to suck it up and settle for short stories by them. You will probably hear me screeching at the end of each one though.


alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

avalonne83 said...

Great giveaway! I'd love to be entered.

Please count me in. Thanks.

avalonne83 [at] yahoo [dot] it

donnas said...

Great interview. This is a great anthology full of so many great authors and characters. I cant wait to read it.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

JenM said...

This is a great line-up of authors. I'd love to read this.

jen at delux dot com

Kulsuma said...

This sounds really interesting! Thank you.

elaing8 said...

I've been reading so much about this anthology.I can't wait to read it

Pam S (pams00) said...

TI really enjoyed the review, and interview. I've heard a lot of good responses on this and the fact that it is filled with so many great characters from other stories makes it a really must read for me :).

pams00 @

buddyt said...

Been a while since I have read an anthology so I would oike to enter the giveaway.


I am a Follower via GFC and an email subscriber.

Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

blackroze37 AT said...

his books are intereting

EVA SB said...

I love supernatural detectives[@]gmail[.]com

a real librarian said...

Great interview!! I have not read anything from this author, but I am looking forward to it!