Please give a warm welcome to Selene Castrovilla! She’s stopping by today for an interview to kick-off SAVED BY THE MUSIC’s Blog Tour. Check out her Q & A, and then enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
That I am painfully shy. I come across bold and even “in-your-face,” but it is so hard to go out there and face people. I hate parties and mingling for that reason. I have never learned to socialize. When I’m speaking with people about writing, it’s my passion that shines through and makes me seem out-going. Inside, I am quivering.
Do you have any pets?
I sure do! Six cats: Jesse, Butter, Sassy aka Oatmeal, Garfield, Freeway aka Little One and Molly. We are basically the home for wayward cats, lol. We live on a dead-end by the water, so they are safe and enjoy a very peaceful life. Molly is our oldest – she was a fifth birthday present for my son Michael, who is now nineteen. She had a sister named Tinkerbell and a daughter named Buddy, both of whom sadly passed away last year. We adopted Butter from a shelter about six years ago. Sassy and Garfield are sister and brother, rescued. My sister in law found Freeway about a year ago, wandering on a highway and nearly getting hit. Of course, she brought him to me. And then there’s Jesse, who is very fat and has only one eye. Dare I declare him my favorite? I do. he is eighteen pounds of love. He sleeps in my son Casey’s room every night, nestled in the crook of Casey’s arm.
While this may seem like a lot (and it is), I maintain that it is easier to take care of six cats than one dog. They are much more independent!
What drew you to writing this genre?
In my heart I am still a teenager. There are still so many unanswered questions, and so much angst. When I write this genre I’m trying to fill in my blanks, and reassure the teen me that it’s all going to be okay.
Who or what inspired you to become an author?
I always knew I was a writer. From the time I held a pencil, I knew that I was meant to use it – even if I didn’t know how just yet. The knowledge calmed me. As time went on, fear and hesitation reared their ugly heads. My Aunt Olga (who is the inspiration for Aunt Agatha in my novel) always said: “He who hesitates is lost.” She was so right. And yet, I did. I stopped writing for fear of ridicule and rejection. I didn’t think I had what it took to be an author – nor did I think I had the right. It seemed like the Gods had to come down and grant permission to undertake such an extraordinary task. So I stopped writing, and went into a hibernation. Then I had my kids, and I wanted to give them something they’d always have from me. That’s when I determined to write a book. And once I started writing again, I was awakened. I remember thinking, “This must be what a fish feels like when it’s been beached, and then rescued: set free to swim in the water again.”
What’s your favorite quote?
Ah, a tough question. I love quotes so very much. My refrigerator was loaded with them (before Hurricane Sandy hit – and my new one will soon be decorated as well.) I feel like quotes symbolize humanity – a commonality. A thread. A gasp: “Oh, yes, that explains everything!” Or a different gasp: “Yes, yes! I feel that way, too!” All that said, I will have to go with the quote I live my life by: Gandhi’s “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
When I met Chuck Palahniuk and told him I was a writer, he said: “Tell the truth!” And that is what I do, in every story.
Do you have a hidden talent?
I can recite the “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” soliloquy from Macbeth by heart (I taught it to my son Casey when he was two and we used to perform for people, alternating lines.) I also know the Prologue for the Canterbury Tales in Middle English (at least, the beginning of it. I tend to falter midway these days.) I also know the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution (but I have to sing it – I learned in on Schoolhouse Rock between cartoons on Saturdays when I was a kid.) I also frequently quote random famous lines from films (“I’ll never let go!” “The list was life.” “You had me at hello.” “I am your father.” Etc.) All this to say, I have a quirky, eccentric memory which carries pieces of things that meld together to make me a more thoughtful writer.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
If you want to write, do it. Don’t wait. Don’t worry about publication. Shakespeare said, “Things won are done, joy’s soul lies in the doing.” Write from your heart, and the words will find their way. Trust your instincts, but also find critiquers you value. A fool acts as his own editor. Read Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. Re-read your favorite books and figure out why you love them – then use them as guides toward your own writing. Never give up. It’s a long, lonely road – and the greatest journey ever.
If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
Hmmm…maybe “Nuts.” (There was a movie by that title already, I know.) Or maybe, “Saved by the Muse.”
What are you favorites? Book, movie, music/band, candy, food, vacation spot?
Favorite book: Three-way tie: Macbeth, As I Lay Dying, The Catcher in the Rye.
Movie: A tough choice. I think Good Will Hunting.
Music: Rock. I interned at K-Rock in college and met Bon Jovi. Woo-hoo! Currently I love The Counting Crows & Fallout Boy.
Candy: Hershey’s Kisses.
Food: Hershey’s Kisses (lol.) I would give up entrees for dessert. I love flan.
Vacation spot: Paris or London (yes, A Tale of Two Cities.) I love Stratford on Avon, too (where my hero Shakespeare hails from.)
Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?
There is an obscure Matchbox Twenty song called “The Difference” that always plays in my head when I think of Axel. There is also an obscure Maroon Five song called “Secret” that I associate with him. Willow would need a Doors song, of course. Maybe “Break on Through.” For the whole book, possibly “People Are Strange” or “Riders on the Storm” (though it is a bit depressing I grant you.)
Even though you didn’t ask this, I identify very strongly with The Counting Crows’ “She Don’t Want Nobody Near.” The grammar is wrong, which makes me tremble, but still it seems to reveal my soul.
What is the one book you think everyone should read?
The Catcher in the Rye. It is timeless and captures the heart of the human condition. It is one of those books that can affect you every time you re-read it – and always touch your soul.
I remember being in a writing class at The New School, and sharing that this is one of my favorite books. Someone said, “All serial killers love that book.” I responded, “With its popularity, I trust more people than serial killers enjoy it, or else there are a helluva lot of murderers out there.”
Seriously, this book will change your life.
If you could invite any 5 people (dead or alive) to dinner who would you choose, and why?
William Shakespeare, William Faulkner, JD Salinger, Chuck Palahniuk and Ernest Hemingway. To talk about writing, of course. God, I would love that!!!
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
This is close – between flying and invisibility. I have to choose invisibility because it seems more overall useful (remember I am shy, and also I could get all kinds of material for my books if people didn’t know I was listening.) Flying would be really cool, though.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published
After the Rochester Teen Book Festival, a girl made a YouTube video about how much she loved SAVED BY THE MUSIC. To affect someone like that is amazing. In general, the response from my readers has been amazing. To make a connection through my words…wow. I love meeting my readers and talking with them – it makes all those lonely moments worthwhile.
Oh, and I can’t fail to mention my son Michael’s reaction after he read Saved. He said, “Mom, you don’t have to worry. Anyone who reads this book is going to fall in love with it.” You can’t top that – worth a million bucks.
Many thanks to Selene for answering my questions! Readers, be sure to enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win! Follow the tour schedule below to gain more entries.
1 Grand Prize (US only):
10 second prizes (international):
Ebook copy of SAVED BY THE MUSIC
July 1 – A Book and a Latte (Kick-off interview)
July 2 – The Fake Steph Dot Com (Guest Post)
July 3 – Cuzinlogic (Review)
July 4 – Ja čitam, a ti? (Character Interview)
July 5 – OtherwhereCo (Guest Post)
July 8 – alwaysjoart (Review & Guest Post)
July 9 – Katie’s Books (Review)
July 10 – Judith’s Choice Reads (Review & Character Interview)
July 11 – Ladybug Storytime (Review)
July 12 – Reader Girls (Review & Guest Post)