Meet #UF Author Justin Gustainis and win EVIL DARK

Quick commercial break…First, there are lots of “Win Royal Street” contests going on…I’ll post a list of the links a little later. 

Today at 3 p.m. Central, I’ll be doing a one-hour “live” chat on Twitter with urban fantasy authors Deb Coates and Alyx Dellamonica. Use the hashtag #torchat and join in!

Now, today I’d like to welcome to the blog author Justin Gustainis, whose noir urban fantasy Hard Spell, first in his Occult Crimes Unit Investigations series, was released last summer. The second book in the series, Evil Dark, comes out next week (April 24). Join Justin as he runs the gauntlet of Preternatura’s Q&A–and comment to win a copy of Evil Dark–or, if this is a new series for you, the first book, Hard Spell. This contest is international!

Give us the “elevator pitch” for Evil Dark:Like its predecessor, Evil Dark is set in an alternate universe where supernatural creatures are real, and everyone knows it.  Now “snuff films” are beginning to surface, each showing the torture-murder of an innocent victim by a demonically-possessed person.  But Sgt. Stan Markowski and his vampire partner, Karl, soon learn that this is only the tip of a particularly nasty iceberg.  Someone is trying to start a “race war” between humans and “supernaturals,” and if he succeeds, the streets will run red with the blood of both species.

What was your inspiration for the book?

Some of it comes from the film 8MM, which Nicholas Cage made in 1999.  Another part is derived from Charlie Manson’s idea for what he called “Helter Skelter,” a race war between whites and blacks, which he hoped to engineer.  That didn’t work out too well, I’m glad to note.

Favorite scene:

The final one, where Stan “gets lucky” in a major way – or appears to.

Hardest scene to write:

Any of the scenes in which the cops are viewing one of the “snuff films.”  I wanted to give the reader a sense of the horror that was playing out on the screen, without descending into torture porn.  I think I managed pretty well.

What’s on your nightstand or top of your TBR pile?

My TBR pile is more like three bookcases – I’m a compulsive book buyer.  Right now I’m working on Stephen King’s time-travel novel, 11/22/63.  I’ve been moving through it slowly, mostly because of distractions provided by the day job (in academe) and my writing commitments.  But it’s a damn good story.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I loved a series of books called the “Rick Brant Science Adventures” – they were sort of like “The Hardy Boys” for nerds.  Then I discovered Ian Fleming, who wrote, after all, what were essentially “Hardy Boys” books for grownups.  Goodbye Mr. Brant, hello Mr. Bond.

Your five favorite authors:

In no particular order: Stephen King, Thomas Perry, Jim Butcher, Lilith Saintcrow, and Thomas Harris.

Book you’ve faked reading:

Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson, for a graduate English class more years ago than I care to admit.  I aced the exam, though.

Book you’re an evangelist for:

Anno Dracula, by Kim Newman.  It’s sort of an “alternate” version of Stoker, where Dracula defeats Van Helsing’s crew and goes on to seduce Queen Victoria and become Prince Regent of England, spreading vampirism throughout the realm.  It was out of print for years, but came out again last year in a new edition.

Book you’ve bought for the cover:

The Nympho Librarian (Don’t ask.  Just – don’t.) 

Suzanne’s note: I won’t ask….I’ll SHOW.  I think this is one of the funniest covers ever.

Favorite line from a book:
It hard to pick one line, but the opening paragraph of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House is a masterpiece.  It still gives me chills when I read it.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Stoker’s Dracula

Most horrifying moment while reading a book:

That time when I was fifteen and my mom caught me reading The Nympho Librarian – that was pretty horrifying, for both of us.  Oh – you mean a horrifying book?  Stephen King’s The Shining has several scenes that scared the crap out of me.

Favorite book about books or writing:

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Browne and King.  I learned a lot from that one.

What’s next?

I have several projects that I’m currently procrastinating on: a couple of Morris and Chastain novelettes for Solaris, that will be published digitally; the next book in the “Haunted Scranton” series, called Known Devil, and a proposal to have my first novel, The Hades Project, adapted for television.  Oh, and I’m waiting (probably in vain) for the option on Sympathy for the Devil to be picked up by the Hollywood producer who owns it.  I don’t think I’ll be quitting the day job anytime soon.

Sigh. I won’t be quitting the day job anytime soon either. But YOU, dear reader, can win a copy of Evil Dark, which sounds awesome, or Justin’s first Occult Crimes Unit book, Hard Spell, which I can verify was awesome. Just let me know which. And you know the drill: one entry for comment, one for blog follow, one for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and one for Tweeting or RT’ing the contest!

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

15 thoughts on “Meet #UF Author Justin Gustainis and win EVIL DARK

  1. I have heard great things about this series. If I won, I’d go with HARD SPELL to kick off the series.

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  2. I really enjoyed Hard Spell, so I’m looking forward to reading Evil Dark! …my wallet is weeping though, so no more book-buying allowed this month. 🙁 So I hope I win!

    rissatoo (ATgmail DOTcom)
    +4: commenter, follower, follower, retweeter

  3. I have the first book in this series but haven’t had a chance to read it yet

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    sgiden at

  4. Thanks for the interview, that was fun. I can imagine that a 15 year old boy cannot resist such a book.
    I would like to win the first book please.

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  5. I’ve already read Hard Spell and liked it a lot ( definitely more than Quincey Morris books unfortunately…I had such high hopes for those 😛 ).


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  6. I know what you mean by being a compulsive book buyer! I suffer from the same thing. It’s so hard to restrain myself whenever I see a discount or a sale. My mum took a look at my bookshelf the other day; gave me a “look” & suggested rather pointedly that I should refrain from buying more books for some time.

    I’ve not read this series, would be nice to win the 1st book!

    +4: comment, GFC & twitter follow, tweeted!/LindaThum/status/193198841405767681

  7. I didn’t know this series, so, if I won, I’d start with the first!

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

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  8. Great interview. I’d like to read Hard Spell.

    I follow the blog.

    Thanks for the giveaway.